The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Bizarre story, awesome art

Interpretational nature of the movie might be tough for some viewers

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Triplets of Belleville

Studio:  France 3 Cinema

Genre(s):  Animated/Musical

Release Date(s):  June 11, 2003 (France)/August 29, 2003 (UK)/November 26, 2003 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


The Triplets in their younger days

Madame Souza pushes her grandson Champion for success.  When she discovers he has a desire to ride, Souza begins training him for the Tour de France.  Champion and other cyclists are kidnapped by ruthless mafia agents during the race, Madame Souza and Champion’s portly dog Bruno are on the trail to bring him back.  Travelling to America, Madame Souza finds unlikely help from a trio of aging songstresses called the Triplets of Belleville.

Directed by Sylvain Chomet, The Triplets of Belleville (or Les Triplettes de Belleville or the United Kingdom title of Belleville Rendez-vous) was released to positive reviews and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature film (losing to Finding Nemo) and another nomination for Best Original Song (“Belleville Rendez-vous” which lost to “Into the West” from The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King).  The movie’s strange style and art has gained it a small cult following.


Champion gets his first bike

The Triplets of Belleville is a strange movie.  It is virtually a silent picture with a musical soundtrack.  There are portions of the film where there is dialogue, but it is unimportant to the plot and often in un-translated French (there are no subtitles).  The soundtrack of the movie is generally the dialogue of the movie…beeps, whistles, and the strange cooing songs of the Triplets.

The film’s story also is extremely bizarre.  The movie goes for a very surreal approach and I found myself often thinking that portions were going to turn out to be dreams.  The imagery is mostly played for laughs, and it does some cliché bending by often havening the expected event not occur (and example would be a speeding car crashing into a baby carriage…only to find itself crushed by the carriage).  As you watch the movie however, you find yourself buying into the weird surrealism.


Souza joins the triplets

The real saving grace for The Triplets of Belleville is the animation.  Like everything else about the film it is a strange somewhat frightening, unrealistic but very real at the same time.  The movie colors are very drab and I don’t have any desire to inhabit the world of the film, but it does create an almost noire look…not unlike a Tim Burton film or something even the likes of Sin City (and the obvious “New York” isn’t very flattering to Americans).

The Triplets of Belleville is a completely different and original film.  It isn’t for everyone, and even having finished it, I sat there wondering if I liked it or was just perplexed by it.  It is a movie that will stick with you regardless if you want it to or not.  There is now talk of a prequel to the film, so it will be interesting to see if the Triplets swing again!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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