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Nenette and Boni(Nénette et Boni)

Teenage siblings Nenette and Boni were raised apart as a result of their parents' divorce. Their mother, who doted on her son Boni, has died. He works for an interesting couple as a pizza baker, and is surprised and enraged when his younger sister, having run away from boarding school, suddenly turns up. There's a problem that they must confront.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

60

Time Out by

There are odd, rather contrived fantasy scenes here which sit uneasily with the generally downbeat naturalism of the rest of the film; and since the script seems determined to tease rather than inform, it's a little hard in the end to fathom exactly what director and co-writer Denis is really getting at. The performances, however, are good, and the music appealing.
88

Slant Magazine by Bill Weber

A sibling drama of unsentimental urban grit and swooning lyricism, Nénette and Boni meditates on the myriad permutations of love and sensuality, from familial longings to food fetishes.
80

Variety by Derek Elley

Claire Denis comes up with her emotionally richest pic to date in Nenette and Boni, a multilayered look at unformed teen emotions and the mysterious, almost invisible ties that bind siblings.
88

Boston Globe by Jay Carr

It's a powerful depth charge of a film about reinvented family values. In Denis's hands, this urgent, loving brother and sister act is lyrical, exhilarating, flecked with mystery. [24 Oct 1997, p.C6]
40

Austin Chronicle by Marc Savlov

Honestly, if it weren't for Denis' striking visual sense, the producers could make a small fortune marketing Nénette and Boni as a sleep aid. Granted, Colin and Houri are both delightful actors. The bond they create between these onscreen siblings is terrifically realized and fully developed, but it's far too little to sustain a film in which virtually nothing happens, despite the fact that it all looks so very good.
75

Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington

Nenette and Boni, despite their plight, show us something small but vital about Marseilles, families, brothers, sisters, babies, pizza -- and even about the sensuous delights of kneading dough.
75

Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

Claire Denis, born in French Africa, is a director who seems drawn to stories about characters who want to build families out of unconventional elements. With Nenette et Boni, she makes a more delicate film. She feels affection for the characters, especially Boni, and is very familiar with them. Maybe that's why she feels free to tell the story so indirectly.
60

The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

Despite an alluring set-up and heartfelt performances from the leads, nothing ultimately coheres, and mood trumps logic on every occasion.
70

The New York Times by Stephen Holden

If the film's easygoing, catch-it-while-you-can approach yields some unexpected nuggets, it also makes for lopsided storytelling. But when Nenette et Boni is studying the faces and following the moods of its likable if terribly confused title characters, it captures the stubborn spirit of youth itself.
88

Philadelphia Inquirer by Steven Rea

Extraordinarily sensual and extraordinarily bleak, Claire Denis' Nenette and Boni depicts a world of diffident youth, of estranged families and displaced souls. [02 May 1997, p.15]

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