“Le Havre,” named for the industrial port city in northern France where it takes place, is a tale of lower-depths solidarity, a stylized and sentimental fairy tale about the way the world might be, grounded in a frank recognition of the way it is.
Mr. Kaurismaki’s deadpan style strips away some of the emotional intensity and dramatic suspense that might have accompanied Marcel and Idrissa’s adventures. “Le Havre” has something of the flavor of a children’s book, with a warm, quiet glow of reassurance in every frame. But its low-key manner is also part of the film’s message, which is that the kind of heroism Marcel displays is — or should be — entirely unremarkable.
- A.O. Scott, NY Times