Ben Croll: More frustrating than a misfire, “Jeanne du Barry” suffers instead from near total myopia, roaring to life with wit and ingenuity when the constellations align and the lead’s star can shine, and dwindling before the risk of any possible eclipse. The film burns hot and bright — and quickly flames out.
Lisa Nesselson: This is not great or memorable filmmaking but the power of the story and some of the performances make up for that.
Peter Debruge: In attempting to reclaim this woman’s reputation, Maïwenn’s film feels unexpectedly tame — it risks turning a would-be scandal into a royal bore.
Peter Bradshaw: It is a preposterous confection of a movie, like one of the rich sweetmeats being languidly nibbled at court, but very moreish, nonetheless. It is handsomely furnished and costumed with blue-chip character actors in the supporting roles and some wonderful locations and interiors at the Palace of Versailles itself.
Jordan Mintzer: With all the recent controversy surrounding Depp, not to mention Maïwenn herself, the result of their collaboration is a handsome period piece that feels both flat and shallow, and certainly far from any scandale.
Robbie Collin: It’s mostly handsomely shot, with painterly vistas of the French countryside and lots of dazzling Versailles interiors. But the central relationship never convinces – it all just feels like a performance, put on for the benefit of the courtiers and by extension, us.
Twitter responses, courtesy of a poster on another forum:
Matt Neglia: Get the tissue boxes ready again! Hirokazu Kore-eda superbly crafts a complex tale of how insecurity & suppression can lead to lies & consequences. Told from multiple perspectives, each layer is more emotionally devastating than the last. A heartbreaking film with a perfect cast.
Ema Sasic: MONSTER delivers another classic Kore-eda humanity-focused film that slowly reveals itself through RASHOMON style. Each part adds another layer to a grand tale about secrets, lies and friendship. Solid acting and writing, but kids Soya Kurokawa & Hiiragi Hinata steal the show
Lee Marshall: Hirokazu Kore-eda brings emotional nuance to a moral tale about school bullying, scored by the late Ryuichi Sakamoto. There are some fine performances, including Sakura Ando.
Tomris Laffly: MONSTER is not the best Kore-eda, but it’s still a pretty good Kore-eda. Like a wobbly but earnest mash-up of CLOSE, and a Farhadi film. The young leads are terrific, and so is the score by the late great master, Ryuichi Sakamoto
Antoine Rousseau: We love getting lost in Monster. Kore-eda confronts points of view to deal with the difficult construction of oneself as a child. A remarkable writing that oscillates between disorder and sweetness. First Cannes tears
Jean-Baptiste Morel: Ah yes, the competition starts strong. Well-deserved ovation for Monster, a marvel of writing by Kore-Eda. Sometimes serious, sometimes mischievous. It is, on the spot, a great film about childhood. If the competition vintage is like this, then we’re going to love it
Philip Bagnall: A structural gambit too far for Kore-Eda, whose retelling of events from different viewpoints highlights the script’s weaknesses. Some characters are played too broad, & it’s too dependent on happenstance. Improves as time passes, but a slight disappointment
Pete Hammond: With superb casting Kore-Eda gets excellent work again from Sakura, as well as Eita. Monster also benefits from a first association for Kore-Eda with the late great Oscar-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, bringing a moving final musical score that turns out to be pitch perfect here.
Julien Lada: The presentation of Monster from the first day of competition raised fears of a minor Kore-Eda, sacrificed by the Cannes schedule. Nay, it’s brilliant mastery, emotion and efficiency. And is savored all the more when you reveal as little as possible
Charley James: Another successful Kore-eda with Monster, a Rashomon-like drama that turns out to be more and more touching as its story unfolds, and on its play of perspectives on the parental, school and child point of view which moves helped by the ultimate score of Ryūichi Sakamoto
Marine Bordone: The competition starts strong with Monster from Kore-Eda. A sequence of points of view to finally reveal the truth. It’s sweet, violent, intelligent. Important. Somewhere between Stand By Me and Close
Matt Neglia: THE DELINQUENTS charts the 3.5 years following a bank heist committed by its employees with patience, humor & passion. An unconventional film of its kind with some unexpected choices but always rooted in character & story. Not sure it’s worth the three hours, but I admired it.
