La règle du jeu 1939

Critics score:
98 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: There are about a dozen genuine miracles in the history of cinema, and one of them is Jean Renoir's supreme 1939 tragi-comedy The Rules of the Game. Read more

Mark Chalon Smith, Los Angeles Times: On the surface, a lace of flirtations, insinuations and rejections compose the basic plotting. But Renoir uses flashes of accelerating drama to amplify his bigger points. Read more

Howard Thompson, New York Times: A deeply personal statement of unusual richness and complexity. Read more

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader: The film was withdrawn, recut, and eventually banned by the occupying forces for its "demoralizing" effects. It was not shown again in its complete form until 1965, when it became clear that here, perhaps, was the greatest film ever made. Read more

Mark Feeney, Boston Globe: What ultimately defines the film, what makes it unforgettable, is its tragic gravity. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: [The film] is a comedy, a tragedy, a portrait of class manners, a love story of touching caprice (who will Nora Gregor's Christine fall for? Whoever woos her at the right moment), and far and away the cinema's greatest midsummer night's dream. Read more

John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press: A disaster when initially released, the movie's reputation has only grown since. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: The word "Mozartean"... gets thrown around a little too eagerly by critics, but one movie, as almost everyone agrees, deserves this supreme benediction -- Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: So simple and so labyrinthine, so guileless and so angry, so innocent and so dangerous, that you can't simply watch it, you have to absorb it. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Like the very greatest artists in all media, Renoir was able to transcend his own perspective, his own prejudices, and glimpse something of the terror and wonder of human life, the pain of misapplied or rejected love, for rich as for poor. Read more

Nigel Floyd, Time Out: Embracing every level of French society, from the aristocratic hosts to a poacher turned servant, the film presents a hilarious yet melancholic picture of a nation riven by petty class distinctions. Read more

Variety Staff, Variety: Jean Renoir, who directs, wrote the scenario and dialog, and takes a leading role, has made a common error: he attempts to crowd too many ideas into 80 minutes of film fare, resulting in confusion. Read more

Leslie Camhi, Village Voice: If you think you know it, see it again for its newly rediscovered depth of field, and even more, for its infinite wellsprings of character and empathy. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: The mobile camera seems to be a member of the party, as it follows the almost balletically choreographed movements of the cast. The effect for the audience is transcendental. We are watching life at its messiest, unfolding at its most beautiful. Read more