L'Atalante is a 1934 Jean Vigo film about a barge captain who marries a small-town girl and moves her onto the barge with him and his 2-man crew. I think this is a sweet, touching love story that avoids the sappiness and melodrama and cuteness and all other faults often found in love stories.
It's worth noting that the director was only 29 years old and died of TB before this -his only feature film- was released. Let's take a moment and mourn what we lost.
Slant Magazine says the film "stands as one of the most beautiful and rich celebrations of human connection in the history of cinema." Senses of Cinema says it is "a film that can barely contain its passion and anarchistic fervour." Empire Online says, "it has a genuinely weird feel, combining dingy realism with an almost magical eroticism. It has improved with age".
The New Yorker says, "It’s no exaggeration to call “L’Atalante” one of the greatest films in the history of cinema." Time Out gives it 5 out of 5 stars and says, "See it and swoon." It's listed in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
Roger Ebert lists it as a Great Movie and closes his review by saying, "This is the kind of movie you return to like a favorite song, remembering where you were and how it made you feel, and how its feet smelled." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.