Tomris Laffly: Cannes folk: turn your attention over to Rodrigo Moreno’s DELINQUENTS, a crime-thriller that’s slick, impeccably written and filled with wisdom & a droll sense of humor. Don’t let the runtime turn you off—it very much earns it. (Congrats to MUBI on the acquisition.)
Jordan Cronk: Rodrigo Moreno’s THE DELINQUENTS is an early Cannes highlight and one of the best films to come out of Un Certain Regard in years. Also answers modern cinema’s most pressing riddle: what if Corneliu Porumboiu remade WHAT DO WE SEE WHEN WE LOOK AT THE SKY?
Ankit Jhunjhunwala: Bank robbery plot sparks inventive tangents about yearning for a life of freedom. What r they putting in the water in Argentina? Aftr TRENQUE LAUQUEN, another original deeply engrossing work of imagination.
David Fear: To the people at the Cannes Film Festival 2023 — I can’t recommend THE DELINQUENTS highly enough. Amazing Argentine film, takes a lyrical left turn around the midpoint, sticks the landing in the most beautiful way imaginable. Great late ’60s South American blues soundtrack, too.
Jessica Kiang: Freaking love The Delinquents. A deliciously bizarre existential heist movie that wants you to steal back your life. At each creative juncture, the director selects the path less travelled, the one that leads furthest away from classic structure and formula.
Luke Hearfield: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s ‘Black Flies’ is proper pressure-cooker cinema. A very bleak, cramped & hostile look at what it’s like to work as an EMS paramedic. I needed to come up for air afterwards. Immense sound design and solid work from Tye Sheridan and Sean Penn.
Tim Grierson: a drama about the spiritual toll that paramedics experience on the job. It’s grueling, but not especially enlightening
Nicholas Bell: a showcase for Tye Sheridan as much as it is a welcome return for Sean Penn’s abilities as an actor, the film’s intensity ultimately isn’t matched by a requisite amount of intelligence
Peter Howell: My soul is seared. Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s English-langage debut assaults the senses, recalling ’70s film classics in story of NYC paramedics, masterfully played by Sean Penn and Tye Sheridan, who feel their humanity ebb as they struggle to heal others.
Peter Bradshaw: The movie has its moments…but overall the vital signs of this film are not great.
Ankit Jhunjhunwala: Young EMS provider completely unravels. Better made than most Hollywood films like this. Not an embarrassment. Wide screen visuals, versimilitude, visceral quality – all good. Tye Sheridan very creditable leading man.
David Ehrlich: this clumsy marathon of plotless miseries is so grueling and one-note that it seems determined to numb us more than the job itself ever could.
Gregory Ellwood: Youth (Spring) has some moments but is utterly repetitive. Could have been even more impactful at a significantly shorter timeframe
David Jenkins: Pains me to say that Wang Bing’s durational punisher on the pros and cons of the Chinese textile industry, Youth, was the toughest thing I’ve ever seen in Cannes. Laudable in intent, but really does emulate the monotony of pumping out sweat pants in front of a sewing machine.
Therese Lacson: I really wanted to like Youth (Jeunesse). I admire what Wang Bing was trying to do, but 3.5 hours is too long for a doc that just is day-to-day interaction. It is a comprehensive look at the working-class in China but a tiring one.
David Cuevas: Wang Bing’s Youth contains a great premise, but often forgets about the subject’s declared privacy and consent for filming. In one scene, Bing literally just walks into a person’s apartment who seems distressed by the camera’s presence. A big ethical no-no.
