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Review: Declaration of War

A puzzler of a cancer drama
By ALICIA POTTER  |  February 16, 2012
2.5 2.5 Stars

A baby with a brain tumor is no laughing matter. Yet it's hard not to hoot during this puzzler of a cancer drama — a surprising effect given that French writer/director Valérie Donzelli culls the story from her own life. On the other hand, such emotional dissonance may be what Donzelli, who also stars opposite former partner Jérémie Elkaïm, is gunning for. First clue: their onscreen alter egos are named Roméo and Juliette. Likewise, as the saga recounts the couple's evolution from carefree partiers to waiting-room regulars, Donzelli plays wildly with tone. The awful soundtrack, nonsensical voiceover, and music-video-style montages are bizarre, clumsy, and, well, funny. But these cinematic oddities (and one terrific toddler actor) lift the film above easy tears, and the outcome is never boring. Taken as an assault against self-pity and sentimentality, this War puts up an involving, and ultimately thought-provoking, fight.

  Topics: Reviews , Movie Reviews, Family, Cancer,  More more >
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