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Love at First Fight(Les Combattants)

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France · 2014
1h 38m
Director Thomas Cailley
Starring Adèle Haenel, Kévin Azaïs, Antoine Laurent, Brigitte Roüan
Genre Comedy, Romance

Arnaud, facing an uncertain future in a small coastal town, meets and falls for Madeleine. When Madeline joins an army boot camp to learn military and survival skills, Arnaud signs up for the boot camp himself. They soon realize that the boot camp is harder than they’d imagined, but the experience nonetheless brings them closer.

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What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


The Hollywood Reporter by Clarence Tsui

Love at First Fight is overflowing with relentlessly acerbic humor that shapes the way the film's two young protagonists contend with not just each other, but also with the uncertainties of the world they're emerging into as adults.


Slant Magazine by Clayton Dillard

Transparently wearing metaphors on its singed sleeves, the film shuttles around courses of meaning and significance without committing to any.


The A.V. Club by Jesse Hassenger

Even when it’s slowing down, Fight shows beguiling confidence in both its filmmaking and its characters—enough to make its smallest romantic moments feel significant.


New York Post by Kyle Smith

A sort of grown-up version of “Moonrise Kingdom,” France’s Love at First Fight has some youthful free-range charm but not nearly as much as its predecessor.


The Dissolve by Matthew Dessem

The title does a real disservice to the film, a romantic comedy made with both visual and narrative intelligence, centered by great performances from Kévin Azaïs and Adèle Haenel.


Village Voice by Melissa Anderson

Rejuvenating the romantic comedy through its unusual premise — in which training for an elite army unit releases a flood of pheromones — Cailley's film is also buoyed by its enormously appealing leads, Kévin Azaïs and Adèle Haenel.


Variety by Peter Debruge

Though the slow-boil chemistry is there, the script feels flat, content to rely on the surface friction between its lead actors, rather than creating scenes in which we can really get to know the pair’s respective personalities before testing their limits in the field.

75 by Sheila O'Malley

Madeleine (Adele Haenel) does not know that she is a character in a rom-com. She thinks she's in a war movie. Or, better yet, a dystopian post-apocalyptic movie. Anything but a rom-com. She does not smile until an hour and 20 minutes into Love at First Fight.

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