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Lost Illusions(Illusions perdues)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France, Belgium · 2021
2h 29m
Director Xavier Giannoli
Starring Benjamin Voisin, Cécile de France, Vincent Lacoste, Xavier Dolan
Genre Drama, Romance

In 1820s France, the young poet Lucien de Rubempre travels to Paris in the hope of becoming an author. Contrary to his expectations, he discovers that he must make ends meet by writing scurrilous theater reviews. He soon learns the dark side of the journalism industry as he tries to stay true to his dreams.

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Wall Street Journal by

Lost Illusions is sumptuous yet piercing, an expertly plotted social-relations saga of the kind that once typified prestige Hollywood cinema, and it dives into moral quandaries rather than dispensing easy bromides.


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

Giannoli illuminates the dank frenzy of the 19th-century attention economy with an eye on our own post-truth era. Lost Illusions is sensational. Nobody paid me to say that. Well, actually, The New York Times did, but you should believe me anyway.


The Film Stage by Ethan Vestby

By condensing a 600-page-plus epic into a two-and-a-half-hour film, the sense of thought and detail that immortalizes Balzac isn’t translated.


Screen Daily by Jonathan Romney

It’s a shame that Giannoli’s film, while ambitious, confidently executed and more than honourable, nevertheless feels like something of a relic.


The Hollywood Reporter by Lovia Gyarkye

With its stellar performances, dramatic orchestral score and rich costume and set design, Illusions Perdues is a worthwhile, sweeping narrative of love, lust and literary ambition.


Variety by Peter Debruge

This sweeping period drama may be up to its eyeballs in costumes and carriages, but it plays with all the brio and jeopardy of a modern-day gangster movie, featuring hack journalists as its antiheroes.


Collider by Rafael Motamayor

Lost Illusions may not break the mold in the way Goodfellas did, but it does provide a fun, provocative, hilarious, and at times even moving rags-to-riches tale with a protagonist and a setting we have not seen before.


TheWrap by William Bibbiani

Gianolli’s grand adaptation isn’t just a wicked send-up and a sensual period piece; it’s a poignant reminder that everyone who thinks they’ve cleverly sussed out the wickedness of mass media is hundreds of years behind the rest of the history class. Like the best stories told about earlier times, “Lost Illusions” feels remarkably contemporary.


Slant Magazine by William Repass

Lost Illusions leans heavily on voiceover narration that, for better or worse, draws attention to its novelistic mode of its storytelling.

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