Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 25
  2. Negative: 10 out of 25
  1. (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.
  2. Greenaway's film is about making people's jaws drop.
  3. 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.
  4. 20
    Writer-director Peter Greenaway never uses narrative lightly...references to the act of filmmaking exhaust their impact pretty quickly.
  5. 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.
  6. Seethes with cruel lust and brainy fancy.
  7. This visually intricate fantasia combines his (Greenaway's) extraordinary cinematic imagination with a story and characters less compelling than those in his best works.
  8. It may be his (Greenaway's) breeziest and kindest-hearted effort to date.
  9. Keeps teasing you with intimations of the libidinous animal within.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Reviewed by: Marta Barber
    With its convoluted pretentiousness, heavy use of metaphors and obscure references to art, fails to maintain interest.
  14. 16
    Greenaway has hit a brick wall, and it's no fun to watch.
  15. More prettily photographed pretentious rubbish from the ridiculous Peter Greenaway.
  16. 8 1/2 Women is a collage-y, self-reflexive sort of film that is designed to shock but more often just annoys.
  17. 75
    Never dull visually, but it's certainly monomaniacal and heartless thematically.
  18. 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.
  19. A surreal comedy about sex that comes as close to charming as Greenaway ever gets.
  20. Its message is quite simple and all too familiar: when it comes to sex, all men are little boys.
  21. 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.
  22. 40
    Though his film is breathtakingly art-directed, Greenaway wallows in epater le bourgeois nastiness -- his inner naughty child could use a good paddling.
  23. 10
    The deeply ridiculous 8 1/2 Women could have been made only by a cranky dotard.
  24. Intentionally defies categorization and explication.

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