Carmen Move Review

Here, Carmen is tackled by well-known choreographer and dancer Benjamin Millepied. The film is very artistic and deserves the attention a lover of something distinct would be willing to give it. You should, too, just for the hearts that created it. The score by Nicholas Britell (Succession, Moonlight) is exceptional. However, this is an odd creation. ​

There’s dancing that goes with it most of the time, ideally, might I add. The film isn’t about a couple being on stage, dancing for an audience, but you might wish it were so you’d get more of them moving together in this fashion.


Originally Carmen was an opera by French composer Georges Bizet. It was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy and this “based on” the novella “Carmen” by Prosper Mérimée. Other films have used parts of this novella, but watching this version makes that hard to believe. Being on the run may be the only justification for saying that about this narrative.


It starts in the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, near the border. Then the dance. Not by the couple I mentioned, Carmen (Melissa Barrera) and Aidan (Paul Mescal) but by Carmen’s mother, Zilah (Marina Tamayo). While she spins in a very playful but spirited way, she begins to stomp her feet in obvious distress. A warning about men is being told to her Carmen. She’s being told that men are all the same, incapable of tasting life and that they have sand running through their veins, not blood. Coldly, Carmen’s mother is shot dead. Carmen runs.


In this short period of time, you’re already wowed by how sublime the cinematography by Jörg Widmer (The Tree of Life) is. He captures every hue needed to pull out the world Carmen is now alone in, leaving us in fear but appreciating that this young soul isn’t the one lying in a grave. Then editor Dany Cooper helps us experience every moment of Carmen’s life with her. Not a good life.


Being on the border, she wants to cross into America and live her best life. What we get now are dream sequences that confuse but exhilarate at the same time, especially after she meets a border agent named Aidan. He has PTSD and feels for people, so he does the unthinkable to let her and her friends escape a soulless border agent, Mike, who takes his job seriously enough to murder if that’s what’s needed. The character of Mike has a line that has bothered me ever since it was said by actor Benedict Hardie. Aidan wants to know how he talks to the Hispanics he’s picking up if he doesn’t speak Spanish. He asks Aidan if he speaks deer. That’s a chilling response but necessary to tell the tragedy of what Carmen and people like her endure.


Aidan gets her across. He sees and becomes what he never had before. Having been at war, Aidan is haunted by what he saw and did then. He notices what he has largely ignored, which is that people aren’t treated well, primarily because of the color of their skin. During this time, he and Carmen are falling in love. This love story will have you fighting for them to stay together. But how it’s presented makes you utterly uncertain of their fate. It has some very bizarre moments, but let them go and watch the abstract imagery Benjamin Millepied and his team of experts delivers you and other moviegoers to find… something new to applaud while you applaud the acting that goes with it.


Director: Benjamin Millepied
Writer: Loïc Barrere, Alexander Dinelaris, Lisa Loomer, Prosper Mérimée, Alexander Dinelaris
Starring: Melissa Barrera, Paul Mescal, Rossy de Palma, THE DOC

Rating: R (Language|Some Violence|Nudity)
Runtime: 1h 56m
Genre: Drama, Musical

Original Score by: Nicholas Britell

Producer: Rosemary Blight, Dimitri Rassam, Mimi Valdés

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics


Rating contributor: ShariK.Green tmc
I'm the Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager for I write, direct and produce short films with my production company, Good Stew Productions. Though it's difficult to answer this question when asked, I'd say my favorite movie is “The Big Chill.” I enjoy photography, poetry, and hiking and I adore animals, especially elephants. I live in Arizona and feel it's an outstanding and inspirational place to live.

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