Video Review

Germinal (1994)

MPAA Rating: R
EW's GRADE
C

Details Movie Rated: R; Genres: Drama, Foreign Language, Historical; With: Gerard Depardieu and Miou-Miou

Emile Zola's novel, Germinal of the hardships of coal-mining life in 19th-century France gets an ironically picturesque and needlessly protracted (2 hours and 38 minutes) adaptation by Claude Berri, director of Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring. Misery has seldom looked so ravishing. One crisis follows another as Gerard Depardieu (so craggy that he's starting to resemble a sculpted Rodin peasant) leads a strike, and the indomitable wife (Miou-Miou) puts Mother Courage to shame. While some of Zola's sweeping narrative power does come through, this is for those who like their harsh realities in deluxe binding. C

Originally posted Nov 25, 1994 Published in issue #250 Nov 25, 1994 Order article reprints