In many ways, Michel Hazanavicius always had a tough job creating the follow-up to his Oscar conquering movie The Artist, though it's been 2 years since the silent movie dominated the field at the Hollywood and Highland Center Theatre in Los Angeles and the Frenchman has had plenty of time to plot his comeback.

Michel HazanaviciusMichel Hazanavicius [L] and his wife Berenice Bejo [R]

That return was marked this week at Cannes with The Search, a drama starring his wife Berenice Bejo and the talented Annette Bening

The film is inspired by Fred Zinnemann's 1948 drama about a boy separated from his mother after the liberation from a concentration camp. He receives help from an American G.I and tries to adjust, amidst Germany's ruins. Unfortunately, Hazanavicius's movie hasn't lived up to the splendour of the Oscar winning original.

More: Check out our Michel Hazanavicius and Berenice Bejo picture gallery

"Oscar winner Michel Hazanavicius makes a 180-degree shift from the effervescent charms of 'The Artist' with this grueling, lumbering and didactic war picture," said Justin Chang of Variety.

"The Search is a film with sincerity and commitment, and an earnest rejection of the horror of war. But sentimentality is at its core," said Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian.

"Michel Hazanavicius's straw man conception of the Russians as brutal homophobes is hammered away at with an emphasis that's questionable at best," wrote Budd Wilkins of Slant magazine.

"It can't help but feel slightly hubristic - and a sad waste of an opportunity for all involved," wrote Fionnuala Halligan of Screen International.

The Search is set for a U.S release later this year.