Prayer Focus

The Triplets of Belleville

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for images involving sensuality, violence and crude humor
not reviewed
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Mature Teens
Genre:
Art/Foreign Action Animation Comedy Music
Length:
1 hr. 18 min.
Year of Release:
2003
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics
Copyright, Sony Pictures Classics

Starring: Jean-Claude Donda, Michel Robin, Monica Viegas | Directed by: Sylvain Chomet | Produced by: Paul Cadieux, Didier Brunner | Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “This animated film follows elderly Frenchwoman Madame Souza as she becomes involved in international intrigue when her grandson, Champion, a professional cyclist, is kidnapped and taken abroad. Joined by her faithful dog, Bruno, Souza embarks on a journey to find Champion, and stumbles across unlikely allies in the form of three sisters who are veterans of the vaudeville stage. Tracking down Champion's criminal captors, the quartet of old women use their wits to try and win the day.”

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This is certainly not a movie to take to church, but it is a finely crafted story of the close family relationship between a grandmother, a boy and his dog. As other comments have noted, nobody prays or mentions God. If you are looking for a movie to enrich your relationship to God this is probably not the movie for you. But the fact is, love and grace (as well as the ages old combat against evil) are all over the screen in Triplets of Belleville, once you look past the vulgarities and crudeness the other commentators focus on. And where, in reality or in fantasy, can one avoid crudeness and vulgarity, that really is nothing more than the manifestation of mankind’s sinfulness? The Bible is full of vulgarity and sinfulness, and so (in the same way) is this movie. If you want to see another Ben Hur, find another movie. But if you want to see a movie you will not easily forget, try this one out.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
—Richard Shepard, age 55
Positive—I thought this was a great film, a few questionable parts but for the most part good. It is also very well made. I don’t recommend this film to younger children though.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—John, age 54
Negative
Negative—My husband and I received this DVD as a gift. I had read a fascinating review of it in the New York Times (not exactly from a Christian worldview!) And since one of our sons lives in France, and it is a “French” animation we were interested and willing to watch it. However, as Christians, we would not recommend it. …we were disappointed by the unnecessarily offensive images (i.e., a dancing nude; small man stuck in a “butt crack” [I hate even to write that], and a brothel-type scenes). Most of all, it seemed like “a Trip” and reminded us of our pre-Christian 1960’s experiences. In fact, a lot of it did not make sense, although it was flashy and jazzy and probably not intended to make much sense.

But some of it was sweet, like the grandmother’s utter devotion to her grandson, although the SOURCE of her sweetness and the SOURCE where she got the strength to persevere was never explained. Grandmother is finally helped by three eccentric old women (the Triplets of Belleville) in her efforts to save her grandson. Their friendship is uniquely odd and each woman is also grotesquely charming. However, in life and in her struggles to help her grandson, the Grandmother never thinks to pray. She is clever and self-reliant instead. In fact, there is no reference to God anywhere in this film.

Overall, the Triplets of Belleville has some charm and is illustrated by ground-breaking animation, accompanied by jazzy music, but the story and characters are not very deep. Moreover, the film has a slightly melancholy air, and it lacks real joy and truth.
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—V. Taylor, age 56
Negative—My husband brought this one home because he’d heard the soundtrack. The music is charming and the rural french village and cosmopolitan Belleville are beautifully drawn. But the people all look miserable—stupid, mean, vulgar or sad. The movie was so bereft of joy, beauty or meaning that it just didn’t seem worthwhile to continue and so we shut it off after about 20-30 minutes.

For example, the film begins with people walking into the theater. There are lots of grotesquely fat women in this movie and one of them is walking in with a slight man stuck in her butt crack. This is the sort of ugly image you can expect to see again and again throughout the movie.

There are some very funny depictions and the grandmother’s devotion to her son is touching as she trains him for the Tour de France and then does everything possible to follow him after his kidnapping.

I was curious to see how it would all turn out but thankfully, better judgment prevailed and we shut it off. We didn’t need any more perverse images in the name of entertainment (Phil. 4:8 “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”) Unfortunately, we had our kids with us and my daughter told me she had bad dreams last night based on what we had seen.

It’s sad that such talented artists and film makers choose to portray humanity in such a grotesque light. My heart does grieve to think there are people who truly see life this way.

If you like Simpsons and other ugly cartoons, then you probably will differ with me. If not, I’d urge you to think twice about this selection.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/4]
—Gayle Ataceri, age 37
Comments from young people
Negative—This is disgusting. …I know this is rated PG-13, but I thought the rating was over done! Man, I was wrong. I never want to see that kind of nudity again. PLEASE skip this one. It’s gross and depressing.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/3]
—Noelle, age 16
Positive—This movie was absolutely hilarious. The whole movie is animated and all of the main characters say only a few words. This would be a good movie for basically anyone at any age. There are a few characters who look mean and may frighten some younger viewers, but for the most part, it is a lot of fun. Each of the characters are drawn in the most unusual way and it was overall a fantastic movie. Very well done. Highly recommended.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Anne K., age 17
Movie Critics
…This is not a children’s cartoon: It opens with an elaborate black-and-white, surrealistic homage to Max Fleischer featuring a topless Josephine Baker, as well as Fred Astaire being devoured by his dancing shoes. …so crammed full of eye-popping images, it’s impossible to forget afterward…
—Lou Lumenick, New York Post
…an insanely delicious animated feature… using hand-drawn animation along with computer effects, this strangely gorgeous tale about a kidnapped Tour de France bicyclist and the strange assortment of people who rescue him harkens back to old-style cartoons of the 1930s…
—Jami Bernard, New York Daily News
…Although it is mostly set in a vast, oppressive and dehumanising city, the rebellious charm of “Belleville Rendez-vous” restores faith in the power of human inventiveness, and will leave you feeling buoyant…
—Anton Bitel, Movie Gazette