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Le Havre

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Finland, France, Germany

2011

1h 34m

Director Aki Kaurismäki

Starring André Wilms, Kati Outinen, Blondin Miguel, Elina Salo

Genre Drama, Comedy

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Marcel Marx, a former bohemian and struggling author, has given up his literary ambitions and relocated to the port city Le Havre. He leads a simple life based around his wife Arletty, his favourite bar and his not too profitable profession as a shoeshiner. As Arletty suddenly becomes seriously ill, Marcel's path crosses with an underage illegal immigrant from Africa, who needs Marcel's help to hide from the police.

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WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?

Teddy Pierce Profile picture for Teddy Pierce

Kaurismaki's cinema seems to be a celebration to the right to happiness, good friend, good drink, and rock and roll. The characters in this film don't have a lot, but they enjoy what they do have. The three olives, the single egg omelette, the record player, these are all moments of small and simple pleasures. I love the minimalist style of this film. Kaurismaki doesn't tell you what is going through every character's head, but instead suggests a feeling. It reminds me of the spare, simple prose of authors like Ernest Hemingway.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

88

Slant Magazine by

For Carl Dreyer, to film a miracle took a single shot; for Bruno Dumont, a whole film. In Le Havre, Aki Kaurismäki needs four shots to capture his - and what an ordinary event it is!
91

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

With its bouncy soundtrack, deadpan humor and good-natured disposition, Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki's Le Havre is an endearing affair.
80

Variety by Leslie Felperin

Mixing together some of helmer Aki Kaurismaki's favorite Gallic and Finnish thesps with a few newbies, Le Havre feels like a welcoming family reunion.
67

The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

Kaurismäki has a narrow vision, disarming and sweet, yet utterly predictable, and there's little distinction between the films he's directing today and the films he directed 30 years ago. They have the wrong kind of timelessness.
75

New York Post by V.A. Musetto

Le Havre is warm-hearted and uplifting, without being schmaltzy or preachy. And, with its illegal-alien theme, it's dead-on timely.

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