The Witnesses (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Witnesses2007

The Witnesses (2007)



Critic Consensus: French director André Téchiné successfully weaves five gripping stories in an engaging and realistic film about the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

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Movie Info

Manu is 20 years old when he arrives in Paris to look for a job. Initially, he moves in with his sister, Julie, who rents a room in a sleazy hotel. Her life revolves around music. She is training to be an opera singer and tries hard to partition herself off from her ebullient brother. Manu is a night bird. One night he meets Adrien, an extrovert and cultivated gay doctor in his early 50s with whom he strikes up a carefree, platonic friendship. Adrien soon introduces Manu to his circle of friends. Adrien takes Manu for a boat trip on the Mediterranean with a young married couple: Mehdi, who is a cop, and Sarah, a writer. The recent birth of their first child seems only to have made this unconventional couple even happier together, but appearances are deceptive. For Mehdi, the zealous police inspector, paternity has magnified his tyrannical side and this leads to excessive behavior both at work and in his sex-life. Meanwhile, Sarah is unable to come to terms with being a mother, feeling that it encroaches on her identity as a woman. Unable to bond with her baby, she immerses herself in her writing in a desperate quest for inspiration. Manu's arrival in Paris and his intrusion into Julie, Adrien, Mehdi and Sarah's lives creates shockwaves in all their relationships. Unintentionally and unknowingly, Manu forces them confront their true desires.

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Oscar Aima
as Baby 2
Jacques Nolot
as Hotel Manager
Alain Cauchi
as Sheriff
David Barbas
as Medhi's colleague
Satya Dusaugey
as Young Man in Park
Xavier Beauvois
as L'éditeur
Raphaëline Goupilleau
as La mère de Julie et Manu
Jean-Marie Besset
as Operating Theatre Assistant
Maïa Simon
as Sarah's Mother
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News & Interviews for The Witnesses

Critic Reviews for The Witnesses

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (18)

Excitingly convoluted.

October 18, 2008

Techine's graceful, forceful drama has the tact not to play narrative games with its subject.

October 18, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4

André Téchiné's film features a strong ensemble cast. The film pulls no punches in its depiction of lives in crisis.

July 16, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The Witnesses doesn't pay off with a great operatic pinnacle, but it's better that way. Better to show people we care about facing facts they care desperately about, without the consolation of plot mechanics.

May 16, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

In The Witnesses, [director] Techine levels his gaze on the '80s, an era of seeming innocence, perhaps license, and one in which biological freedom has led to a loose, even sloppily knit fabric of humanity.

March 13, 2008 | Full Review…

What the characters in The Witnesses -- and the audience -- pay testimony to in André Téchiné's urgent, compassionate, and ultimately optimistic French drama are the toll the epidemic has rung, and the responsibility of the living to choose life.

February 20, 2008 | Rating: B+

Audience Reviews for The Witnesses


Poignant, sensitive drama with well developed characters realistically played by the cast.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

An unusual but refreshingly straightforward film that sensitively shows how the beginning of the AIDS epidemic affects a group of connected friends. Beautifully filmed, the screenplay keeps things relatively pared back and serves the actors well - the power and intensity comes from the terrific performances instead of artificial melodrama. An intelligent and adult film.

Daniel Parsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

Functional but well performed recollection of the AIDS epidemic and its fallout amongst a group of unlikable bourgeoisie.

Gordon Anderson
Gordon Anderson

Super Reviewer

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