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Wick's Review

Created Apr 18, 2010 12:35AM PST • Edited Nov 18, 2018 06:30PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Goodbye Children – the final words of a heroic priest as he’s led away by a Jew-hunting Gestapo agent – forms a fitting title for this beautifully realized recounting of writer-director Louis Malle’s childhood experience during the Nazi occupation of France. Au Revoir les EnfantsGoodbye Children in French – remains a must-see for those interested in the Holocaust in particular or World War II in general.

    It turns out the title inspired the naming of Reservoir Dogs, since Quentin Tarantino called Au Revoir les Enfants the reservoir film back in his video clerk days. Well then, one can’t then help but assume that the farcical Jew Hunter in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds was inspired by the real Gestapo bastard in Au Revoir les Enfants.

  3. Perfect 5.0

    Brilliantly naturalistic performances throughout the large cast. The five leads are distinctly superb.

    • Gaspard Manesse as Louis Malle’s alter ego, a boy of privilege and talent. That’s him in the WikChip.
    • Raphael Fejtö as the Jewish boy who becomes his rival, then his friend, then his haunting memory.
    • Philippe Morier-Genoud as the stern and courageous Catholic Priest who put everything on the line to remain righteous.
    • Francine Racette as Louis Malle’s hottie Mom. This beautifully composed actress hasn’t made a movie in the over two decades since. The wife of Donald Sutherland, she’s Kiefer Sutherland’s step-mom. Interesting.
    • François Berléand as the lame kitchen boy who’s always looking out for number one.
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Perfect 5.0

    Legendary auteur Louis Malle cemented his status as one of France’s greatest filmmakers with this late career masterpiece. Profound and intimate, it can be appreciated as much for its pitch perfect depiction of adolescent boys in all their inarticulate rambunctiousness as for its depiction of the moral courage and depravity to which they were exposed.

    For instance, Malle’s alter ego has a shameful secret – he’s a bed wetter. While this pales in comparison to the secret his Jewish friend must maintain – his identity, it provides one of many touchstones that show how young males wrestle with their need to be strong, often expressing it in physical confrontation.

    The film also shows how the priests and other staff of the Catholic boarding school mastered the art of turning a blind eye to the nearly continuous scrapes and conflicts in which the boys engage. Today’s overly protective parents should take a lesson.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Really Great 4.5
  11. Music Perfect 5.0

    Music plays an important role in the boys’ transition from rivals to friends. Their duet on a boogie-woogie piano number is a special treat, suggestive of their talent and friendship, and of the free world beyond their borders.

  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.6

    Overtly mild, covertly terrifying, since we know that the fate of several characters is to die in the gas chambers of Auschwitz or of neglect at Mauthausen.

  15. Sex Titillating 1.6

    The boys read a salacious passage from The Arabian Nights. Sexually provocative entertainment has come a long way since.

  16. Violence Fierce 1.8
  17. Rudeness Polite 1.5
  18. Glib 1.1

    The Catholic Church then and now is far from an untarnished moral exemplar: Pope Pius XII’s leadership of the Church during the Holocaust then; the calamity of priestly sex abuse against children now.

    Nonetheless, Au Revoir les Enfants reminds us that the Catholic Church is also one of the great forces for good in the world, especially through courageous Priests like Father Jacques de Jésus, the real life man depicted as Father Jean in the movie.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.3

    The use of alter egos suggests at least some dramatic license.

  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


Subscribe to Au Revoir les Enfants 2 replies, 2 voices
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Apr 18, 2010 8:23PM

Ok – I’ve just added this to my Netfix queue – and it is stream-able now, looking forward to seeing very soon!

Dec 20, 2009 5:55PM

Regarding hurwizzle’s Review
Thanks for posting a first review of Au Revoir Les Enfants, Hurwizzle. I saw this movie when it came out and its resonance stays with me to this day. As it happens, it’s 3rd in my Netflix queue right now because I wanted to honor it with a WikPik review. Now I can relax ‘cause you’ve filled the gap.