The Innocents (Les innocentes) (2016)
Critic Consensus: The Innocents isn't always easy to watch, but its nuanced exploration of complex themes -- and its refreshing perspective -- are well worth the effort.
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Critic Reviews for The Innocents (Les innocentes)
[Fontaine] retains her knack for keeping the viewer guessing about what she might be up to
It's a striking story. But art, character and dramatic enhancement are absent from its telling here.
The Innocents - tackling rape, war and religion - is an ambitious film. The gamble is worth it, though, making for a harrowing portrait of womanhood at war.
This is a slow moving but insightful film without a hint of prurience about it.
[Mathilde is] played by the captivating French actress Lou de Laâge.
Audience Reviews for The Innocents (Les innocentes)
In every time and place of war, there are two guarantees: death and rape. Set in a Polish convent near the end of WWII, this powerful exploration of a nearly forgotten but presumably often occurrence makes that point unequivocally. After the nuns were subjected to sexual abuse by Soviet soldiers, several of them are left with child. To avoid shame or being ostracized, death sentences for the time and place, the Mother of the convent and a French Red Cross medic take very different steps to ensure survival for the women. Aside from it being beautifully shot, the film brings up complex religious and ethical themes. The intersection of the need to survive with the struggle for perceived piety are tantamount to how each of the nuns and the medic carry out their responsibilities. An interesting theme of particular note is that for the majority of the film, the presence of men (including the implied perception that God is a "He") is always accompanied with selfishness, violence, or ambivalence. The true focus remains on the primary cast of women who only have survival and salvation in mind. I don't think I've ever seen a movie that passes the Bechdel test so effortlessly. Even while being subjected to an awful situation, some of them can still find hope and joy. Whether or not that includes their religion or their children, the film makes no contrivances about what will bring closure after trauma. I haven't seen many foreign language films this year, so I don't have much to compare it to in that regard. However, I am sure that this is a genuinely important war film, akin to "Come and See", "Full Metal Jacket", and "Das Boot".
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