Before the Rains


Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19

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Critic Reviews

  1. Fatal culture clash, imperialist entitlement, forbidden passion between master and servant: the ingredients of the Indian director Santosh Sivan’s period piece Before the Rains may be awfully familiar, but the film lends them the force of tragedy.
  2. 63
    Tells the kind of story that would feel right at home in a silent film, and I suppose I mean that as a compliment.
  3. As scripted by Cathy Rabin and directed by Santosh Sivan, Before the Rains is never less than compelling, but never more than adequately realized.
  4. Sivan's film is well acted, beautifully photographed and oddly reassuring. It comes perilously close to suggesting that the injustices of colonial rule were the product of morally weak and misguided individuals rather than a system that empowered and enriched foreign interests at the expense of locals.
  5. 60
    Saddled with a predictable lushness--even a streak of blood on a dirty window is aestheticized until it looks like stained glass--and the sensuality here can crowd out the sense. Still, director Santosh Sivan imparts a vastness and a sense of wonder to the film, qualities reminiscent of a Thomas Cole painting.
  6. Reviewed by: Sam Toy
    While the characters sometimes feel roughly drawn, the casting is spot on.
  7. 50
    Producer Ismail Merchant died in 2005, but Merchant Ivory's stuffy tradition of quality lives on.
  8. It's more that the plot is incredibly predictable, the score is manipulative and the denouement completely unsatisfying. I can sit through cliched and even offensive (to a point). Just leave me with a little bit of mystery, an iota of suspense. That’s all I ask.
  9. 50
    Pity that the direction and narrative lack passion. If there's anything a story of interracial adultery needs, it's passion.
  10. The film's chief asset is its superbly atmospheric evocation of its period milieu.
  11. 50
    The one appealing aspect of Before The Rains is that there are no villains, just three characters who are driven first by shared desires, then by a natural impulse for self-preservation that brings them into conflict.
  12. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    Tale of an idealistic local caught in the crossfire of an illicit affair is too pat and pretty to connect with upscale audiences.
  13. A hodgepodge in the raj -- a predictable patchwork of forbidden romance, English arrogance, a gun given as a gift, suicide, corruption, deception, rising Indian nationalism and a short-lived chase through the jungle.
  14. 50
    The competent, at times suspenseful Before the Rains orbits us along a trajectory of innocence corrupted, domesticity infested by politics, and local tradition messed with by a powerful Westerner. Unfortunately, that trajectory feels routine.
  15. Sivan makes it all quite beautiful with verdant imagery and tastefully melodramatic direction, but at the cost of emotional and social ambiguities, not to mention living, breathing characters.
  16. Yes, the Empire may be crumbling, and the natives getting restless, but it's all happening with such lyrical loveliness - even the corpses look good. Consequently, when the rains in Before the Rains finally arrive, there's nothing to cleanse, no real dirt to wash away - not with history already so neatly packaged and polished to a dull shine.
  17. This period piece is exactly what you'd expect from a Merchant Ivory production: a tragic tale of love set against a backdrop of opulent scenery.
  18. 40
    As an extended metaphor on the perils of imperialism and the colonization of both land and heart, Before the Rains works just fine, but as a love story run afoul of the times, it's a soggy affair.
  19. 30
    The story sounds great, on paper: It''s got interracial romance and betrayal, political and ethnic violence, and a faint feminist undercurrent. But the resulting movie is so pretty and so utterly lifeless you can almost smell the embalming fluid coming off the screen.

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