Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. Soldier's Daughter thrives less on Hollywood-style drama than on nuances of personality, details of everyday life, and emotions so commonplace that conventional movies rarely take the time to acknowledge them, much less explore them with loving care.
  2. The events of the movie are filament-thin and insubstantial but, like fine silk threads, they weave together a fabric of surpassing warmth and texture. [25 Sep 1998, Pg.N.63]
  3. 88
    The film's appeal is in the details. This is one of [Merchant-Ivory's] best films.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The movie grows on you, lingers in the mind and may pick up a cult. Take away Heat and Dust, Howards End and The Remains of the Day, and it's as satisfying as any movie the filmmaking team's ever made. [18 Sep 1998, Pg.03.E]
  5. 88
    Not only was I touched by the characters and engrossed by their story during the 120 minutes they were on screen, but I could have easily spent another hour or two with them.
  6. 80
    While the acting ensemble is crucial, it's not the only asset here.
  7. Somehow, against considerable obstacles, it has captured something true about families and friendship, creating a texture of believable emotions on screen.
  8. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The Merchant-Ivory attention to period detail often seems like the movie equivalent of good penmanship. But here it accrues a kind of ethical eloquence.
  9. Soldier's Daughter is at its best when alluding to the quasi- romantic attachments and undefined crushes that develop in small groups and keep the engines whirring. The inchoate longings go round and round, as subtly as befits the movie's rather smallish canvas. [18 Sep 1998, Pg.57]
  10. By now, fans of the studied loveliness of Merchant Ivory films savor that they aren't pat, slick or especially action-packed. A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries is a fine example -- themes percolate and evolve into poignancy.
  11. Reviewed by: Sandra Contreras
    James Ivory's direction is meandering in the best sense: Rarely obvious or predictable, he quietly builds a complex portrait of a intimate family.
  12. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    The filmmakers give new saga a freer, looser form than is usual, allowing a superlative ensemble to develop rich characterizations.
  13. Reviewed by: Jay Fielden
    What makes the movie memorable is the over-all excellence of the performers.
  14. The three parts add up to a rather lumpy narrative, and the characters are perceived through a kind of affectionate recollection that tends to idealize them, but they're so beautifully realized that they linger like cherished friends.
  15. If the movie is essentially a study of a loving family, A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries is hampered by extraneous scenes that are simply self-indulgent on the director's part.
  16. Reviewed by: Giala Murray
    Not exactly ground-breaking, but an engaging story prettily told.
  17. A major weakness of A Soldier's Daughter is that it has no real plot.
  18. Freed from the demands of adapting an established and complex literary piece, the filmmakers seem to have relaxed - and so can their audience.
  19. The story's accumulation of scattered impressions is exactly what bedevils the film's overall impact. The story lacks focus, sustained development, and direction.
  20. A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries is suffused with a rarefied emotional glow, and that's something contemporary audiences may be almost desperate to respond to. Yet the movie is also tentative, rambling, and maddeningly shapeless.
  21. In fact even the film's most dramatic moments are presented with decorousness bordering on detachment.
  22. Reviewed by: David Denby
    This is a wan, shapeless, and amazingly conventional piece of work .
  23. Reviewed by: Joshua Klein
    With the development of most characters truncated in order to concentrate on Sobieski (who looks eerily like a young Helen Hunt), the film proves pretty dissatisfying.

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