"Truffaut was not yet thirty when he made this film, and decades later it's still astonishing that one so young could be so open-hearted, so willing to give everyone's motives and passions their due." John Powers in Criterion's Current on today's presentation in the Recyclage de luxe Online Film Festival: "But if Jules and Jim casts a mature eye on the limits of freedom (by the end, everything seems uncannily, but satisfyingly, preordained), it remains indelibly a young man's movie. It's a lyrical joyride propelled by leaping, elliptical edits, Georges Delerue's sublimely evocative score (one of the most memorable in film history), and Raoul Coutard's ecstatic photography, which helps underscore Truffaut's visual ideas about the great circle of life. At one point, Coutard's camera follows a young woman in a bar, does a 360-degree pan, and winds up watching Jules draw another girl's face on the surface of a round table. Almost every scene is shot through with such casual stylistic brilliance. Yet what audiences have always loved about this movie isn't simply its technical brio but its emotional warmth, its embrace of a world in which tragedy is forever playing hopscotch with farce. Jules and Jim is a movie that enters viewers' lives like a lover - a masterpiece you can really get a crush on."
"Jules et Jim seemed revolutionary at the time, but Truffaut's revolution, unlike Godard's, implied not so much the destruction of the past as a turning back to the humanism of Vigo, Renoir and the French cinema of the 30s." Derek Malcolm in the Guardian on one of his films of the 20th century: "The film's 'rondo of love' represents both a backward glance at the best of the past and a forward glance into the cinema's future. Its enthusiasm for what the cinema is and can be is what makes it so special."
"The film appears to us as like a specter, with a sensibility about cinematic language and sexual relations rarely seen today," writes Ed Gonzalez in the Voice.
"In 1955, Francois Truffaut discovered Jules and Jim among a stall's used books, and noticed that it was the first novel of a seventy-year-old." That would be Henri-Pierre Roché. In Bright Lights Film Journal, Daria Galateria writes that Truffaut "understood that the lightness and grace of that burning story could have come only after a very long decanting, one that went on for half a century, and from the magic of the 'telegraphic style of a poet who forgot his culture and lined up the words like a laconic, stolid peasant,' from whence the serial, limpid rhythm of the film. But at times Truffaut stopped a frame, transforming it into a photograph, to show that for all that vitality and spicy dash, we're seeing memories. As happens to Truffaut at other times, he begins a film believing that it will be amusing, 'and along the way I notice that only sadness can save it.'"