Crisply photographed and directed with understated grace, the film can feel a little standoffish given the emotive subject matter. But with strong performances from the young leads and a vice-like air of mounting tension, it’s well worth revisiting.
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What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
Washington Post by Desson Thomson
By many other directors' standards, Au Revoir would be a major achievement. But Malle has reached higher. If he'd made his childhood movie earlier in his career -- when he didn't have the sense to be so dispassionate -- it might have packed a meatier punch. Now it's just a deftly aimed poke.
Slant Magazine by Glenn Heath Jr.
Part dream, part nightmare, the film vividly remembers a traumatic moment in time that cannot be forgotten.
William Faulkner once made the sage point that “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Louis Malle’s Golden Lion winner Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987) is a Second World War-set film very much guided in spirit by the US novelist’s musing on the febrile relationship between memory, time and individual and collective histories.
The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw
It remains breathtakingly good. There is a miraculous, unforced ease and naturalness in the acting and direction; it is classic movie storytelling in the service of important themes.
Washington Post by Rita Kempley
Louis Malle's Au Revoir Les Enfants is more than his wartime memoir; it is an epitaph to innocence.
Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert
The film was written and directed by Louis Malle, who based it on a childhood memory. Judging by the tears I saw streaming down his face on the night the film was shown at the Telluride Film Festival, the memory has caused him pain for many years.
The New York Times by Vincent Canby
It's a work that has the kind of simplicity, ease and density of detail that only a film maker in total command of his craft can bring off, and then only rarely.