Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 25
  2. Negative: 10 out of 25
  1. 75
    One possible approach to 8 1/2 Women, I think, is to view it as a slowed-down, mannered, tongue-in-cheek silent comedy, skewed by Greenaway's anger and desire to manipulate.
  2. Keeps teasing you with intimations of the libidinous animal within.
  3. 40
    Though his film is breathtakingly art-directed, Greenaway wallows in epater le bourgeois nastiness -- his inner naughty child could use a good paddling.
  4. Its message is quite simple and all too familiar: when it comes to sex, all men are little boys.
  5. This visually intricate fantasia combines his (Greenaway's) extraordinary cinematic imagination with a story and characters less compelling than those in his best works.
  6. 8 1/2 Women is a collage-y, self-reflexive sort of film that is designed to shock but more often just annoys.
  7. Intentionally defies categorization and explication.
  8. (Greenaway) is often described as a director whose movies "are not for everyone." The obvious retort is that neither are the Three Stooges, but at least everyone understands them.
  9. A nod to Fellini--and that "half" turns out to be a typically dark Greenaway twist. Yet this film, one of Greenaway's most amusing and accessible, actually arrives at moments of tenderness, even love, fleeting though they may be.
  10. 50
    Some viewers may find this movie sexist or misogynist simply based on its premise, but it's a mistake to take Greenaway's symbolic narratives too literally.
  11. 75
    Never dull visually, but it's certainly monomaniacal and heartless thematically.
  12. Seethes with cruel lust and brainy fancy.
  13. 16
    Greenaway has hit a brick wall, and it's no fun to watch.
  14. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    The problem with 8 1/2 Women isn't that what you see is what you get; it's that what you see is all you get.
  15. Greenaway's film is about making people's jaws drop.
  16. More prettily photographed pretentious rubbish from the ridiculous Peter Greenaway.
  17. 20
    Writer-director Peter Greenaway never uses narrative lightly...references to the act of filmmaking exhaust their impact pretty quickly.
  18. It may be his (Greenaway's) breeziest and kindest-hearted effort to date.
  19. 10
    The deeply ridiculous 8 1/2 Women could have been made only by a cranky dotard.
  20. 0
    Inert, unfunny, and not even interesting as a dirty movie, 8 1/2 Women could well rank as one of the worst films of the year.
  21. A surreal comedy about sex that comes as close to charming as Greenaway ever gets.
  22. 50
    As powerfully as the film lingers in the mind, one can't help wishing he were led just a bit more by his heart.
  23. 20
    This anti-narrative screwball comedy, a sort of police-drama re-enactment of Fellini's themes in "8 1/2," keeps most of the jokes off-screen.
  24. Reviewed by: Marta Barber
    With its convoluted pretentiousness, heavy use of metaphors and obscure references to art, fails to maintain interest.

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