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Unfolds in a spirit of playful adventure
howard.schumann8 September 2006
It is autumn in the Rhone valley and grapes are being harvested. Magali (Beatrice Romand), the owner of a small vineyard inherited from her parents, lives alone and attends to her vineyard with the same care she gives to her frizzy black hair. She tells her best friend Isabelle (Marie Riviére), a librarian, that she has no interest in meeting men. "At my age," she says, "it's easier to find buried treasure." Isabelle, however, has her own ideas on the subject and takes out an ad in the local paper to find a suitable partner for her friend. Winner of won the award for Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival, Eric Rohmer's An Autumn Tale, the final film in his Four Seasons series, is about matchmaking but this time it is about the need for companionship of older women with grown children.

Like many Rohmer films, a complex web of events and relationships arise from seemingly simple acts of friendship. Isabelle meets Gérald (Alain Libolt), a courteous and laid back salesman through her ad and goes to lunch with him a few times enjoying the idea that she can be still be seductive. After toying with the notion of keeping him for herself, she finally confesses that she is happily married and the whole seduction routine was simply a ploy to introduce him to her best friend Magali. The situation becomes further complicated by the desires of Rosine (Alexia Portal), her son Leo's (Stephane Damon) girlfriend, to set her up with her ex boyfriend Etienne (Diedier Sandre) a philosophy teacher with a penchant for younger women.

Unaware of the others matchmaking efforts, in a true Shakespearean twist, both Gerard and Etienne are invited to the wedding reception for Isabelle's daughter Emilia (Arelia Alcais) and the way it works itself out is delightful to observe. None of this of course unfolds according to plan but the beauty of the film is not the plot but the gradual development of complex three-dimensional characters through typically Rohmerian intelligent and witty dialogue. An Autumn Tale, though it contains some fanciful romantic intrigue, unfolds in a spirit of playful adventure, without guile or mean-spiritedness. Like the conclusion of Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man, we smile for no reason and Rohmer leaves us with a dance of joy and a final song: "If life is a journey, we hope your weather's fair, wild flowers are green and blue, travel safely, all of you".
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Ode to friendship
jotix10011 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When we first meet Isabelle, she is discussing the upcoming wedding of her daughter. She wants to get the wine from her friend Magali, whom her daughter thinks doesn't care for her. Isabelle reassures her it's not so, then goes out to meet her friend. Magali, a wine maker and a widow, has a lot going for her, yet, she hasn't been able to attract a man to share her life after the death of her husband. As old friends from childhood, we can see that Isabelle and Magali look more like sisters. Magali, who has strong opinions, tells Isabelle she would never put a personal ad in the paper to meet a man.

Magali has nothing to fear, the well intentioned Isabelle, decides to pass herself for Magali when she places an ad in their local newspaper. It doesn't take long before Gerald, a handsome middle aged man, answers the advertisement. Isabelle describes herself as though she were Magali. After all, if there is anyone that knows her friend, it's Isabelle! Gerald likes what he hears, although Isabelle's type has never done anything for him.

In the meantime, Rosine, also a well intentioned admirer of Magali, who is her son's girlfriend, decides she would like to introduce her to Etienne, a local teacher. Things get a bit complicated when Etienne, who has a reputation for falling for his female students, and Rosine, see Gerald and Isabelle, as they are talking. Rosine, who thinks something is going on, asks Etienne to wait, so Isabelle doesn't see them.

Isabelle, who during her third meeting with Gerald, decides to tell him the truth, gets a weight lifted from her conscience. Gerald, who sees a picture of Magali, senses a kind soul and doesn't take it against Isabelle for meddling and deceiving him. She invites Gerald to attend the wedding, where Magali is also invited. Everything comes together at the wedding of Isabelle's daughter. The truth finally emerges as Magali realizes Isabelle's intentions to bring her and Gerald together. As with old friendships, Magali and Isabelle's will not be broken.

