Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Jan Kounen, the maker of Darshan, is a French director with flashy credentials, including music videos, commercials, horror shorts, violent gangster movies ("Dobermann") and offbeat westerns ("Blueberry").
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    75
    Sebastien Pentecouteau's startlingly beautiful cinematography lends the film a dreamlike quality and perfectly suits Kounen's mystical subject matter.
  3. Movies about gurus generally fail to capture the charisma of their subjects. French director Jan Kounen's documentary on Amma, India's hugging saint, who allegedly has given restorative embraces to more than 45 million supplicants, is no exception.
  4. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    70
    Docu's pace will be a little too meditative for many, but the rigorous, sinewy lensing will have Hypnotic power on those so inclined.
  5. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    60
    Filling our heads with pretty pictures and not much else, Darshan: The Embrace is likely to leave audiences enchanted but unenlightened.
  6. 50
    When it comes to magnetism, the Rolling Stones have nothing on Amma, the Indian mahatma ("spiritual guide") chronicled in Jan Kounen's handsomely photographed but one-sided documentary.
  7. A loving if fawning documentary.
  8. 50
    According to several sojourners who speak in the film, Amma is the embodiment of love. And according to her website, it's her religion, too.
  9. Reviewed by: Tim Grierson
    50
    Unless you're already a true believer, Amma comes across in Darshan as a perfect angel, a frustrating enigma and a rather dull cinematic subject.
  10. While Amma's teachings of love, inner peace and Karma, or action, resonate in the film -- obviously, Amma is a woman called to God -- her background remains pretty much a mystery. Less National Geographic and more personal history would have added a dimension to "Darshan."
  11. Scenes of pageantry and mass prayer show that thousands respond to her charisma, but Kounen gives little insight why; aside from Amma's belief that creator and creation are one, her religious tenets remain a mystery.
  12. 40
    Werner Herzog's "Wheel of Time" was, in a sense, the Buddhist equivalent of this film, as well as a more illuminating look at the power and transience of ritual.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Oct 22, 2011
    2
    I wondered what was being said, I wondered why no subtitles. Maybe Netflixs has a dutch copy. The cinematography was very fine. But I foundI wondered what was being said, I wondered why no subtitles. Maybe Netflixs has a dutch copy. The cinematography was very fine. But I found the documentary boring, uninvolving, and confusing. Does India really look that good? I admit I am ot a devotee of the subject. Full Review »
  2. EllenJ.
    Dec 13, 2006
    7
    Not a great documentary, but a "must see" for anyone who has been hugged by Ammachi and would like to imagine what it would be like to be in Not a great documentary, but a "must see" for anyone who has been hugged by Ammachi and would like to imagine what it would be like to be in India with her. So much more could be have been said about the inner life of her devotees and their experiences with her. Full Review »
  3. RonM.
    Aug 3, 2006
    10
    This film is simply amazing! I would take any number of friends to view it. It's a piece of heaven on earth! Thank you!