Sam Adams: I would like to see YOUTH (SPRING) again on a day when when a 3 1/2 observational doc is the only thing I see, but really like how Wang Bing’s focus on the personal interactions inside Chinese garment workshops acts as a soft rebuttal to more macro/dehumanized takes
Simon Santiago: Wang Bing succeeds at conveying an asfixiating sense of tedium and repetition with his portrayal the young people working their asses off at Chinese textile ateliers. However, its 3h30 are extremely demanding, and he knows it
Mark Asch: The vastness of the Chinese garment industry—migrants in their own fast fashion fail to flirt & organize, to the clack of sewing machine & a fire alarm’s “check battery” beep that goes off for like 30 minutes straight. Next time your seams rip, you’ll know why.
Victor Russo: Wang Bing and his camera that spy portrays men and women as extensions of machines, to go on deconstructing this relationship by treating them as human beings (almost all young people) in their most banal daily life. My favorite so far
Peter Bradshaw: It’s possible to be slightly overwhelmed by the scale and the social realist detail of the film, which was shot over a five-year period from 2014 to 2019, but the hope and idealism of the young workers is moving.
Stephen Miller: At once a standard French drama (beautiful scenery, naturalistic dialogue, everyone has sex) and a *far more interesting* exploration of the isolation felt by its West African immigrant protagonists, which renders that wistful shit hollow
Simon Santiago: Catherine Corsini’s Homecoming is a class and family drama set in a Corsican summer vacation. Attractive and with great performances, it feels less heavy-handed than her last competition entry
Peter Bradshaw: Despite some warm and sympathetic performances and lovely cinematography, there is something weirdly glib in director and co-writer Catherine Corsini’s new film.
Eric Lavallée: Working (not always overtly) with themes of colonialism, racism, power dynamics and first loves while brimming with light-heartedness but nonetheless, a tonally serious synergy, Le retour (Homecoming) is a drama that details what happens in Corsica should maybe stay in Corsica.
Guy Lodge: For all the secrets and lies that shape the narrative of Corsini’s straightforwardly told but consistently intriguing new film, its most interesting tensions often emerge from things its characters already know, even if they haven’t acknowledged them out loud. A terrific trio of performances go some way toward making the film’s more neatly schematic plotting feel organically, messily human.
Justin Chang: Corsini leans a little too hard on narrative convenience, but she also has a gift for illuminating everyday racism — the matter-of-fact microaggressions, the unspoken anxieties — in a story of youthful alienation and restlessness. Whenever believability falters, Corsini and her fine actors manage to pull you back in.
Jordan Mintzer: A moving and meaningful summer holiday. It has Corsini doing what she does best — guiding actors toward intense and stirring performances, telling stories that can be dark and light at the same time — in a way that feels nearly effortless.
Stephanie Bunbury: There is a brisker, tougher and more succinct story buried just out of sight, somewhere on the beach where the jet-skis blast through the waves. Not that there isn’t plenty here to enjoy, but too much time where we feel like Farah, running sand through her fingers and wondering if there’s anything to do in this village.
Ewan Graf: Le Retour (Homecoming) ticks off every box on the film festival checklist. Cliché overload and left some of the more interesting storylines by the wayside.
Something to note from the jury's pre-festival panel is that Ostlund is fervent in his statement that there will be no leaks or scuttlebutt on winners from the jury. They're gonna run a tight ship on the rumor mill.
Ella Kemp: HOW TO HAVE SEX is really special, knockout debut that’s just so long overdue for all the post-exams holidays we’ve been on (Tenerife 2014) and how those feelings and mistakes and desires live forever. One for the girlies and anyone who cares for a girlie
Caspar Salmon: Impressed by Molly Manning-Walker’s HOW TO HAVE SEX – teenage rite of passage as an unblinking horror movie, in which the monster is patriarchy and sexual violence. Some unevenness of tone and performance, but really assured & sensitive. Mia McKenna-Bruce very fine.
Ema Sasic: HOW TO HAVE SEX is everything. Molly Manning Walker writes such a powerful film about sex, the female experience and how women are treated. It was difficult to watch and so relatable in many ways, but the humor is aplenty too. Mia McKenna-Bruce is brilliant! A must-watch film!
