Metascore
48

Mixed or average reviews - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 8
  2. Negative: 2 out of 8
  1. 80
    This won't be remembered as one of the prodigiously talented Armstrong's great films (My Brilliant Career, High Tide, Little Women), but it's still 90 percent better than everything else out there.
  2. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    70
    Far more diverting and well crafted than its promotion-free release campaign might suggest. Then again, for a film largely based on the notion that "nothing is what it seems," such lowered expectations may actually work in its favor.
  3. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    60
    A minor but satisfying entry in the "what if" historical-fantasy genre.
  4. What it lacks is a villain, and magic without danger is simply a parlor trick, which is what the film becomes.
  5. Though all the elements are in place, there's not much magic to be found in Death Defying Acts, an intermittently entertaining but surprisingly modest romance from Gillian Armstrong.
  6. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    40
    A handsome contraption that's never very engaging, let alone convincing.
  7. 38
    The ingredients are there for a cute con game, but instead the movie turns out to be a mushy melodrama.
  8. Ms. Zeta-Jones is too elegant for the lowlife she's supposed to be, Ms. Ronan isn't endearing enough to be a ragamuffin, and, under Gillian Armstrong's direction, never for a minute do you believe they're mother and daughter.

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