Eric Rohmer, who also wrote the screen play, finishes his cycle of films with a season as a theme. He created a work of great sensitivity as a friendship is put to a test. Sometimes even a well intentioned person's meddling in another's affair can suffer if taken the wrong way. There is no such danger here. Isabelle and Magali have so much in common that all will be forgotten. Isabelle, who is a happily married woman, wants her friend to find someone and be as happy as she is. The film is typical of the director. He presents the story straight, without any embellishments. The result is a lovely story about friendship.

Marie Riviere and Beatrice Romand, who appear as Isabelle and Magali, respectively, do excellent work for the director. Both actresses give a great account of their characters. Alain Libolt, who plays Gerald, makes an impression as the sophisticated Gerald, a man who longs for a love that has been denied to him. The others in the cast are also effective in the film.

Diane Baratier's cinematography captures that area of France lovingly. Mr. Rohmer, as usual doesn't believe in too much music. In here it comes at the end, at the wedding celebration. Eric Rohmer directed this sweet tale with great style.
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Rohmer knows relationships
DeeNine-221 November 2002
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon.)

And he knows how to write dialogue that is revealing, engaging and realistic, no small feat; and it is perhaps this talent more than anything else that has made Eric Rohmer the great director that he is. Here uses France's Cotes du Rhone wine country as a backdrop and symbol to help him explore not only autumn love, but the enduring friendship of two very different women. Isabelle (Maire Revière) is an elegant, tall, fair haired, blue-eyed haute bourgeoisie and her friend Magali (Beatrice Romand) is a short, earthy, dark-haired petite winemaker originally from Tunisia. Isabelle is happily married; Magali is divorced. They are both forty-something.

Isabelle's daughter is to be married. But the focus of the film is not on the bride and groom, but on the older generation, on Isabelle and Magali. In this way Rohmer combines the warm and enchantment of the celebration of autumn life, when the grapes are ripe for harvest, when love has its last chance, when Dionysus has his festival, when the heat of summer is over and we are ready to reflect and realize what is really important before it's too late.

Isabelle feels this strongly and wants her friend to find happiness before another winter comes. But Magali, because of the vineyard, doesn't have much of an opportunity to meet men, although she allows that she would like to. She is at that delicate age when one can try again or shrug it off. Isabelle intervenes by going to a dating service and placing an ad. She meets Gerald (Alain Libolt) and they have lunch (she insists on lunch) two or three times and she evaluates him. He is modest, somewhat suave and amazingly diplomatic. They share a certain attraction.

Meanwhile, Rosine (Alexia Portal) who is dating Magali's son and who is very close to Magali, perhaps more so that she is to her son, also wants to find a mate for Magali. She proposes her philosophy professor, Etienne (Didier Sandre), who is in fact sweet on her. He is the kind of man who, as Magali observes, likes them younger as he grows older. But maybe she will be the exception. Maybe he will finally grow up. Both arrange for their choices to meet Magali at the wedding.

As usual Rohmer explores humanity and how we relate to one another, and finds both love and a kind of sweetness that is liable to bring us to tears.

The resolution of the film is followed by a most endearing anticlimax in which there is a dance of joy.
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My Enjoyable Introduction to Rohmer
gbheron26 May 2001
"Autumn Tale" is one of those movies where the viewer is asked to eavesdrop on normal people doing normal things. Europeans, notably the French, seem to do it best. It's a tricky approach to movie making; the margins for success are so narrow. Luckily, Mr. Rohmer, the director, is spot-on in this movie. The plot is a trifle; Isabelle and Magali are middle-aged women and livelong friends. Both are content with their families and careers. But Isabelle thinks that the widowed Magali needs a man, as does Magali's son's girlfriend. Independently, and unknowing to Magali and to each other, they conspire to set her up with a romantic interest. That's it. Mr. Rohmer, his screenwriter, and the top-notch actors brew up an enjoyable movie that's a treat to watch. I recommend it highly.
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A humanist critique of blind faith
timmy_50117 April 2009
For this, the last of his Tales of the Four Seasons, Eric Rohmer chose the somewhat pastoral setting of a vineyard in French wine country. It's the story of a middle aged winemaker who wants to find a man but isn't willing to look for one; essentially she hopes to encounter the perfect man by chance but she severely limits the likelihood of a meeting because she rarely ventures away from her work/home. Her two friends (who always visit her, never vice versa) each try to set her up with a man. Her older friend attempts to deceive her into thinking the man she has picked is a chance encounter while her younger friend, who happens also be dating her son, makes her intentions clear.

