User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 54
  2. Negative: 5 out of 54
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  1. Lyn
    May 29, 2011
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I'm fond of talky movies like this -- and of Ben Kingsley -- but was distracted by the contrast between his timeworn hedonist and Penelope Cruz's earnest young beauty. You look from his countenance to hers and you think . . . "Um . . . really???" Also disliked the corny developments of the denouement. While all the performances were excellent, I did love the supporting work of Dennis Hopper and Patricia Clarkson. The professor's relationships with those characters actually were more interesting than his obsession with the student with the great face and bod. Expand
  2. Maurice
    Dec 7, 2009
    8
    Brilliant performances and enough memorable quotes and moments to stimulate conversation long after viewing. This is not a popcorn movie, it's a red wine movie, for those who care for the latter on occasion.
  3. ElizabethK
    Dec 5, 2009
    10
    What a sad and beautiful film set in pure simplicity. It's such an honest film. Excellent acting by both leads. Finally! A film not only worth seeing, but seeing again. It makes you think, cry, wonder, question who you are and your own life. Now I need to read the book!
  4. DFields
    Nov 9, 2009
    4
    For me, Ben Kingsley was not the best choice for this romantic lead. He seemed awkward, unsure of himself and even childish and immature at inappropriate times. Cruz was impressive, as was Clarkston, but I literally cringed at the love scenes. Furthermore, the catalyst scene where David no-shows to Consuela's event did not ring true and did not seem authentic to me. I never felt that For me, Ben Kingsley was not the best choice for this romantic lead. He seemed awkward, unsure of himself and even childish and immature at inappropriate times. Cruz was impressive, as was Clarkston, but I literally cringed at the love scenes. Furthermore, the catalyst scene where David no-shows to Consuela's event did not ring true and did not seem authentic to me. I never felt that he truly loved her, but rather was obsessed with the idea of her. Having her die at the end was heavy-handed and contrived. Expand
  5. MikeH
    Sep 14, 2009
    0
    Boring waste of time. Overrated.
  6. tdmac
    May 9, 2009
    6
    Eh. I don't know. Lacked something for me. The love and lives of intellectuals. I never reached a point where I felt any real compassion for the characters. They all seemed like an IDEA of people to me, not real multidimensional characters. Not a terrible movie...just a bit mediocre.
  7. Brianne
    Apr 30, 2009
    10
    A stunning film,I cried throughout,the acting is superb and the story really is so lovely yet very deep and emotional.I'm really wanting to go and read the book now.This film deserves way more advertisement then it got.
  8. CharlesS.
    Mar 25, 2009
    2
    Turned it off. Pretentious.
  9. JayH
    Mar 15, 2009
    5
    Very strong cast, everyone does a very good job. But I found the film slow and rather boring. I just never got into the film. The characters just weren't that appealing. The direction lacks spark.
  10. NoelT
    Jan 22, 2009
    8
    A beautiful reflection on life, love, mortality, relationships and yes, sex. At first I feared it was just another "Lolita" story (older man/ much younger girl) but I was so wrong. It is a story of passion, love, trust, honesty, fear, regret, loss and discovery. A movie for a mature viewer, maybe someone who has experienced some of the trials of living. Gimmicky movie? I think not!
  11. ThomasM.
    Dec 23, 2008
    10
    A great film about the most basic fear most of us carry deep within--the feeling that we are not worthy of love. Contains one of Sir Ben's greatest performances with stunning cineamatography. A sad, honest, and beautiful film.
  12. Albert
    Oct 11, 2008
    8
    Penelope Cruz and Patricia Clarkson, they are the best of this movie. But it isn't the best movie by Isabel Coixet.
  13. MarcyS.
    Sep 20, 2008
    10
    This is an excellent movie...great acting, directing, producing, etc. We were shocked that we had not heard more about it before seeing it.
  14. LimaV.
    Sep 9, 2008
    1
    One of the most gimmicky movies I have ever seen; a stroke, breast cancer, AND a son who hates his father. Love, marriage, sex: all themes explored like they have been for the past four decades in a way that reeked mold and lacked anything truly alive. Besides, the constant piano music weeping in the background was quite irritating.
  15. MaxL
    Sep 9, 2008
    7
    Performances are what made the movie watchable. Storywise, it's old and well-travelled already. Patricia Clarkson should be mentioned along Cruz and Kingsley as giving the movie life. Otherwise, it's a real downer as it goes on.
  16. LarryW.
    Sep 2, 2008
    9
    What a beautifully acted, photographed, edited, intelligently movie. A little heavy, but if you are a grown up you can't miss it. The acting alone is spectacular.
  17. HeidiB
    Aug 23, 2008
    9
    Loved this film. I rarely cry at movies but this one just hit me in a way that many don't. Penelope Cruz was fantastic.
  18. MargaretG.
    Aug 11, 2008
    10
    Powerful. Beautiful. Intense.
  19. AnnM.
    Aug 10, 2008
    8
    A good movie. Cruz's performance is the best of it. Nice for romantic people.
  20. ClaireM.
    Aug 9, 2008
    8
    Lovely film and terrific performances by Penelope Cruz and Ben Kingsley.
  21. JohnC.
    Aug 2, 2008
    9
    Excellent Penelope Cruz! Amazing film by one of my favorite filmmakers: Isabel Coixet.
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. Cruz's performance deserves to be seen widely, and it should place her again in line for prizes, but the story's pretensions and downbeat mood will not endear the film to audiences.
  2. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    70
    Sparse, low-budget drama, helmed by Spaniard Isabel Coixet, intelligently translates Roth's meditation on lust and mortality without soft-pedaling its narrator's brutally honest, unabashedly sexist views.
  3. A spare, melancholy film that is so far in spirit from its source, Philip Roth's "The Dying Animal."