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I loved this movie, I think it's a masterpiece, but I sorta understand how it may be disappointing to some.
I think it really helps if you don't think of it as a comedy. There are plenty of funny bits, but it's not a movie to make you laugh.
It's actually closer to a musical. Some huge, elaborated, complex musical, with magnificent sets, but the song and dance numbers are replaced by the chaos of modern urban life itself.
We get both the malignant aspects of modernity (the first part of the movie) and the benign (the second part).
Oh yeah, and this movie needs to be seen in a huge movie theater screen, not at home.
I'm glad I saw Mr. Hulot's Holiday before this, as Tati's style takes some serious getting used to. But once I got what he was doing (about halfway through Holiday), it became a joy. Here we get the same plot-less, character-less stroll through everyday life, with mild sight gags everywhere, and every frame stuffed full of details. It's got almost a silent comedy vibe, only the focus isn't on blunt slapstick, but friendly observations. I think this one is better constructed than Holiday. The glass-walled, technology-driven aesthetic was great. The first act in the building was an absolute blast. The scene with the glass-walled apartment buildings and the televisions was cool too. And the dinner scene, while the most complex and detail-rich, went on a few minutes too long. Loved the carnival finale. I've really never seen anything else like Tati's films, but I'm anxious to see more.
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In 18 official lists
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This movie ranks #7 in Time Out's The 100 Best French Films
This movie ranks #8 in BBC's The 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
This movie ranks #41 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
This movie ranks #49 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #71 in Cahiers du Cinéma's 100 Films for an Ideal Cinematheque
This movie ranks #116 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #193 in Harvard's Suggested Film Viewing: Narrative Films
This movie ranks #243 in Geoff King's Film Comedy
This movie ranks #251 in 366 Weird Movies
This movie ranks #253 in Roger Ebert's Great Movies
This movie ranks #356 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #435 in Cahiers du Cinéma's Annual Top 10 Lists
This movie ranks #465 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #556 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #673 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #684 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #703 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #726 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life