Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    A brisk dramatic comedy that combines melodrama, humor and social critique in equal measure.
  2. Reviewed by: Jeff Beresford-Howe
    Caramel will likely be the Lebanese selection for Academy Award for “Best Foreign Film;” it’s inconceivable to me that it won’t win, but it’ll still be an injustice if it does. Caramel deserves to be in the categories with the big boys, so to speak, and whoever wins for Best Actress will be the second most deserving actress of 2007.
  3. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    An effective look at women's lives in a decidedly non-Hollywood setting.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    It may be a first film, but Labaki, employing a cast that is full of non-professional actresses, is a slick and knowing filmmaker. Her multiple plot lines are neatly braided and though her characters are conventionalized they are also charming and capable of surprising us.
  5. Labaki, who studied filmmaking in Lebanon and France, has a deft touch and nice instincts.
  6. Well-made and modestly enjoyable.
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Caramel is a sweeter and more believable version of "Steel Magnolias," Middle Eastern style.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Warmly shot (by Yves Sehnaoui) and comes with a strong, burbling soundtrack of Arab pop; it slides down easily and occasionally too easily.
  9. Reviewed by: Ryan Stewart
    The penetrating musical score, with its memorable shadings of emotional danger, the snappy and confident pacing and the emergence of 33-year-old Labaki as an international talent to watch all combine to make the film satisfying confection.
  10. A Lebanese variation on sweetly soapy dramas about Women Who Bond With Wet Hair.
  11. It would be easy to categorize the Lebanese women's picture Caramel as a Levantine combination of "Sex in the City" and "Beauty Shop," but it's actually a lot smarter, sharper and deeper than that.
  12. 75
    At its best, Caramel boasts a quietly engaging slice-of-slice casualness.
  13. In some ways, this glossily enjoyable movie is a lot closer to Hollywood than Beirut. At times, I thought I was watching some oddball Lebanese variant on "Barbershop."
  14. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Warm-hearted and accessible, it could benefit from good word of mouth in a limited art house run, particularly among audiences who like their rom-coms laced with foreign ingredients.
  15. 70
    It's a reassuring and delicious film, but in no sense an adventurous one.
  16. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Beauty-parlor romantic comedy has been done to death and beyond, but what Caramel lacks in originality is redeemed by its exuberant sensuality and astute commentary on the way Lebanese women sit uncomfortably in the crosshairs of their country’s clash between patriarchal tradition and Westernized modernity.
  17. It is sweet but not saccharine, an intimate film that doesn't stint on the desperation and anxiety that go along with the search for love.
  18. 70
    You are likely to remember this charming film, directed by Nadine Labaki, less for its gently comic, mildly melodramatic plot than for its friendly and inviting atmosphere.
  19. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Fresh from commercials and musicvids, novice helmer (and star) Nadine Labaki gathers five women around a Beirut beauty salon to address a range of issues facing Lebanese women -- from extramarital affairs to religious dictates. Low on calories and not especially original but always diverting.
  20. All but one of the actresses in Caramel are nonprofessionals -- not unprofessional, just untrained in the craft -- and they are, to a woman, enchanting. So is this Lebanese comedy.
  21. 70
    Smarter and more poignant than the average chick flick.
  22. The first-time feature director, co-writer, and star of Caramel, Labaki, can be forgiven the commonness of her dramatic setting because of the gracefulness of her storytelling and the strength of her vision.
  23. 63
    It's refreshing for a romantic comedy not to follow the formula by rote. I only wish I could be as enthusiastic about the amount of screen time accorded to certain characters who are more tedious than endearing.
  24. The most unexpected thing about the Lebanese film Caramel is its predictability.
  25. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    The film itself, while charming and gently funny, is entirely unexceptional.
  26. 50
    Caramel, by the way, gets its name from a blend of sugar, lemon juice and water that is boiled until it turns into a paste used to remove unwanted hair in the Middle East.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. MHD
    Mar 29, 2013
    An Amazing Movie Nadine Babaki Is a great director From Her First Movie She Give us an incredible Cast And A Lot Of True Stories about the Lebanese Girls. A stories That Any Girl Can Face it. It's A Sweet And Charming Movie. Full Review »
  2. Feb 13, 2011
    An astonishing director's debut, showing unrivalled artistic uniqueness. Combines social rationalism while embraces the cultural aspect of contemporary Lebanon milieu. A realistic and touching inside look to women bind in the traditional norms yet striving to stay modern. Exceptional soundtrack selection and original music. A mosaic of female feelings. An ambient so gracefully presented that you can almost see yourself living there. Full Review »