7.6/10
8,472
39 user 19 critic

The Eighth Day (1996)

Le huitième jour (original title)
An unusual and wonderful friendship develops between a busy but unhappy salesman and a resident of a mental asylum.

Director:

Jaco Van Dormael
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Auteuil ... Harry
Pascal Duquenne ... Georges
Miou-Miou ... Julie
Henri Garcin Henri Garcin ... Le directeur de la banque
Isabelle Sadoyan Isabelle Sadoyan ... la mère de Georges
Michele Maes Michele Maes ... Nathalie (as Michèle Maes)
Fabienne Loriaux Fabienne Loriaux ... la soeur de Georges - Fabienne
Alice van Dormael Alice van Dormael ... Alice
Juliette Van Dormael ... Juliette
Marie-Pierre Meinzel Marie-Pierre Meinzel ... La vendeuse du magasin du chaussures
Sabrina Leurquin Sabrina Leurquin ... La serveuse du snack
Laszlo Harmati Laszlo Harmati ... Luis Mariano
Alain Bougnet Alain Bougnet
Magali Cote Magali Cote
Jean Désert Jean Désert
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Storyline

Georges has Down's syndrome, living at a mental-institution. Harry is a busy businessman, giving lectures for young aspiring salesmen. He is successful in his business life, but his social life is a disaster since his wife left him and took their two children with her. This weekend his children came by train to meet him, but Harry, working as always, forgot to pick them up. Neither his wife nor his children want to see him again and he is driving around on the country roads, anguished and angry. He almost runs over Georges, on the run from the institution since everybody else went home with their parents except him, whose mother is dead. Harry tries to get rid of Georges but he won't leave his new friend. Eventually a special friendship forms between the two of them, a friendship which makes Harry a different person. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Belgium | France | UK

Language:

French

Release Date:

7 March 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Eighth Day See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$328,452
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Pascal Duquenne and Daniel Auteuil tied for the Best Actor Award at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival for their roles in this film. This was the first time such an event had happened. See more »

Quotes

[lying on the grass in the sun]
Harry: We should get going.
Georges: Just one more minute.
Harry: Okay.
[they lie down for a minute more]
Harry: [looks at his watch] Okay, it's over.
Georges: A nice minute, for us.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pumpkin (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Jesus He Knows Me
Written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford (as Michael Rutherford)
Performed by Genesis
See more »

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User Reviews

The Mystery of the 8th Day
11 April 2013 | by ChrysanthepopSee all my reviews

With 'Le Huitième Jour' director Jaco van Dormael tells us a moving tale of two complete strangers (who couldn't be more different from each other), whose paths cross as they travel opposite directions. After this odd encounter, together, both take turns heading towards each other's destinations but with heartbreaking results. However, this journey allows them to find something they didn't know they were looking for.

Let's get the flaws out of the way: Certain scenes may feel a little dramatic but it still remains within the tone of the film, never looking out of place. Even though Harry and Georges are the primary focus of the film, some of the important supporting characters are poorly developed, especially Georges's hating sister and Miou Miou's Julie.

But those minuses aside, is 'Le Huitième Jour' a road movie (the landscapes are dazzling)? Is it a study of two characters? Is it a 'buddy' movie (certainly not the typical Hollywood kind)? Is it a dramedy?

It's poetry. The film, in a way, moves from one genre to another but it flows beautifully. The balance in humour, and intensity is first rate. The jokes work well and the timing is just right. I did find the ending to be a tad too dramatic.

What Georges shows the viewer is that, while people desire similarities, it is our differences that make us unique. Yet, that is the very reason why Georges is rejected by the 'real world'. What Harry further shows is that none of these supposed similarities that people look for in each other matters because acceptance, respect, being open to possibilities and being true to oneself are what will bring the greater joy.

'Le Huitième Jour' is stunningly filmed and wonderfully acted. Pascal Duquenne and Daniel Auteuil are superb. Duquenne delivers a very natural performance and Auteuil is terrifically restrained. They are well supported by Isabelle Sadoyan, Michele Maes and the two actors who play Harry's daughter.

'Le Huitième Jour' engages you right from the start. It's funny, intense, enlightening and reaches straight for the heart.


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