Essentially what Rohmer is saying with this film is that passively expecting things to happen without working for them in any way is foolish. Faith is a key theme in Rohmer's work and this might be taken as a sort of critique of blind faith. When the winemaker is thrust into these romantic entanglements she reacts like a petulant child instead of a mature adult. The logical plans of her wordly friends are a sharp contrast to her own naivety. Still, this isn't some cold rejection of her character; in spite of her flaws the winemaker still has some admirable traits and things work out well for her. This is the difference between Rohmer and certain other directors who attempt to analyze human nature: he never lets his ideas overcome the realistic boundaries of human behavior and thus avoids the all too common pitfalls of misanthropy and didacticism.

Like almost every Rohmer film I've seen, An Autumn's Tale expresses some truths about human nature with a captivating realism. However, this film didn't really speak to me the way some of his films do because I ultimately don't have much in common with the winemaker. It's still well worth watching, especially for people who have more in common with the central character.
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Little, but much
ilpohirvonen24 June 2010
Eric Rohmer is very well known all around the world; He was one of the directors who formed the French New Wave in the late 50's - early 60's, but after that he found his own path. The path he went through with more determination than anyone. Autumn Tale is the last film of his last series: The Tales of The Four Seasons. Before this series of four he made two series of six films; The Moral Tales and Comedies & Proverbs. Autumn Tale is a very beautiful film cinematographically as it is narratively, from the 78-year-old master.

Through his whole career, Eric Rohmer had the ability of making much from little ingredients. His films always had a low-budget, he often used the same cast & crew for his own production company Les Films du Losange. He never worked with mainstream actors/actresses and he used real filming locations with his own scripts.

Eric Rohmer always tried to reach to as realistic dialog as possible. He sometimes recorded his actresses' discussions on their free time, to get to know the way, that certain aged people talked in the time. Rohmer usually wrote the dialogs himself, but it many have told that much had been left on the level of improvisation.

Autumn Tale is about two women, who have been best friends for decades; Isabelle (Marie Rivière) and Magali (Béatrice Romand). Magali, a widow, has isolated in her countryside house where she works as a wine producer. She has given up hope in finding new love. Her friend Isabelle has been married for 25 years and wants to help Magali. This is the basic plot the film builds around, on misunderstandings and coincidences.

Because Rohmer wrote a lot of surveys, articles and books about the state of film, one shouldn't watch his films without paying attention to this. Autumn Tale is about wine harvest, this can easily be reflected to the plot. The characters live in a beautiful countryside town, which landscapes they adore. But all of them are aware and keep an eye on the modernization of it. This reflects to Magali's way of respecting the old ways of wine production.

Autumn Tale is a beautiful story of friendship, loneliness, searching and finding the love and joy in one's life. An interesting perspective on this story is to compare it with Rohmer's earlier films. As I mentioned earlier he often used the same actresses and the thing why one can compare these characters with others is because they are very much alike. Marie Riviere (Isabelle) plays similar roles in Eric Rohmer's The Aviator's Wife (1980) and The Green Ray (1986). Then Beatrice Roman (Magali) in Claire's Knee (1970) and Wonderful Marriage (1981). What makes these characters similar is that they all are looking for men. For something new in their lives.

Even that Eric Rohmer did some films in the 21st century it's quite interesting to watch Autumn Tale as a reflection of his career. Since it is his last film in the 20th century. Thank you for reading and I hope you'll enjoy Autumn Tale, a beautiful film about harvesting and finding something new.
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To plot or not to plot
harry_tk_yung28 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
One of the original French New Wave directors, Eric Rohmer completed the last and most cheerful of his "Four Season" series "Autumn Tale" when he was 79 years young (at 84 he made "Triple Agent" and showed no sign of tiring).

