Acting/characters: The performances in this film were pretty stellar. They fit with the overall tone of the film. Everything about the characters was very slow and deliberate and I think the actors acted their characters to perfection. You really felt the fear that they were going through despite the fact that they still managed to keep inner peace for the most part. I liked how incredibly selfless the monks in this film were. They knew what their fate was going to be if they stayed but rather than leaving they chose to stay and help the people around them as much as they could. Even though they had moments of doubt (who can blame them!?) they still managed to gain strength from God and continue their lives. It was beautifully acted. 10/10
Plot: One of the things I liked about this film was how it showed religion in a great light without preaching about religion. The film opens with the Christian monks and the Muslims in their community living in absolutely perfect harmony. They go to each other for advice, for prayer requests, they join each other in celebration, it was simply wonderful to watch. Like the monks themselves the plot moved at a very slow and deliberate pace but it did not get boring for even the briefest moments. It also did a great job emulating the growing fear that the monks had but still being peaceful at the same time. One of the best things about it was that is showed that there is a significant difference between actual Muslims and the f****** who find it necessary to blow up and kill people who do not agree with them. I liked that. I just thought it was awesome how they kept the tone and pacing of the film slow and deliberate without being really boring. That is difficult to do.
Screenplay: The whole thing is in French with bits in Arabic (I think). I think that it was a great script overall. once again, it was slow and deliberate but it was still really interesting listening to the monks talking particularly when they are deciding whether to stay or go. While some of the best scenes in the film were the ones without dialogue (particularly the excellent scene near the end where the monks are drinking wine and listening to Tchaikovsky) the dialogue heavy scenes did not fall behind. Since the film didn't rely on action or anything like that whatsoever to move the plot along, the dialogue is incredibly important because the film is carried by the characters and the dialogue. I think it was excellent. 10/10
Likableness: I liked this film a whole lot and I would have no qualms about watching it again. I would highly suggest it to anyone who hasn't seen it. It is a slow film but I don't feel that that makes it boring. The characters are very well done and the acting is superb. Plus it manages to show religion in a good light without being preachy about how religion is misinterpreted by society today. Plus there is the fact this this all actually happened which makes the story that much more powerful. It was a very good movie. 10/10
Final Score: 40/40 100% (P)
Tomatometer Rating: 93%
Tomatometer rating if my review was added: 93%
TRIVIA TIME: 1. The official French submission for the Foreign Language Film Award at the 83rd Academy Awards.