I refrained from watching this for a long time because the reviews I'd read weren't very favorable. Dumb move because this was really moving. It was difficult, and it felt raw. Direction is precise and tight, cinematography was gorgeous, and the performances impressive. Ben Mendelsohn steals it for me but that's no knock against anyone in this film.
I have decided that there is no possible way for me to rank this film. I cannot disconnect the film itself from the music and the performance. As I was fortunate enough to see Sufjan on this tour I am also unable to disconnect the film or the music itself from the profound, life changing experience that it was to see this show live. I know the film reminded me of that feeling which is something I'm very grateful for. I will simply click on the little heart, go to my room and cry for joy of life and art, and leave it at that.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
This film embodies everything that I love about the Criterion Collection. It is merely circumstantial that it happened to be the very first DVD that the Criterion Collection ever released, a fact I did not know until after setting out to write this article. La Grande Illusion is a film set during World War I. It was directed by one of the masters of French film, Jean Renoir, and was a monumental movie when it was released in 1937.