One most interesting thing about "Autumn Tale" is that two professional critic said what appear to be opposite things about the place of plots in Rohmer's films, but actually meant the same thing. One said, "Plot is typically one of the least important elements of a Rohmer movie", while the other " His films are heavily, craftily plotted, and yet wear their plots so easily that we feel we're watching everyday life as it unfolds."

"Autumn Tale" plays almost like a stage play, with two multi-scene acts. The first act sets up the stage and develops the characters. The second act is a wedding party where two matchmaking efforts collide. The object is a widowed vineyard owner who tries to convince herself that she is happily occupied with her work. Scheme number one comes from a good friend (who is happily married and has a daughter who is getting married) who put up a "lonely heart" ad for her, interviews the applicant and tries to bring the two together at the wedding party. Scheme number two comes, brilliantly and unexpectedly, from her son's lovely girlfriend who is very fond of her. The candidate here is the young lady's ex, a professor who can "talk philosophy". This is a ridiculous idea in the son's view, "You're trying to make your ex my stepfather".

So much for the plot, which is described above in its bear minimum, without its various hints of subtleties. The beauty of the movie is really in the acting. Never over-directed, it allows the absolutely top-notch cast to take the audience into a happy two-hour party. At the end, you don't feel like having watched a movie with phoney characters, but rather like having spent an evening with some good friends, who are real people. We are charmed and delighted, as well as gently probed into thinking more about relationships between people, particularly how they click. In a way, it's quite similar to "Sideways" but comes even more naturally. Like "Sideways", it has an open ending which is the nearest you can come to a happy ending.
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Wonderful sense of dialogue-realite
jtur8825 November 2000
I wish I understood French better---I feel that this must have been a masterpiece of comfortable, unforced dialogue. Even the English subtitles left me feeling that these were real people having real conversations. OPne thing that usually turns me off in a film is the sense that a conversation is a forced device of exposition---like Deborah Kerr's soliloquies. Everyone pulled this off very well. They just chatted comfortably through the film, and the audience caught enough of it to follow the story. And a decent enough story it was, with the delights and disappointments very well played through body language.
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not much to it, but it's made so well--who cares!?
MartinHafer29 July 2005
This was a little film with a simple plot and likable characters. In fact, Hollywood would learn a lot from films like this. It's not the dynamic plot, special effects or big name stars that often make a film exceptional, it's the writing and the acting! And this movie is written so lovingly and acted so honestly that I couldn't help but like it. This, despite the notable absence of the sensational elements in the movie, made for a wonderful film. Think about it--the basic plot is an older woman who owns her own small winery is lonely. So, her friend tries to find a man for her and so does her grown child. Talk about your simple plot! And yet it works! So if you are in the mood for something different, give this movie a try.
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A very pleasant and engaging surprise!
nytebyte26 August 2000
I was working on my computer with the tv nearby, and I happened upon a French film on cable. I didn't think I was particularly in the mood to read subtitles, but as I glanced at the screen, bits of the story began to pull me in. Before I knew it, over an hour and a half had passed.

I wasn't familiar with any of the actors, which probably made the story of two very good friends and their loved ones even more compelling to me. Now I'd be interested in seeing anything else featuring Marie Rivière or Béatrice Romand. Rivière was engaging as a vulnerable yet capable business woman, and Romand had a quiet and powerful energy as a widow who seems to have retreated into the "safety" of working on her vineyard.

Romand made me laugh at times with her moments of "attitude" and temper, and Rivière kept me guessing what was coming next. The story unfolded nicely. I found myself on the edge of my seat much of the time. The story is somewhat of a cautionary tale in some ways, yet very realistic in terms of human nature and relationships.

There were some actions and situations I found to be less than appropriate, but in some ways the screenwriter seems to possibly have the same view...