Luke Hearfield: Molly Manning Walker’s How To Have Sex is easily the best thing I’ve seen at Cannes 2023 (so far). A phenomenal debut feature about sisterhood and consent with a firecracker performance from Mia McKenna-Bruce. It’s thought-provoking, beautifully shot and has a bangin’ soundtrack.
Gregory Ellwood: Mia McKenna-Bruce is quietly phenomenal How To Have Sex. The movie is good but missing something overall?
Yasmine Kandil: HOW TO HAVE SEX is a standout film early in the festival. Such precise direction from Molly Manning-Walker (AUB represent <3), impeccable music supervision and stellar performances from the whole ensemble
The Oscar Expert: How To Have Sex is GREAT. Molly Manning Walker’s debut is powerful and deeply insightful. The performances are authentic, it’s beautifully filmed. First cry of the fest.
Douglas Greenwood: Cried at HOW TO HAVE SEX, best of the festival so far. This really gorgeous, energetic, melancholic portrait of British teenagehood; one of the realest I’ve seen in ages. Touches of Morvern Callar. Mia McKenna-Bruce is gobsmackingly good.
Rafa Sales Ross: Mia McKenna-Bruce is a STAR in Molly Manning Walker’s roaring debut HOW TO HAVE SEX. Her charm is such it has me considering the fashion potential of neon green. Much to chew on here, but what a solid addition to the recent array of outstanding 1st films by UK talent
Manuela Lazic: An uneven but impressive debut, very perceptive about how sex can be a minefield for young women, and how we are rarely given the language to better navigate it and share how it impacts us.
Rory Doherty: HOW TO HAVE SEX is the pick of Cannes thus far for me. Some really complex performances, none more so than a brilliant Mia McKenna-Bruce (like, performance of the year level good). Definitely still reeling a bit from how this made me feel. Sheer emotional filmmaking.
David Jenkins: More scintillating magnificence from Nuri Bilge Ceylan in About Dry Grasses. Screenplay-wise he’s on another plateau. Not a wasted syllable/frame. One extended dinner-table confab an all-timer.
Guy Lodge: This is Ceylan at his most limber and mischievous, the filmmaking exhibiting a generosity and curiosity that belies the script’s defense of individualist, even isolationist, living, at whatever cost to one’s own happiness
Matt Neglia: ABOUT DRY GRASSES might be Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s most complex & best film to date. Its 3 hours requires patience but the results are thematically rewarding & awe-inspiring. A masterful piece on man’s selfishness & what drives action. Astonishing writing, direction & performances!
Ankit Juhnjhunwala: Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s thin story creaks under the weight of the skull-crushing profoudity & solemnity he heaps upon it. Can’t make an outright bad film, bt is he workin in the right medium? Maybe he should write novels/plays (or TV).
Namrata Joshi: Stunned by Nuri Bilge Ceylan take on misogyny, morality and so much more. And what an incredible ensemble he has in About Dry Grasses Not that I wasn’t a fan already…
Charley James: So far the best written film in competition in terms of dialogue, and the most interesting Nuri Bilge Celyan since 2011
The Oscar Expert: ABOUT DRY GRASSES is 3+ hours of dialogue and it’s god damn riveting. Denis Celiloglu is quietly terrifying in the lead role. Merve Dizdar is also really strong. Will have to think on it for a bit but one of the best of the fest for sure
Tomris Laffly: Turkish people are tired and our great Nuri Bilge Ceylan knows just how deep the weariness runs. His ABOUT DRY GRASSES is a slow-burning knockout to luxuriate in. Complex, poetic, humorous. This Turk loved it.
Victor Russo: It brings all the typical elements of Ceylan’s cinema (long shots, philosophical dialogues, comments on Turkish society, empty and oppressive environment in open shots), but never lets the many lines and the 3h hide the real importance : the characters
Marcio Sallem: Easy favorite for the Palme d’Or, a film whose philosophy and thematic complexity are rivaled only by the dialogues constructed with skill and three-dimensionality.
