Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise)
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Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise)
Even in 1945, Marcel Carnà (C)'s Children of Paradise was regarded as an old-fashioned film. Set in the Parisian theatrical world of the 1840s, Jacques Prà (C)vert's screenplay concerns four men in love with the mysterious Garance (Arletty). Each loves Garance in his own fashion, but only the intentions of sensitive mime-actor Deburau (Jean-Louis Barrault) are entirely honorable; as a result, it is he who suffers most, hurdling one obstacle after another in pursuit of an evidently unattainable goal. In the stylized fashion of 19th-century French drama, many grand passions are spent… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"To luxuriate in the film's 3-hour, 10-minute length is to experience this masterpiece as it hasn't been experienced since the day it opened."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Before French cinema reinvented itself with jump cuts and cool bobs, Marcel Carné's 19th-century backstage drama was the epitome of good taste: a sumptuous spread of genteel sparring and epic heartache."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"The movie isn't necessarily realistic-it's about the theater after all-but its unusually cynical center keeps it from becoming so much sentimental mush, while delivering the heartbreak that audiences so crave."
‑ Eric Melin, Scene-Stealers.com
"Among the peaks of romantic cinema."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"The multi-layered screenplay, stunning sets and a terrific ensemble are just some of the enduring pleasures of a truly collaborative masterpiece."
‑ Tom Dawson, Total Film
"Shot in 1943 during World War II, Children of Paradise overcame so many seemingly impossible obstacles that today the film seems enchanted."
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"Marcel Carné's towering intimate epic of early 19th-century love and the lives of performers, often heralded as the greatest French film of all time."
‑ Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
"It's almost flawlessly filmed, though it at times lacks warmth."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Even if the style is from another age, once seen it lives in the imagination for ever."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"The triumph here is the art-direction realization of 1840 Paris, where the grand monde mingled with the demimonde and the flat-out criminal."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"If you give this movie time to work on you, the elements that seem overly artificial or impossibly distant from our own time fade into insignificance, and you're left with a complicated and wonderful romantic drama that's full of surprises."
‑ Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com
"Poetry with a capital "P," sprinkled with fairy dust."
‑ Richard Brody, New Yorker
"Thanks to this glorious new restoration, "We'll always have THIS Paris.""
‑ Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
"Even Truffaut conceded in the end: 'I have made 23 films, well, I would swap them all for the chance to have made Les enfants du paradis'."
‑ Eithne Farry, Electric Sheep
"Marce Carne's masterpiece, made under impossible conditions during France's Occupation in WWII, is an exquisitely poetic film about the nature and forms of love and the relation between art and life."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
More reviews for Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise) on Rotten Tomatoes