Tag: World War II Movie

Suite Française (Movie Review 2014)

3 Kernels

Currently streaming on Netflix is Suite Française a 2014 movie set in occupied France in 1940. It’s based on a novel written by Irène Némirovsky, a Jewish author, born in the Ukraine but lived and worked in France. Irène died in Auschwitz during the war, but her handwritten manuscript had later been discovered and finally published in 2004. The movie was released in the UK and subsequently premiered in the U.S. only on Lifetime. Thankfully, Netflix picked it up, giving us the opportunity to watch the story unfold.

Michelle Williams plays Lucile Angellier, the wife of a prominent and rich man who is a prisoner of war.  She lives with her mother-in-law, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, who is more intent on collecting the rents from her land tenants than caring about the impending German invasion.  It’s obvious that the relationship between the two is strained.

When the Germans march into their town and settle into homes to carry out their duties, Lucile and the Madame are assigned Lieutenant Bruno von Falk (played by the dreamy Matthias Schoenaerts who apparently learned German for the role). He settles in, behaving more like a polite gentleman rather than an overbearing and cruel occupier. Lucile, though she attempts to stay away from him, becomes intrigued by his personality as their interaction continue. Even though he’s the enemy, he’s a fascinating human being who she discovers is more than a soldier doing his duty. He’s kind, musically inclined, and writes music.

Since he appears to be as intrigued by Lucile, an unspoken admiration builds between the two until a passionate but interrupted moment occurs between them. Unfortunately, war is war, and these two people are on opposite sides of the conflict – the conquered and the defeated. When the war brings her to the decision to take a huge risk on behalf of one of their tenants, it threatens to destroy their love.

The film is well acted. A few scenes show the senseless cruelty and brutality of occupation and the difficult choices the Lieutenant must make in performing his duties. It’s an interesting study, too, in human behavior of the townspeople by the actions they take to stay on the good side of the Germans in implicating others. Loyalties are split. It also raises the question of what would you do in such a situation? Could you fall in love with the enemy?  Would you trust his love while you act treacherousy against his country and cause?

Is there a happy ending? Well, based on the unfortunate situation, love everlasting isn’t in the stars for these two people.  At the end, the narrator states that words of love were never spoken, but it became obvious they were shown by each other’s actions.

Allied (Movie 2016)

allied-movie-poster3 Kernels

I decided to go to the show late Wednesday to see Allied, staring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, before my Thanksgiving turns into a day of cooking. It is well acted, emotional, but a bit slow out of the gate.  Well, really most of it is slow.

Advertised a World War II romantic thriller, it is about the story of two operatives – Max Vatan and Marianne Beausejour – on a mission behind enemy lines in Casablanca. They meet, play a ruse as husband and wife, attend a party, and assassinate an official and other Nazi’s at a gathering.

Before the mission and afterward, they fall in love. He returns to London to continue his duties as part of the Canadian RAF, she gets clearance to join him later, and they marry.

Initially, the movie focuses heavily upon their budding romance, marriage, and having their first child together.  It’s mushy, it’s dull, but if you’ve watched the trailer, you know what’s coming. French is often spoken in the earlier scenes, so you’re going to have to pay attention to read the translations.

Now that they are living happily ever after, the worse imaginable thing happens. Max is approached by his superiors and told they think she is a German spy, which he immediately dismisses.  However, they give him no choice but to set a trap and see if she takes the bait, which will prove if their assumption is correct. If it is, Max is to shoot her or he will be hanged for treason.

It’s after this point in the movie that the thrill begins when Max returns home and tries to act normal. The woman he’s worshiped for the past few years is now shrouded in suspicion, and it’s difficult to hide his agony.  Told by his superiors to let their test run the course, he disobeys orders and does everything in his power to prove that Marianne is who she purports to be.  They try to make it thrilling, his adventures that is, but it doesn’t quite take you to any nail biting scenes.

Is she a spy?  Well, gee, if I told you that, you’d never see the movie to find out for yourself.  I will say that it’s an emotional story, well acted, and shocking at the conclusion.  If you’re looking for a war movie with lots of spies shooting Nazis, this is not for you. If you’re looking for a movie about characters who fall in love under stressful circumstances that may end up in a betrayal that could break your heart, go see the flick.

Not an Oscar winner by any means, but Brad Pitt does a stellar job of acting in this particular movie that may make you grab for a tissue at the end. However, my opinion may be my own, because other reviews think he’s a bore in the movie and there is no chemistry with his leading lady.  Well, if you go see it, you can be the judge.

Good acting or not, Brad still has that good-looking male factor that gives the ladies in the audience a bit of eye candy this holiday season.  Oh, and you get to see his partially naked rear-end, although the sexual scenes are very tame.

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