Simón Santiago: We reconfirm that Nuri Bilge Ceylan seems to have no ceiling. About Dry Grasses is quite plainly a masterpiece. Impressive script, complex rich character, superb dialogue, outstanding performances and a perfect mise-en-scene. Another Palme d’Or, please!
Ema Sasic: THE NEW BOY is not what I expected with its surreal elements surrounding an Aboriginal boy who ends up at a monastery and begins to lose parts of himself. This didn’t keep my interest as a whole, but Cate Blanchett as a renegade nun is a treat. Stellar debut from Aswan Reid
Gregory Ellwood: The nicest thing I can say about The New Boy is it has a gorgeous score. The rest is a strange and often inert mess. Not only can Cate Blanchett not save this one, it’s also a pretty weak performance by Cate standards. If she wasn’t in it, no way this movie plays
Matt Neglia: THE NEW BOY is a sumptuous-looking film basked in the Australian sun with a splendid-sounding score. Plot lines aren’t fully developed. Lacks focus in its overall faith-based messaging. More of a showcase for the mostly silent Aswan Reid than the typically reliable Cate Blanchett
Anna Miller: THE NEW BOY is a gorgeous, atmospheric and extremely allegorical story of an Aboriginal boy who ends up on the doorstep of one habit-clad nun played by Cate Blanchett. Spirituality, colonization and indoctrination come to a head to create a stunning & thought provoking film.
Ali Benzekri: WT was in such a mood when he shot this film. It’s gorgeous but the whole is mixed. Cate Blanchett has a large and substantial role and she excels in it. I never thought that she out of all actresses would give us a sane & grounded nun
Matt Neglia: Jonathan Glazer depicts a happy life for a German Nazi family based in Auschwitz while the horrors of the Holocaust are heard off-screen beyond the walls of their idyllic home in THE ZONE OF INTEREST. A disturbing & cerebral message backed by Mica Levi’s haunting score. Chilling.
David Ehrlich: Jonathan Glazer *would* follow Under the Skin with a formally rigorous and profoundly chilling drama about the commandant of Auschwitz and his idyllic family life. the first major work of art i’ve seen at Cannes 2023 so far
Manuela Lazic: so far my favourite of the festival. Glazer creates a visual framing that is completely original & brings out the uncanny quality – as Freud would say – of life in Nazi Germany, specifically for commandants. A film for grownups.
Robert Daniels: Jonathan Glazer’s THE ZONE OF INTEREST is revelatory and chilling in its precision and specify rendering the cogs and mechanisms required to normalize mass murder. I won’t be seeing another movie today after it.
David Jenkins: With The Zone of Interest Jonathan Glazer makes a film as completely disturbing and conceptually brilliant as Salo. I’m shaking. Banjaxed. Walked out of the screening in a state of catatonia. Major and then some.
Gregory Ellwood: I have no idea if Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest is going to win the Palme d’Or, but it’s quite BRILLIANT and might deserve to. I will be thinking of it often in the months to come.
Ema Sasic: THE ZONE OF INTEREST is effective in showing just how easily humans can turn their backs on atrocities. The central story with a Nazi officer and his family isn’t the most captivating at times, but there are incredible shots throughout. Such a unique take on a Holocaust film
Wendy Ide: Imagine the sickening dread of the baby on the beach scene of Under The Skin sustained for an entire film: that’s Glazer’s remarkable Zone of Interest. Goes hard on both banality and evil. Best of Cannes so far.
Xan Brooks: Awestruck by The Zone of Interest, Glazer’s film about the happy family living next door to Auschwitz. A death camp Bluebeard tale that’s made all the more chilling by the wife’s un-bothered disinterest in what’s behind the locked door
Alissa Wilkinson: THE ZONE OF INTEREST is a million percent the most terrifying horror film of the year
Jason Gorber: Flat out masterpiece from Jonathan Glazer. Went in unaware of source material, immediately drawn to its immaculate execution, pitch perfect performances and nightmarish scenario. Arendt’s banality of evil presented in purest cinematic form.