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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Carnage (review)

In her compelling debut feature, Delphine Gleize achieves a mastery of the visual, the metaphoric, and the dramatic that few other veteran filmmakers could pull off. This is an expansive story about the whole shebang: life and death and sex and babies and food and dogs, all the really important things. A toreador is wounded in a ring in Spain, and the bull killed, and this one relatively small event, in the grand scale of the world, serves as the lynchpin for a series of other small events that, unseen to all involved, connect a circle of far-flung people in one grand, invisible tapestry of human existence. A schoolteacher, a schoolgirl, an aspiring actress, an elderly woman and her odd middle-aged son, a pregnant woman and her philandering scientist husband… they’re ordinary people just trying to figure it all out, this messy, complicated life thing, and the hidden coincidences that join them, the mundane stuff of everyday life — wrong numbers on the phone and missing childhood drawings and supermarket parking lot fender benders — become not impediments to living or speedbumps in the road but the very requisite essence of life itself. Unexpectedly funny and warmly, deeply human, this is a masterpiece.


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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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