This movie is a must-see for people interested in the politics of dating, match-making, romance, and friendship.
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Eric Rhomer's gently sexy autumnal romp through the countryside of France
stephenksmith5 May 2002
"Autumn Tale" is a friendly, rambling french film. Beautiful visuals. And, as always, the french have a realistic, sanguine approach to female and male beauty, where the women of the film are not hollywood-ized, but their natural beauty is enhanced by the french countryside's autumanl splendor. One middle aged woman plays matchmaker for her friend, but does not tell her she's placed an ad in the personals. Someone else plays matchmaker, and then threads of story lines appear and vanish like possible lovers come and gone. Rhomer is not a natural storyteller, but this film is not terribly amibitious or weighty, but a golden, good-natured romp through french womens' psychees and sweet taut clothing. The female leads are compelling and edible, again, because the french love to present beauty through the lens of reality and possibilty. Tasteful lust. Realistic. Wild, dionescian hair on the earthmother, tilted uterus'd owner of the winery. Tres elegante is her friend living a bit vicariously through her man-hunt. Fun film but don't expect a great story here. But, oooo la la, what curves and sex have the women of middle-aged france.
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Literally vintage at Eric Rohmer's best - well-aged tale of the ageless friendship of two women
ruby_fff16 September 1999
If you're not an Eric Rohmer fan, then it just might be too casually French and talkative. It actually reminded me of Rohmer's 1981 "Le Beau Mariage" (A Good Marriage) which also has Beatrice Romand, and Marie Riviere who was in 1986 " Le Rayon vert" (The Green Ray, aka Summer). Here they are paired up, 12 years hence, in 1998 "Conte d'automne" - it's almost like Rohmer waited for them to mature into 40 something to make this film. Rohmer is 79 and what a veteran at telling stories about (mostly young) women of the hearts. This time it is vintage, literally so about Beatrice's character Magali, who owns a vineyard, and her enduring friendship with Marie's character Isabelle, with Rohmer's long-standing subject of relationships, seeking marriage companion, and matters of the heart. Isabelle and Magali both are married now with grown-up children, in fact in the beginning, we see Isabelle, her husband, her daughter and son-in-law to be discussing about wedding invitees. We follow Isabelle, leading us to Magali's vineyard and meeting Magali, and a young woman named Rosine (portrayed by Alexia Portal) who's supposed to be Magali's son's current girlfriend. Yes, Rohmer simply cannot not have his favorite 20 something young woman characters out of the picture - it actually plays an important supporting role in this Autumn Tale.

For a change, Isabelle and Magali are the focus of this Rohmer tale, but the subject is still about woman and man relationships, the dance of chance and mischance, the fluttered, confused matters of the heart. Here, Rohmer has added 'spice' to his story, there is actually alluring, intriguing twists and turns of affair, and Marie Riviere as Isabelle is simply wonderful to watch, as she engineered a match for her best friend, Magali. Beatrice Romand's facial expression is reminiscent of her role in "Le Beau Mariage", it's like going back in time to see how Magali might have been when she was younger, before her marriage in "Autumn Tale". Same for Isabelle, when I rerun "The Green Ray", I noticed the disposition that Marie Riviere displayed then is still observed in "Autumn Tale" - it's like tracing her 20 something period and what she's like then. You can say Rohmer's tales have soap opera ingredients in them, but they are always truly French and definitely lots of dialog, full of philosophies of life and relationships, of the pursuit of love and companionship.

The men characters are never neglected - they are equally and subtly complex in their supporting roles. Etienne, Rosine's professor, and Gerard, Magali's potential match arranged by Isabelle, are both well portrayed by Didier Sandre and Alain Libolt respectively. They seemed so comfortable in their roles even in uncomfortable situations. Chance and fate are strong elements in Rohmer's tales, and they are in high dosage here. This may not be for everyone (NFE), but surely a delight for Eric Rohmer fans, or whoever likes a dose of French cinema, and perhaps cable viewers of Romance Classics, AMC (American Movie Classics) or BRAVO. Rohmer at 79, vraiment formidable!

I do recommend "The Green Ray" if you haven't seen it, and if you find Beatrice Romand's character fascinating, try viewing "Le Beau Mariage".
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jdephix21 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I don't understand the excessive rating of 7.3/10, I probably missed out something major. I guess the very bad acting and the poor and dull, non "natural" dialogues (french is my mother tongue and I have never heard anyone speak like the characters) made a very bad impression on me since the first minutes.

The plot is plain simple, trying to find a new husband for a friend is a fair move but there is no twist or anything. It just takes 1h50 of plenty of useless shots to get to the happy end.

