Au Revoir Les Enfants

  • Review Date: August 9, 2011
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Poignant subtitled WWII story about kids and loss.
  • Review Date: August 9, 2011
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

Age(i)

2
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9
10
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The tragedies of war affect even the most protected of its citizens -- the children. In times of conflict, there are always extraordinary people who will risk their lives in order to do what they know is right.

Positive role models

At the story's onset, the schoolboys are introduced as self-absorbed, carefree, and insensitive. Over the course of the film even the youngest among them learns about sacrifice, compassion, heroism, and the bonds of community. Members of the Catholic clergy are depicted as heroic, selfless, and true believers in Christian charity. German military, Gestapo, and French collaborators are, with one surprising exception, depicted as single-minded, arrogant, and cruel.

Violence

A few tense moments when members of the Gestapo and soldiers search a private school for Jewish boys who may be hidden. A boy is forced to pull down his pants (off camera) so officials can determine whether or not he has been circumcised. Two angry youngsters scuffle; no one is hurt. A wild boar scares two boys in the forest. An underlying psychological tension due to the ongoing war.

Sex

Some mostly subtle references to adolescent boys' curiosity about masturbation, girls, and sex. A short sensual excerpt from The Arabian Knights is read aloud.

Language

Private schoolboys delight in occasionally swearing: "t-ts," "ass kisser," "bitch," "cow turd," "hell," "damn it," "bastard," "s--t," and more. Ethnic slurs: "yids," "Jew" uttered as an insult, and priests referred to as "monkeys." A sign states: "No Jews Allowed."
 

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Schoolboys of various ages sneak cigarettes and smoke in several scenes. They trade other goods for cigarettes, which seem to be a most valuable commodity in private school.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a profoundly sad movie about children in the midst of World War II.  The title refers to a loss of innocence and the terrible effects of war, ignorance, and bigotry on children. Because there is no overt brutality or violence (much like The Diary of Anne Frank), this film can be a moving and instructive way to bring the historical truths about Nazism and World War II to kids mature enough to understand its lessons. There is a significant amount of swearing, all from the mouths of private school boys, including: "bastard," "s--t," "turd," "whores," "sonofabitch," and more. Some tense scenes show French collaborators and members of the Gestapo searching for Jewish boys. The movie's final crawl reveals the tragic ending that befalls some of the film's beloved characters.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

In an idyllic setting in the French countryside in 1944, a Catholic boys' school attempts to carry on its academic and cultural traditions in spite of the Nazi occupiers and French collaborators in close proximity. The headmaster, aided and abetted by a number of other priests, courageously hides three Jewish boys and carefully integrates them as Christians into the school population. After a series of missteps and misunderstandings, a significant friendship develops between Lucien, a bright, spirited Catholic boy, and Jean, one of the Jewish boys who is quiet, insightful, and always in fear of discovery. As the war nears its end and the Nazis heighten their efforts to identify and imprison any Jews left in the area, the threat to Jean and the others intensifies.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The simplicity of the story and the heartfelt, sensitive performances of its two young leads, Gaspard Manesse and Raphael Fejto, make AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS an unforgettably moving experience. Louis Malle, remembering his own school years during World War II, succeeds in painting a remarkable picture of innocence betrayed, bigotry unchecked, and the importance of individual acts of courage.

Well worthy of the multiple international awards it received, the film is highly recommended, especially as a means of introducing young people to the very personal nature and effect of war and collective intolerance.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the many ways filmmakers explore the realities of war. Why do you think that Louis Malle set this story in a school and made the most important characters young children?

  • There is very little action or violence in this movie. Still, it is suspenseful and intense. When and why is psychological suspense more effective than on-screen deaths, chase scenes, or battles?

  • Lucien is meant to be the character we most identify with over the course of the film. Did you find yourself making the journey from innocence to awareness and maturity with Lucien? Do you think that experiencing the journey makes movies especially memorable?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 29, 1987
DVD release date:March 25, 2006
Cast:Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejto
Director:Louis Malle
Studio:Novelle Editions de Films
Genre:Drama
Topics:History
Run time:104 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Au Revoir Les Enfants was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byBlueHorse February 14, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

(:

This movie is very very very good. It's in the Criterion Collection. it has a bit of swearing and it's a boys school, so they're kinda....into girls. For a movie full of children the acting is fantastic. It has some drugs and the main character smokes, it also has some violence but not much. it is very well directed, the characters are really cool, and the plot is great. The film is an accurate portrayal of the Nazi time. The message in this movie is great, the head of the school is hiding Jewish kids because their lives are in danger. He cares not about their religion but that they are good kids who deserve a chance.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byScottkiller2000 February 3, 2014
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Great for learning French and a good movie all together

Yes there is swearing and a little bit of sexual language but nothing that can hurt children
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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