Both a masterpiece and a holy hell: Watching it, you feel you're being punished for a crime you didn't commit. Which puts you, come to think of it, in the same frame of mind as those poor Magdalene girls.
Even when you're able to guess the next calamity, it's still a shock in its ejaculatory intensity. The Farrellys never throw in the towel. Pretentious Sundance independents could learn a lot from such pistols.
A big, overlong, and rather unwieldy piece of storytelling, but the story it has to tell is so vital that it cuts through all the dramaturgical muddiness. It's a terrific muckraking melodrama--it will get people fuming.
It's the way Cuarón demonstrates how a simple teen comedy can suddenly blossom into a study of sexual mores, a Mexican political allegory, a song of lamentation -- and still be breezy and funny and sexy as hell.