Although Eric Rohmer’s fresh, unadorned style rarely sits heavily on his films, The Romance of Astrée et de Céladon, his adaptation of 17th century writer Honoré d’Urfé’s 5th century fable of affronted love, not only features an usual absence of intellectual banter, but is more importantly the lightest and silliest the director has been in ages. These are not pejorative descriptions—the film’s wholesome delight in d’Urfé’s modest whimsy amongst the 5th century Gauls of druids, nymphs and many amorous declarations of assured sincerity and flighty infidelity, the director’s own sweet, unexpected eroticism, and the film’s gentle spirit simply make a work that is light, lovely, and strange.
- D. Kasman (D-kaz.com)
If, as the eighty-seven-year-old Eric Rohmer has suggested, this is his last film, he’s leaving the stage with an audacious flourish, infusing a fifth-century pastoral fantasy (adapted from a seventeenth-century novel) with a lifetime of themes, passions, and big ideas. [...] As usual, Rohmer shows the way to true love through the rejection of a false one; making his eighteenth-century moralist’s view explicit, he sets the misadventures in images redolent of Watteau and Fragonard. The crucial moments are dialectical—a disputation between a faithful lover and a capering libertine, a druid’s pagan proof of monotheism and the Trinity. As a result, it takes Rohmer a long time to reunite the original pair, but from love delayed, he asserts, music, painting, poetry, architecture, and religion are born. In French.
- R. Brody (Newyorker.com)