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The Guardians(Les Gardiennes)

In this ensemble drama set in rural France, the women of the Paridier farm are left to run it by themselves while their men are off fighting in World War I. But things become complicated with the arrival of American troops.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

80

The New York Times by A.O. Scott

The Guardians is a historical drama that doesn’t lose itself in decorative period detail, a beautifully photographed chronicle of rural existence that refrains from picturesque sentimentality and grinding misery, the usual modes for this kind of film.
75

RogerEbert.com by Christy Lemire

Part of the allure of The Guardians comes from the casting: The radiant, real-life mother and daughter Baye and Smet play mother and daughter Hortense and Solange.
90

Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern

The Guardians, though, is special in a new way. Imagine devoting several years, as Mr. Beauvois did, to making a reflective, bucolic feature that is organized around the themes of community and evolving culture. It’s all too subtle for words, but perfect for moving pictures.
80

The Hollywood Reporter by Jordan Mintzer

It proves that Beauvois still masters his uniquely classical brand of filmmaking, coaxing strong performances out of veteran Nathalie Baye and newbie Iris Bry, who makes an impressive screen debut.
75

Slant Magazine by Keith Watson

The film captures the pictorial beauty of old-fashioned farm life, but director Xavier Beauvois is careful not to romanticize hard labor for its own sake.
90

Los Angeles Times by Kenneth Turan

The Guardians is an intimate French epic, elegantly made and quietly emotional, a family story filled with characters whose lives we sink into, feeling the hope, the sadness, the sorrow and the joy right along with those on the screen.
58

The A.V. Club by Mike D'Angelo

What starts out as a testament to female fortitude, reminding us that sacrifices were also made on the home front, gradually turns into high-toned soap opera.
80

Variety by Peter Debruge

Inspired by prize-winning French author Ernest Pérochon’s 1924 novel, director Xavier Beauvois’ emotionally devastating adaptation — which some may find as arduous as the wartime chapter it depicts — dispenses with a fair amount of the suffering to be found in the book, forgoing the contemporary tendency toward gritty, handheld realism in favor of a more timeless, almost painterly aesthetic.
80

Screen International by Wendy Ide

Meditative in its pacing, painterly in composition, quietly devastating in its low-key drama, the latest film from Xavier Beauvois shares some of the slow-burning potency of his acclaimed study of religious faith, Of Gods And Men.

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