A Very Long Engagement

Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a miracle worker, a filmmaker whose soaring visuals and passionate intensity are artfully blended in this stunning film of Sebastian Japrisot's World War I-era novel. Jeunet reunites with his Amelie , Audrey Tautou, in a film as harsh as Amelie was ethereal. Tautou, an actress of magical gifts, is deeply affecting as Mathilde, a Frenchwoman who refuses to believe her sweet, slender fiancee, Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), is one of five soldiers killed in the trenches after being convicted of self-mutilation to avoid duty. She spends the war trying to track him down. It's unfair to reduce a dense plot, loaded with characters and incidents, to a quick summation, but the film is best met head-on. Just sit back and behold as Jeunet the visionary and Tautou the force of nature take you to hell and back with this epic love story. It's an emotional powerhouse.