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The Innocents (2016)

Les innocentes (original title)
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1945. Mathilde is a French Red Cross doctor working on a mission to help the French survivors of the German camps. While she works in Poland, she is asked for help by a nun. In her convent, several nuns got pregnant.


Anne Fontaine


Sabrina B. Karine (scenario), Alice Vial (scenario) | 3 more credits »
3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Lou de Laâge ... Mathilde Beaulieu
Agata Buzek ... Maria
Agata Kulesza ... Mère Abesse
Vincent Macaigne ... Samuel
Joanna Kulig ... Irena
Eliza Rycembel ... Teresa
Katarzyna Dabrowska Katarzyna Dabrowska ... Anna
Anna Próchniak ... Zofia
Helena Sujecka ... Ludwika
Mira Maluszinska Mira Maluszinska ... Bibiana
Dorota Kuduk Dorota Kuduk ... Wanda
Klara Bielawka ... Joanna
Pascal Elso Pascal Elso ... Le colonel
Thomas Coumans Thomas Coumans ... Gaspard
Leon Latan-Paszek Leon Latan-Paszek ... Wladek


Poland, winter of 1945. Mathilde Beaulieu (Lou de Lâage) is a young intern working with a branch of the French Red Cross. They are on a mission to find, treat and repatriate French survivors of the German camps. One day, a Polish nun arrives in the hospital. In very poor French, she begs Mathilde to come to her convent. Mathilde life and beliefs change when she discovers the advanced state of pregnancy that affect several of the Sisters of the convent just outside the hospital where she performs.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Powerful and moving. Examines every moral crevice of an unthinkable scenario. See more »


Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including sexual assault, and for some bloody images and brief suggestive content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



France | Poland


French | Polish | Russian

Release Date:

10 February 2016 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Innocents See more »


Box Office


€6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$127,112, 8 July 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,063,893, 2 October 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director Anne Fontaine went on two retreats in Benedictine communities in preparation for the film, first as an observer and second as a novice. See more »


Maria: Dear Mathilde, the dark clouds have been hunted. We have here the sun in the sky. And you are in our hearts. Other wars may come. Other dangers threaten us, it will soon be difficult to write to us. But whatever our fate is, I feel ready to face it. I know, even if it makes you laugh, God sent you. Let him accompany you through the trials and that joy never misses you. Yours, Maria.
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Vox clara ecce intonat
Written by Hildegard von Bingen
Performed by Elsa Papatanasios, Emmanuelle Huteau, Marie George Monet and Nathalie Liess
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User Reviews

When the house of peace was disturbed!
14 July 2017 | by Reno-RanganSee all my reviews

From the director Anne Fontaine. Like any of her works, this is another top class women oriented film. But it was partially based on the incredible true story. Partial means, no one knows what was the actual event. The director and her writers inspired by the diary the French doctor who worked for Red Cross in Poland at the end of the World War II, who wrote down her experience on it. So, with the small-small facts the story was built on for the film. Well done job by the cast and crew.

Whenever you hear the word/abbreviation 'WWII', it always bound with nazi Germans. Since this tale takes place just after the war, when the Soviet took over the Poland from them, it is set to reveal one of the extremely hidden secrets. Just imagine how secret it is, like you have read many books and have seen many films regarding the WWII, but you have never heard about this, until now. It is a heart rending tale, but the thing is everything's about the aftermath, how they handled their state of condition.

Mathilde, the French doctor is fetched by a nun from the nearby convent is shocked when she reached there to see most of them are in the final stage of their pregnancy. They were sexually abused by the Soviet soldiers, but now she as to keep it quiet as requested by the mother superior. She's being an atheist and to whom she's treating, the believers, is exactly the opposite kind. But not just her, the nuns as well put aside their differences to overcome their situation.

❝For us nuns, the end of the war does not mean the end of fear.❞

It's right on the coldest winter, does not tell about the original violence, but there's still a few incidents about the army atrocities, how they treated innocent nuns, even the Red Cross members. But remember nothing was the actual depiction. It would have been even better if it was a documentary film. Doing some research and telling us the tale, reading exactly as what was written in the diary. But the film was not bad, except the scene to scene, event to event it was very slow to move, except right on the point.

The story has a twist, but it was not like very powerful. It depends on how you would consider it. Because for me, I felt it was too cruel, hard to take on. The story about church people means, you would expect a gentle kind. Or even in such situation, as in this film, to react as much as possibly generously as what they're known for. But in the first place, it was no ones fault. They all fighting for the same reason, especially keeping the outside world in mind, each one reacted differently. So it is understandable, but not all the acts were respectable.

As the director said in her interview, this is a period film, but pretty much the same in the contemporary world where war is on. The violence against the innocent women. So it is a debatable topic. And if it was directed by some male filmmaker, he might have risked with the violences in the flashback scenes to bring more depth in the narration. The present film is kind of compromises on that, but still not easy to watch everything it shows. Particularly for the families. Great performances by all. One of the best films on this theme and of the year. The film is not to be ignored. Despite not about the war, but just like 'Under Sandet', about the following event.


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