A Very Long Engagement (2004)

(Streaming on Netflix as of 11/18/2011)

There’s nothing more delightful than to sit in the presence of someone you love dearly and simply gaze upon their face. It’s something we take for granted when they are with us, and we long for when they’re gone. And it is what drives Mathilde, the main character in A Very Long Engagement, to search for her lover even though every one else in the world is convinced he is dead.

This movie is a romance wrapped in a mystery wrapped in war movie. Movies typically present war as heroic or tragic, and sometimes both. But in this movie, the early scenes come off as very flippant about war, yet at the same time present a truth about war that normally gets lost: Even war can fade into the background of our personal dramas.

I’ve never wished I could speak French more than when I was watching this movie. It’s gorgeous to look at, characters have quirky mannerisms that are fun to watch, shots are framed interestingly, and the editing is skillful—all of which had me frequently forgetting to read the subtitles. In a movie like this where there are so many scenes of people recounting events that explain who’s who and what happened to so and so, catching every line of dialogue is vital. I had to rewind several times to catch a line of dialogue I’d missed because I was so engrossed with the visuals. I would love to give this a second viewing, especially on a larger television screen.

It’s funny how it seems there’s no end to great movies out there to discover. After seeing A Very Long Engagement, I was excited to share with friends this “new” movie “I” discovered, yet almost every response was, “Yeah, that was a great movie.” How come everyone knew about this movie and no one told me?? Just goes to show, I guess I don’t know everything about movies after all. 🙂

More info at IMDb, RottenTomatoes, and Amazon.com.

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