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48

Mixed or average reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: It is 1926, and Harry Houdini is the most famous performer in the world. Audiences flock to watch him perform his amazing stunts. But the man behind the legend is a tortured soul, having been unable to hear his mother’s dying words. He offers a $10,000 reward to anyone who can contact hisIt is 1926, and Harry Houdini is the most famous performer in the world. Audiences flock to watch him perform his amazing stunts. But the man behind the legend is a tortured soul, having been unable to hear his mother’s dying words. He offers a $10,000 reward to anyone who can contact his mother from beyond the grave. When a beautiful but deceptive psychic, Mary McGregor, and her sidekick daughter, Benji, take the challenge, Harry is initially skeptical, but is soon captivated by her charms. The more time he spends with the mysterious woman, the more attracted he is, and what began as a con soon evolves into a passionate and complicated love affair, as Houdini attempts the most dangerous stunt of his career. (Myriad Pictures) Collapse
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. 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.
  5. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    40
    A handsome contraption that's never very engaging, let alone convincing.
  6. 38
    The ingredients are there for a cute con game, but instead the movie turns out to be a mushy melodrama.
  7. 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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