• Release Date: Dec 10, 2004
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 4 out of 10
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  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 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. Collapse
  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 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. Expand
  4. Matthew
    Jun 22, 2005
    10
    It is a rare film that asks questions of those who watch it, and this is one of those films. What happens when our civilization's enlightened discourse falls short of the mark? Oliveira does not propose an answer, in its place, he gives an explosion. The explosion at the end recontextualizes everything that has come before it: the long (some might say boring) tableaux become It is a rare film that asks questions of those who watch it, and this is one of those films. What happens when our civilization's enlightened discourse falls short of the mark? Oliveira does not propose an answer, in its place, he gives an explosion. The explosion at the end recontextualizes everything that has come before it: the long (some might say boring) tableaux become beautiful because they are revealed as ephemeral; the whimsical (some might say pointless) song and conversations become heartfelt because, after the explosion, human hearts (and the rest of the body) have disintegrated. This is not a thinking man's film; it is for people who have faith in their own emotions. Expand
  5. seth
    Apr 11, 2005
    10
    Very solid film, I enjoyed every last minute. It worked on the level of travelogue, if you're interested in european culture and want to tag along for an interesting trip it's fun in that way. It's ultimately about much more and this greater level of depth is why the movie's a 10 and not just a fun little trifle.
  6. [Anonymous]
    Feb 27, 2005
    3
    I recommend reading Ken Fox's review. This film dispenses with any real narrative or character revelation. It's more a series of extended lectures, with a travelogue wrapped around them. The central, long dinner scene combining the three belles dames with Malkovitch is embarrassingly foolish -- like enduring a long dinner with your weird uncle. It's wonderful that de I recommend reading Ken Fox's review. This film dispenses with any real narrative or character revelation. It's more a series of extended lectures, with a travelogue wrapped around them. The central, long dinner scene combining the three belles dames with Malkovitch is embarrassingly foolish -- like enduring a long dinner with your weird uncle. It's wonderful that de Oliveira is still directing in his 90s. But too many critics have gushed over this particular film, reading in inspiration and mastery that just aren't there. Critics similarly gushed over David Lynch and minimalists like Tarkovsky, for the same reason: they interpreted absence of technique as a magisterial renunciation of technique. Sometimes a flat, uninspired, plotless film is just that. The final twist's exact development will give you something to think about, though. Its implicit symbolism suggests a knowing swipe at America's self-defeating foreign policy and declining world image. Expand
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. Initially this seems naive and archaic, but it conceals a Buñuelian stinger in its tail.
  2. 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.
  3. 70
    Still astonishingly vital at 96, the Portuguese maestro Manoel de Oliveira here takes a becalmed trip through stormy waters.