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The Barbarian Invasions(Les Invasions barbares)

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Canada, France · 2003
Rated R · 1h 39m
Director Denys Arcand
Starring Rémy Girard, Stéphane Rousseau, Marie-Josée Croze, Dorothée Berryman
Genre Comedy, Crime, Drama

Fifty-something Montreal college professor, Remy, resolves to make amends after he learns that he is dying of liver cancer. He reaches out to his ex-wife and their estranged son, who uses his high-powered connections to help his father fight the terminal illness. During treatment, Remy tries to reunite with old friends as they reflect on the ties that bind together human lives.

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Premiere by

Girard gives feisty life to the battle-weary professor, but Rousseau just follows the drill--he is glass-eyed to the point of distraction. And for all its intellectual maneuvering, the film never regains the simple power of its opening salvo.


The New Yorker by David Denby

The Barbarian Invasions might be called an idyll of death. Without excessive sentiment (but without slighting sentiment, either). [24 November 2003, p. 113]


L.A. Weekly by Ella Taylor

A reunion movie, and while it's often very funny, it has none of the self-satisfied piety or strenuous jokiness of "The Big Chill." Its mood shifts between defiant exuberance and wistful contemplation, but it's never mawkish.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

Although the specter of death hovers over the entire film, it is neither a grim nor a depressing experience. Arcand has injected a great deal of wit into the movie, and it meshes perfectly with the anticipated pathos.


Variety by Lisa Nesselson

A full-bodied, funny and gloriously unpretentious ode to family, friendship and the meaning of life, The Barbarian Invasions is solidly entertaining, sharply written and genuinely touching.


Entertainment Weekly by Owen Gleiberman

I kept wondering how Arcand could have chosen as his generational representative a man not just flawed in his hedonism but one so fundamentally lacking in tenderness for others.

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