• Release Date: Dec 10, 2004
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. It's a great film that, sadly, may be ignored by all but the most dedicated, knowledgable filmgoers.
  2. A thoughtful, provocative effort that makes up for its narrative failings with its astute philosophical musings.
  3. As a nonagenarian, de Oliveira is the world's oldest working filmmaker, and still one of the best. This is a lovely, lively, timely treat for the eyes and mind.
  4. 75
    Moves along its tranquil way until about five minutes before the closing credits, when it turns into a terrorist thriller.
  5. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    75
    A potent and troubling meditation on the state of Western society.
  6. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    40
    This intermittently interesting symbolic tour through European history once again places ideas over aesthetics and technique.
  7. In both its intellectual reach and the elegant simplicity of its form, A Talking Picture bears resemblance to Andrei Sokurov's "Russian Ark."
  8. 80
    De Oliveira wraps A Talking Picture with a simultaneous introduction and farewell--a bold curtain-dropper that's either a bleak joke or an imprecisely controlled scream of rage.
  9. An honest title for a film that is almost entirely conversation. Yet its rich contemplative tone proves deceptive, for its director, Portugal's preeminent filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira, at 96, still knows how to pack a wallop.
  10. Initially this seems naive and archaic, but it conceals a Buñuelian stinger in its tail.
  11. 70
    Still astonishingly vital at 96, the Portuguese maestro Manoel de Oliveira here takes a becalmed trip through stormy waters.
  12. 60
    As a political statement it is either a cry of despair or a grim acknowledgment that in the endless cycles of history, civilization will always have its saboteurs.
  13. This is full of talk in the European art cinema tradition: intellectual conversations (often in multiple languages at once), gentile dinner conversation with an international all-star guest list.
  14. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    70
    A film destined to divide Manoel de Oliveira's fans but also to win him new ones, A Talking Picture is his simplest, most linear story in memory.
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. ChadS.
    Mar 27, 2006
    7
    The little girl is innocent, but her mother, an academic, should've known what ownership of that doll signified. The climax is unsettling, yet its full impact is somewhat undermined by the maverick, yet ungainly way the film is structured. "A Talking Picture" sputters when we pull away from the history professor and her daughter, and centers on the small party at the captain's table. There's an intellectual reason for this gambit, but it's exceedingly long and boring. On the other hand, the exceedingly long conversations in which the mother imparts knowledge to her inquisitive little girl, either through her or with help from a local, are also tedious, but the history lessons, while boring us, act as a form of parental love. Full Review »
  2. EduardR.
    Feb 20, 2006
    7
    I thought this was an excellent film with a stark and poignant commentary on the muslims' answer to our modern civilization.
  3. DanC.
    Jan 29, 2006
    0
    Horrible, pretentious, art-house fare. And this from a viewer who likes (good) art house movies and foreign films! This film reminds me of bad free jazz - comprehensible only to those who play (or direct) it, alienating to and dismissive of the audience, self-consciously "serious" without having a shred of entertainment or passion to it. I hated this film, all the more so becuase the premise has so much potential. But the terrible, stilted dialogue with John Malkovich and his three international ladies is at once excruciating, embarrassing, and boring. This is the kind of European film that is funded entirely by the government, makes no impact, has nothing to say, and represents the vanity of the director and little else. Zero stars. Full Review »