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Le Havre (2011)


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 84
Fresh: 83
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Aki Kaurismäki's deadpan wit hits a graceful note with Le Havre, a comedy/drama that's sweet, sad, and uplifting in equal measure.

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 29
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Aki Kaurismäki's deadpan wit hits a graceful note with Le Havre, a comedy/drama that's sweet, sad, and uplifting in equal measure.


Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 6,793


Movie Info

In this warmhearted portrait of the French harbor city that gives the film its name, fate throws young African refugee Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a well-spoken bohemian who works as a shoeshiner. With innate optimism and the unwavering support of his community, Marcel stands up to officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy tale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic cinema of … More

Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Aki Kaurismäki
In Theaters:
Jul 31, 2012
Box Office:
Janus Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Le Havre

All Critics (84) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (83) | Rotten (1) | DVD (1)

We are so held by the film's impact that its ending, surprise or not, is like a bonus.

Full Review… | June 19, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

Endearingly quirky, just this side of precious, but so warm and deftly executed that you go along with it.

Full Review… | March 7, 2012
The Atlantic
Top Critic

"Le Havre" is a passing fancy of a film, but it passes quite nicely indeed.

Full Review… | January 13, 2012
Detroit News
Top Critic

'Tis the season, so the saying goes. And when it comes to Aki Kaurismäki, it holds true. The Finnish writer-director arrives bearing a gift wrapped in a contemporary immigration fable.

Full Review… | December 2, 2011
Denver Post
Top Critic

If the bummers and ambiguity of some of this season's movies are getting you down - or, hey, just the bummers and ambiguities of life - make your way to Le Havre. You won't be sorry.

Full Review… | November 25, 2011
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The Finnish director's sense of humor is dry and dark as pitch, as he consistently finds moments of absurdity in the midst of strife and tragedy.

Full Review… | November 10, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Overly sentimental but warmhearted Marxist message pic.

Full Review… | September 4, 2013
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Kaurismäki returns with another of his deadpan comedies, reminiscent of the great silent comedians, though this one is arguably one of his gentlest as well.

Full Review… | August 22, 2012
Combustible Celluloid

Le Havre is presented as an oasis of happy inclusiveness within a regimented, uniformed, legislated and suspicious world at large; to spend time here is a pleasure.

Full Review… | April 16, 2012
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Kaurismäki turns his affectionate, whimsical eye on the impoverished but generous folk of a run-down, waterfront community in the Normandy port of Le Havre.

Full Review… | April 7, 2012
Observer [UK]

The result is both charming and purposeful.

Full Review… | April 6, 2012
This is London

Written and directed by Finland's Aki Kaurismäki, this warmly engaging film is an understated pleasure about a surprisingly resourceful underdog.

Full Review… | April 6, 2012
Sun Online

The intricately woven tale of hide and seek is full of priceless, poker-faced comedy and heartrending tenderness.

Full Review… | April 6, 2012
Daily Express

No other director could maintain this degree of optimism while telling such a superficially grim story.

Full Review… | April 5, 2012
Irish Times

It's a satisfying and distinctively lovable film.

Full Review… | April 5, 2012

A charming feel-good fantasy of 'Marxist' solidarity resurgent against the chill of post-9/11 modernity.

Full Review… | April 5, 2012

Kaurismäki clearly knows this is a fantasy, and it's a perfectly pleasant one at that.

Full Review… | April 5, 2012
Daily Telegraph

A gorgeous hymn to the struggles of the working man.

Full Review… | April 5, 2012
Little White Lies

I was on cloud nine throughout the film: that place of Technicolored rapture where Kaurismäki fans dwell, and where past, present and oneiric future are rolled celestially into one.

Full Review… | April 4, 2012
Financial Times

Such a heart-warming tale in any other hands could so easily become schmaltzy (a Spielberg remake would be awful), but the deadpan delivery and endless idiosyncrasies counterbalance this tendency.

Full Review… | April 4, 2012
Electric Sheep

Kaurismäki fashions a droll, engaging fairytale, with echoes of Casablanca in its colourful, close-knit Normandaise resistance...

Full Review… | April 1, 2012

This is no doubt a message movie, but it delivers its message in an unforced, quirky way that leaves you feeling as though you've been pleasurably cajoled rather than harangued.

Full Review… | March 29, 2012
One Guy's Opinion

A warm-hearted salute to both classical French cinema and working-class solidarity.

Full Review… | March 26, 2012
Total Film

Le Havre could be described as the ever-quirky Aki Kaurismaki's 'wish list' film addressing today's tide of refugees who are usually faceless crowds or worse, corpses at the unintended end of their journey

Full Review… | March 24, 2012
Urban Cinefile

There's something extremely pure about this simple yet beautiful film in which ordinary people do extraordinary things

Full Review… | March 24, 2012
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Le Havre


I liked the premise of this film, and it definitely had its moments, but overall, unfortunately, I found it kind of boring. Had the characters had a little more charm I think it could have been great, but I just didn't get behind them (your mileage may vary). Will check out other Kaurismaki films, though.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Although Lights in the Dusk had the lush visuals you'd expect from a Aki Kaurismäki film, it didn't quite have the heart of his previous work. I'm not sure his heart was in it but thankfully it is a relief to announce that he is back to form with Le Havre. It's not only visually stunning in Kaurismäki's unique style but it is funny, deadpan and extremely uplifting, again this is what he does best and long may he continue. André Wilms, Kati Outinen and Jean-Pierre Darroussin are all wonderful too.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


'Le Havre'. A whimsical, feel good tale with a very quirky look, direction and set of characters.


Super Reviewer


Even if not special or memorable, this is an enjoyable film that invests well in a theatrical tone to tell a simple story. A comedic drama that makes curious use of a fable-like illumination and affected performances to turn a potentially dense drama into a light, funny experience.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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