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The women of the Paridier farm must grapple with the workload while the men are off at the front. Hortense, the family’s matriarch, reluctantly brings on an outsider, the hard-scrabble orphan, Francine. Newfound independence is acquired, yet emotions are stirred when the men return on short leaves.
Xavier Beauvois’ vivid WWI drama is a fiercely compassionate portrayal of the quiet toll of war on the home front. Caroline Champetier’s (Annette) lush cinematography, reminiscent of paintings by Monet and Renoir, imbues the French countryside with a melancholy that pulses beneath the surface.