The Young Lieutenant

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The Young Lieutenant
Petit lieutenant.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Xavier Beauvois
Produced by Pascal Caucheteux
Written by Xavier Beauvois
Guillaume Bréaud
Jean-Eric Troubat
Cédric Anger
Starring Jalil Lespert
Nathalie Baye
Antoine Chappey
Jacques Perrin
Cinematography Caroline Champetier
Edited by Martine Giordano
Distributed by Mars Distribution
Release date
  • 31 August 2005 (2005-08-31) (Venice)
  • 16 November 2005 (2005-11-16) (France)
Running time
110 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget €4.4 million[1]
Box office $4 million[1]

The Young Lieutenant (French: Le Petit Lieutenant) is a 2005 French crime drama film directed by Xavier Beauvois.


The title character is Antoine Derouere, a young man from the provinces who has just graduated from the police academy. Antoine joins the force in Paris and is assigned to the city's busiest precinct.

Antoine's introduction to police work is rather unexciting. The audience sees him deal with an unruly drunk and take a report from a robbery victim. One day, though, Antoine's unit receives a report that a homeless man's body has been found in the Seine. Not long after, a university professor almost meets the same fate.

As the investigation of the river murder gathers momentum, Antoine's colleagues note a hint of romantic interest in Antoine by their unit commander, Caroline Vaudieu. Antoine laughs off the idea, citing his own lovely (and younger) wife, a schoolteacher who remained in their rural French village.

On one visit home, Antoine tells his father about watching a coroner conduct an autopsy. Antoine says that, as he watched the coroner lay out the victim's internal organs, he thought of Mozart: "How can all that stuff compose music?"

Caroline, meanwhile, is a recovering alcoholic who uses the excitement of the Seine murder investigation as a substitute for the high from liquor.


Critical response[edit]

The Young Lieutenant received generally positive reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 79%, based on 53 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's consensus reads, "A gritty, languidly paced crime drama that blends old-fashioned ambiance with modern cynicism".[2] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 71, based on 19 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • César Awards (France)
    • Won: Best Actress – Leading Role (Nathalie Baye)
    • Nominated: Best Actor – Supporting Role (Roschdy Zem)
    • Nominated: Best Director
    • Nominated: Best Film
    • Nominated: Best Writing (Xavier Beauvois, Guillaume Bréaud and Jean-Eric Troubat)
  • European Film Awards
    • Nominated: Best Actress – Leading Role (Nathalie Baye)
  • Venice Film Festival (Italy)
    • Won: Label Europa Cinemas (Xavier Beauvois)


  1. ^ a b "Le Petit lieutenant". JP's Box-Office. 
  2. ^ "Le Petit Lieutenant (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  3. ^ "Le petit lieutenant". Metacritic. 

External links[edit]