Bad, very bad experience for me, I don't really feel like watching other films from E Rohmer.
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Breezy,conversational final installment of "4 Seasons" series
joanne-1114 June 1999
Eric Rohmer's final installment in his "4 Seasons" series is something like a souffle'--light, airy and very palatable, yet composed of substantial ingredients. One comes away from this film feeling uplifted and fully satisfied. Again, Rohmer presents his viewers with what could very well be a real-life situation; in this case, a couple of rounds at matchmaking among two generations of friends in the French countryside. The director reunites Beatrice Romand and Marie Riviere from "The Green Ray" (aka "Summer") as two best friends who have a go-round with a prospective suitor that they meet through an ad in the local classifieds. Although the women are now showing some tarnish on the once golden gleam of their youth, they are still both vain enough to remain somewhat coy and competitive when it comes to the arena of romance. For long-term Rohmer fans, it is a delight to see Romand and Riviere cast together again and--as the suitor--Alain Libolt provides a perfect counterweight to their pairing. Quibbles? Alexia Portal, as the young Rosine, gives a performance that is far too smug. Additionally--from a technical standpoint--the outdoor lighting sometimes gives the cameraman some difficulty, resulting in some scenes which are overly washed-out. But, all in all, "Autumn Tale" is quite a fun bit of a romp with Rohmer's cast.
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Rohmer flicks have their own live, logic, code and references
patate-231 August 1999
This one filled me with so much joy, a fellow viewer asked me to stay still on my chair. Last time I felt like it, I was watching Rear window. Beside, you get to see France grape farm in fall and 45 year old actress who played in other Rohmer flicks as teens and young adults. Just as long-lost friends who are going through same life cycle as I, the viewer. Probably the last of elderly Rohmer flick. Last scene during end-titles feels like a farewell to his public. I'll miss your flicks Eric. Thanks for everything.
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Probably among the 5 worst movies I've ever seen
mtalence11 August 2003
Where did Mr Rohmer get the money to make such a terrible movie ? A nightmare, from beginning to end, a nightmare of boredom and pretention. All actors speak "fake" (hearing them is unbearable after 3 minutes), the story is stupid (every basic 1pm telenovela has better plot and twist), there is no direction (south of France looks bad for the first time on screen). What's the purpose of all this ? Who wants to spend 2 hours around these uninteresting depressed french semi-intellectuals ? Not me.
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Low-key and light weight, but immensely enjoyable
Jasper-1212 June 1999
Lars Von Trier and his Dogma95 crowd could learn a few things from the work of Eric Rohmer. This film also boasts a largely improvised script, is shot using available natural light, and has no post-dubbed score. I would imagine it cost a good deal less to make than Thomas Vinterberg's 'Festen', with its huge cast and 64 hours of rough footage to be edited down. But Rohmer's emphasis is on naturalism rather than a forced faux-naif, and the cinematography, though simplistic, makes good use of the natural beauty of the Ardeche landscape and its clear blue skies. There is also a story here, some beautiful performances, a slight whimsical humour rather than an ironic smirk, and warm, well-rounded characterisation. It is a sedately paced film, with no major themes, revelations or insights, but a bold and realistic portrayal of a host of characters who are seldom depicted on the cinema screen; the middle-aged rural bourgeoisie. Those whose cinematic demands consist of an endless barrage of sensual stimulation will be disappointed, but for a soporific Sunday afternoon viewing, it is very hard to resist its charms. Rohmer has been making films like these for decades (Pauline a la Plage, La Raie Verte), so the film is less conceived as a fist in the face to contemporary cinema than as another quietly confident offering from an established auteur of a truly alternative cinema with nothing more to prove.
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Screened this cute, funny film at a festival
Mumsly25 April 1999
This film was screened at Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival in Champaign, Illinois. I happen to be one of the lucky viewers and I was completely charmed by this film. The wonderful relationships these women have and their attitudes were so endearing that I just had to smile throughout the entire film. That smiling turns often to laughter, as this film's light tone creates some true comedy. Truly a great film.
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Like a mini trip back to France.
adt-25 September 1999
Having lived for weeks at a time in France, we found this film so enjoyable as a mini-trip back to France. The film captured the French culture and a slice of every day life. The plot was intelligent and fun. Although the matchmaking plot was predictable, it didn't spoil the intelligent and realistic denouement. Now the challenge is to find the earlier 3 films in this series.
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Go see it and buy the wine!
igkimm8 September 1999
Like my counterpart Brogan I also saw this in the one and only 'independent' theater in a valley of 2.8m inhabitants-sad but true.Anyway I really enjoyed the film-the one thing I left the theater with was that this film does not give you the expected happy Hollywood ending that you really want but the knowledege that it will hopefully work out for Magalis and Gerald in their relationship. My only criticism was that it is difficult to follow a complicated script with subtitles-why dont they put them at the top of the screen... Anyway 8/10 from me.Go see it.
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A great example of French cinema October 1998
The concluding work of the season cycle is a great example of French romantic comedy, but it does not act cursory. It is even interesting for the main stream movie goer although the movie takes a little time at the beginning to get into the plot.
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Soysoy29 August 2003
I had to stop watching this after 15 minutes. It was SO painful.

