Les Parents Terribles



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 79%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 550


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gridoon2019 6 / 10

One of the talkiest movies ever made

The (five) characters in "Les Parents Terribles" never stop talking for a minute. Sure, some of the talk is interesting, and all of it is very well acted, but it's quite exhausting. You get no respite from the talk, talk, talk. A few cinematic touches by Jean Cocteau cannot camouflage the fact that you are basically watching filmed theater; the film is based on Cocteau's own play and takes place entirely in four or five rooms, with no external shots whatsoever. There are some strong moments. **1/2 out of 4.

Reviewed by morrison-dylan-fan 7 / 10

Non Les Enfants Terribles.

Recently buying Les Enfants Terribles,I started reading up online about the project from auteur icons Jean-Pierre Melville and Jean Cocteau. Making plans for films to view for an ICM poll on the best movies of 1948,I was surprised to learn from a DVD seller that the name of Melville's work was a reference to a '48 Cocteau,which led to me meeting the terrible parents.

View on the film:

Starkly standing out from his first three films, writer/director Jean Cocteau and cinematographer Michel Kelber trim the distinctive Surreal/ Fantasy stylisation for cramped, stage-bound locations. Following each person along as if they were cross to a different part of the stage, Cocteau allows his casts to fully explore their relationships in extended takes,with the addition of icy close-ups closing in on the vile from the parents.

Doing a second adaptation of his own plays in 1948, Cocteau superbly uses the isolated apartment to pull open the hateful views of Georges and Yvonne,who spit pure nihilism at the wide-eyed innocence of their son Michel. Reuniting from their magical Beauty and the Beast, Jean Marais and Josette Day proved they have not lost a drop of chemistry as Michel and Madeleine,via Marais threading Michel's passionate love for Madeleine between the fury of his family (played by the outstanding Yvonne de Bray/ Marcel André and Gabrielle Dorziat) and Day having Madeleine jump with giddy unease over meeting Les parents terribles.

Reviewed by writers_reign 7 / 10

The Folks Who Live In The Hell

This is Cocteau taking a leaf out of Marcel Pagnol's book by filming his own successful play using mostly the same cast. Determined not to 'open up' the play Cocteau confines himself to interiors that could be accomplished in a theatre via scene changes but whilst he succeeds in creating the claustrophobia of a small theatre he undermines his intention by featuring the kind of extreme close up (the scene, for example, where Michel exults about his love to Yvonne and we focus on her eyes as she absorbs this) that theatregoers would be unable to replicate even from a front row seat and employing opera glasses. This is primarily a vehicle for actors and in the main the performances match the writing - with the exception of Jean Marais who leaves a trail of sawdust in his wake - with Gabrielle Dorziat as tante Leo being the class act. As dysfunctional families go this one could give Gene O'Neill a run for his money. Momma Yvonne (Yvonne de Bray) has the hots for her son Michel (Marais) who has found (so he believes) true love in the shape of Madeleine (Josette Day) but the thing is Madeleine has been shacked up with Michel's father Georges (Marcel Andre) and, oh, I nearly forget, Aunt Leo (Dorziat) was in love with Georges herself but stood aside in favour of Yvonne; the parents prevail upon her to help split the young lovers and while she initially agrees she has a change of heart, something Yvonne could have used when she tops herself under the strain of it all. It's not exactly Les Bronzes or Le Pere Noel est un ordure but it is fairly classy and it's not, thank God, Nouvelle Vague.

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