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The 400 Blows

5 Ratings: 4.8
A movie

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Director: François Truffaut
Genre: Drama
Release Date: November 16, 1959
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about The 400 Blows

A dysfunctional adolescent struggles at home and school in this Truffaut classic.

  • Oct 12, 2009
  • by
The 400 Blows flows the dysfunctional life of young Antoine Doniel (Jean-Pierre Leaud) who suffers from humiliation at school from his overbearing and cruel school teacher and his distant relationship with his mother and stepfather.  He spends his free time hanging out with his best friend and confidant Rene,  One day he skips school with Rene and during his trip back home catches her mother with another man.  Confused by it all and making up a real bad excuse for his absence (he tells his school teacher that she died) really brings Antoine a whole lot of trouble upon him when the truth is exposed.  After an attempt to try and get Antoine to pay attention in school and raise his grades fail, he runs away from home and lives with Rene for awhile (he lives in household with a drunken Mother and a distant father).  Can Antoine survive on his own?  Will he be able to deal with his dysfunctional life? 

I really enjoyed this movie and I was surprised how relevant is still is.  We can all relate to some of things Antoine has to go through in this film.  Truffaut perfectly captures how hard it is to be a young teen growing up in a dysfunctional household.  Antoine, with no real guidance does whatever he can to seek happiness and pleasure in a dreary World.  His mother is cold to him and blames him for his own behavior.  His parents are always arguing over finances, Antoine's bad grades and lack of respect for them.  Instead of taking on parental responsibilities the two either blame each other for his lack of discipline or blame Antoine for being a problem child.  But their are a few times that his mother tries to deal with him but she doesn't have the patience to be a real parent and gives up fairly easy.  Sadly the truth about his childhood comes out during his meeting with a psychiatrist and the story behind his attitude and look on life is revealed.

Awesome film from Francois Truffaut.  He based the film upon his own experiences and a lot of scenes mirror many true life events that occurred in him in his life.  This is the first of several films that feature Jean-Pierre Leaud as Truffaut's onscreen counterpart.  The sequel is a short film called "Antoine and Collette" that follows young Antonie's first love.  One of my favorite films and I strongly recommend it.

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