Watch Welcome

  • NR
  • 2009
  • 1 hr 50 min
  • 7.5  (7,612)
  • 61

Welcome is a heart-wrenching drama film from 2009 that depicts a poignant story of two individuals whose lives intersect in the context of the ongoing refugee crisis in Calais, France. Directed by Philippe Lioret, the film presents an emotional journey of two men with contrasting backgrounds, who both seek to find meaning and purpose in their lives.

The story of Welcome revolves around the character of Bilal (Firat Ayverdi), a Kurdish teenager who has traveled all the way from Iraq to Calais, hoping to unite with his girlfriend Mina (Derya Ayverdi), who has already made it across to the UK. Despite multiple attempts, Bilal's efforts to cross the English Channel remain thwarted, and he finds himself stranded in Calais, a city that has become a hotbed of tensions between local residents and immigrants.

It is here where he meets Simon (Vincent Lindon), a middle-aged swimming instructor who has recently separated from his wife and is struggling to find a sense of purpose in his life. Upon discovering Bilal's plight, Simon takes him under his wing, offering him food, shelter, and even swimming lessons, with the hope that he can help Bilal train for the dangerous Channel crossing.

As their relationship grows, Simon begins to understand the struggles that Bilal has faced and sees firsthand the harsh realities of life as a refugee. He witnesses both the physical danger that refugees face as they attempt to cross the Channel, but also the mental and emotional trauma that they endure in their journey toward a better life. Through Bilal's eyes, Simon sees the injustices and cruelty of a society that harbors bigotry against immigrants, and he is moved to do whatever he can to help.

The film is a powerful exploration of the refugee experience and the struggles that immigrants face as they attempt to resettle into new societies. It tackles themes of xenophobia, racism, and the humanity of those who seek refuge in countries that are often unwelcoming. Furthermore, Welcome presents an intimate portrayal of the pain and suffering that refugees experience at the hands of a society that refuses to accept them, making it difficult to watch at times.

Vincent Lindon's portrayal of Simon is undeniably impressive. His ability to convey Simon's emotional journey is what makes the movie such a captivating and emotionally engaging experience. He brings his character to life, capturing the nuances of Simon's personality - his frustrations, his anger, his kindness, and his compassion - all in a single performance. Meanwhile, Firat Ayverdi proves to be a revelation, delivering a touching portrayal of a young man's hopes and dreams, and the perseverance it takes to hold on to them in the face of insurmountable obstacles.

One of the strengths of the movie is how it shows the humanity in people who are often reduced to caricatures in the media. Lioret focuses on the stories of people, rather than the politics, which is deeply empathetic and emotionally effective in conveying the suffering experienced by people who are struggling to find their place in society. The film also highlights the messages of hope, resilience, and love. Although Welcome is often heartbreaking and moving, it is also deeply compassionate and humanistic, showing how people's lives can transform when they see the best in others.

In conclusion, Welcome is an outstanding film that offers a rare and unvarnished look at the refugee experience. The movie is an invitation to look deeper into the complex lives of people who are often forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in new and strange lands. It is a reminder of the redemptive power of love and the duty that all people have to one another. With a stirring portrayal of the characters and story, Welcome is an emotional and compelling journey that is not to be missed.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 50 min
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (7,612)
  • Metascore