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Worth A Look: 26.92%
Just Average: 3.85%
Pretty Crappy: 3.85%
Sucks: 3.85%

3 reviews, 34 user ratings

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Triplets of Belleville, The
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by EricDSnider

"An astonishingly original animated crack-dream."
5 stars

Animation was invented so that movies like "The Triplets of Belleville" could be made. It's a perfect blend of outrageous visual humor, lovable caricatures and imaginative storytelling. There is practically no dialogue, but the story comes through as distinctly as if there had been reams of it. It's the first movie in a long time that I wanted to watch again immediately as soon as it was over.

Written and directed with astonishing originality by Sylvain Chomet, the film opens with an insane '40s-style black-and-white sequence set in a French nighclub at which the Triplets of Belleville (think the Andrews Sisters, but French) are singing. The surrealism of the piece -- a Fred Astaire-type dancer's shoes come to life and devour him, mid-performance -- and the style of drawing used suggest Salvador Dalí mixed with early Looney Tunes, all set to an infectious dance number.

Then we move ahead, a bit closer to the present and more in the realm of caricature, style-wise. Madame Souza, a squat, bespectacled old woman with one leg shorter than the other, has been watching the show on television with her young, sullen grandson. Seeking to cheer him up, she buys him first a puppy, then a tricycle. Both do him some good, and we flash forward a dozen or so years to see the boy now an outrageously muscled (but just as silent) cyclist preparing to enter the Tour de France with Grandma as his coach. (The puppy, meanwhile, has grown fat and lazy, though he does hurry upstairs every 15 minutes to bark at the train as it roars past the ramshackle old house.)

During the Tour de France, the boy and two other racers are abducted by the French Mafia and whisked away to the New York-style big city of Belleville, where they are to be used for nefarious underground deeds. Madame Souza and the dog, whose name is Bruno, pursue them as fast as their little legs can carry them, but soon lose the scent. As fate would have it, they encounter the triplets of Belleville, now very old but still performing regularly. They take Madame Souza and Bruno into their home and help them search for the missing boy.

There's that old saying that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Well, it applies to "The Triplets of Belleville," too. Writing about such a visual experience wouldn't do any good. I could tell you the odd, quirky details -- like the way one of the triplets catches frogs for the sisters to eat, or how a restaurant maitre d' is animated so that his head is always bent forward or backward in alternating states of obsequiousness and haughtiness, or how everyone in Belleville (including its version of the Statue of Liberty) is hilariously obese -- but then I'd just be giving everything away. You have to see this film -- and truly LOOK at it -- to appreciate what's so fantastically entertaining about it. If you don't smile all the way through it, then visit a physician at once, for you are dead inside.


link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8362&reviewer=247
originally posted: 02/13/04 19:32:12
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/23/12 roscoe awful. one of the worst animated features 1 stars
8/22/11 Annie G Another out there French animated film with little dialog … weird genre. 3 stars
6/10/09 karamashi An incredible film! Surreal and Beautiful. 5 stars
10/02/08 brian Brilliant brilliant brilliant!!!! Best film of the 21st century. 5 stars
9/14/08 Adolf Hitler Unbelievable! Great! Can I watch the movie? I want some money please. 5 stars
3/02/06 sbpat21 so weird, it's wonderful 5 stars
6/12/05 J Howard Each character played their part so well! 5 stars
5/21/05 JFK great animation. Excellent made. not a great story though 4 stars
11/14/04 Gabby Brilliant. Artistically beautful and mesmorising. Intelligent animation. 5 stars
8/19/04 Nessus BOOORING! Glacially slow plot (what plot there is), unsympathetic characters. Pretentious 1 stars
7/29/04 Rus cool animation, but its just retarded french people trying to make fun of america 4 stars
7/27/04 Mike Devans HILARIOUS.... What the hell were these guys on 5 stars
6/16/04 alien assassin an inventive approach to animation 4 stars
5/23/04 DM What the fuck was that? And where can I get some more? 5 stars
5/23/04 john bale Slow paced quirky grotesque but amusing paying some homage to Mr. Magoo. Good music & FX. 4 stars
5/17/04 JoeManco The best song I've heard in a movie in a long time. Hell, the best, period. 5 stars
5/14/04 Lord Durvok 2 This could kick Finding Nemo's ass and should have won the Oscar. 5 stars
5/13/04 Helen Bradley Excellent visually average story very original too long 3 stars
3/25/04 Sarah Wentz Clever, kooky, and worth watching. Also buy the soundtrack! 5 stars
3/22/04 Mitch wow ! I loved it. It was like an animated Jaque Tati film,with "le jazz hot". 5 stars
3/17/04 MF Lunacy, storytelling and good music.. what more could you ask for in entertainment? 5 stars
3/06/04 Jill S. magnifique! 5 stars
3/04/04 davebo a unique style and amusing story 4 stars
2/29/04 Kelley animation was beautiful, way the story was set up w/ little dialog, the music..awesome 5 stars
2/26/04 Meredith Harshaw One giant leap for animation? Perhaps. But one puny stumble for entertainment. 2 stars
2/25/04 Cindy Ames Bizarre -- sometimes inventive but mostly boring. 2 stars
2/25/04 Angolmois Incredible visuals in a surrealistic setting, but the ending is kind of conventional. 4 stars
2/24/04 john wondrously loony 5 stars
2/21/04 Titus Slow at points, but overall quite good. Go see. 4 stars
2/12/04 snowconehead Burns bright, but only for a little while 5 stars
1/28/04 René Cournoyer Musical genius by Benoit Charest 5 stars
1/14/04 Betty White Exceptionally good, unique animated film. 5 stars
12/31/03 Dave Ortega Exceptional animation/wholly original 5 stars
12/29/03 Greg Edmiston Bizarre, humorous, subtle, and a great experience. 4 stars
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  26-Nov-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 04-May-2004



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