There are (september 2006) 896 movies in my vote history. "Conte d'Automne" is the only one with a "1" rating...

I think I've seen a lot of terrible acting during my life, but these first scenes exposed some of the most ridiculous, dull and laughable acting I've ever seen.

The rest? Sets, camera work, direction..? Zero. I mean nothing that any second year cinema student wouldn't be able to achieve in a couple of days.

This is the kind of sophomoric, pseudo-intellectual work that gives french cinema a bad name, except for those viewers who are snob enough to forget about what they see and hear, and just praise this kind of crap because it makes them sound like connoisseurs.

How this may be seriously considered by some as good cinema is totally beyond me. That's just nonsense. It's like over-boiling cheap noodles, add nothing on it, and serving them while pretending it's great Italian cooking.

The same night, I watched "Tandem", another (but good) french movie. The difference in acting, movie-making, imagination, and intelligence was stunning. A relief.
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A Delightful Exploration of Well-Lived Characters
noralee20 December 2005
One spends a lovely two hours in the French wine country with Eric Rohmer's "Autumn Tale (Conte d'automne)," though this is probably a niche movie for women over 35 - a guy in the back snored through it.

This is a delightfully fun movie of character actors with interesting faces having mature conversations about relationships. I've been a Rohmer fan since at least "Claire's Knee" and at age 79 Rohmer uses his camera much more fluidly, though the conversations are no longer like "My Dinner with Andre."

All these full-bodied characters have lives and things to do and can't just sit around sipping wine, though they do that too. We are first introduced to the middle-aged characters through their grown kids' disdainful opinions. We get a nice range of relationships, old and young, for comparisons.

The climax of the movie is two introductory conversations between two couples and we actually hold our breaths at the outcomes, with one strained by the guy's roving eye and the other a natural coming together of mutual interests.

(originally written 7/25/1999)
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Mellow Fruitfulness
writers_reign29 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Autumn comes round every year and so, it seems, does Eric Rohmer. Essentially we're watching paint dry here and taking our time about it yet somehow Rohmer contrives to make watching paint dry watchable. The plot, if you can call it that, involves Marie Riviere's Isabelle contriving to find a man for her long-time friend Beatrice Romand (Magali) whilst engaged on the same mission is the girl friend of Magali's son who has in mind a specific swain, her own ex-tutor and lover, Etienne (Didier Sandre) who teaches philosophy on the side, his main occupation being the seduction of his young female students. That's about it. There's some pleasant shots of the South of France, some eating, drinking, conversation and before you know it it's fade out time.
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It is well-known buffs either love or hate Rohmer pics...
patate-211 May 1999
No way around it. I, for one, love every pics he made. This may very well be his very last flick. He'll turn 79 in april. My best film experience in a long while. A pure delight. But... whoever learned to look at a screen the Hollywood way may have a hard time getting it. No gun, no explosion but a lot of babbling. Unlikely cadidate for an american remake.
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