The Witnesses (Les Temoins)
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The Witnesses (Les Temoins)
The early days of the AIDS crisis in France provides the backdrop for this powerful, life-affirming drama from writer and director André Téchiné. It's 1984, and Mehdi (Sami Bouajila) is a police detective who, unbeknownst to his wife Sarah (Emmanuelle Béart), is a bisexual who has occasional trysts with men. Mehdi and Sarah are proud parents of a new baby, but to Mehdi's chagrin, Sarah doesn't seem the least bit concerned about her responsibilities as a mom. Manu (Johan Libereau) is a handsome young man who shares a flat with his sister Julie (Julie Depardieu), who is struggling to… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Excitingly convoluted."
‑ David Edelstein, New York Magazine
"The Witnesses doesn't pay off with a great operatic pinnacle, but it's better that way. Better to show people we care about facing facts they care desperately about, without the consolation of plot mechanics."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"The Witnesses has an emotional maturity that adds richness to its social observation."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"A somber look back, and for Americans, a view from somewhere else of a time that might have been just recently forgotten."
‑ Jonathan W. Hickman, Entertainment Insiders
"A welcome addition to a legion of AIDS related movies and the French perspective, so different from our own, never fails to intrigue"
‑ Richard Knight, Windy City Times
"Techine's graceful, forceful drama has the tact not to play narrative games with its subject."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"Director Andre Techine's story is one of subtle emotional tones that require the most of an actor, and the cast is uniformly compelling."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Best when it turns from bed-hopping into a docudrama, but its effort to personalize the AIDS crisis is not emotionally convincing as the characters lose their individuality."
‑ Nora Lee Mandel,
"Lots of gab, a little flesh flashing, more gab, and not much action or momentum. French Kissing, Brokeback Mountain style."
‑ Prairie Miller, NewsBlaze
"As in real life, often the main crisis morphs into a continuance that has no slam-bang conclusion. Rather, we just see a small hope that awakes to experience another sunrise."
‑ Adam Fendelman,
"André Téchiné's film features a strong ensemble cast. The film pulls no punches in its depiction of lives in crisis."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"In The Witnesses, [director] Techine levels his gaze on the '80s, an era of seeming innocence, perhaps license, and one in which biological freedom has led to a loose, even sloppily knit fabric of humanity."
‑ John Anderson, Washington Post
"Téchiné films Johan Libéreau, who plays Manu, the fresh-faced young boy coming of age in The Witnesses, with the sort of discretion that gives mystery and dignity to human beauty."
‑ Dan Callahan, Slant Magazine
"The first 80 minutes or so are really good, but then the movie goes on for about a half hour longer than it needs to."
‑ Austin Kennedy, Sin Magazine
"A rambling but often affecting account of the early days of the AIDS epidemic."
‑ Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly
More reviews for The Witnesses (Les Temoins) on Rotten Tomatoes