Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
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  1. Although it's interesting and well-performed, East-West never locates its crux: It's all over the map.
  2. 75
    One of the unique virtues of the cinema is its ability to bring history to life with engrossing detail and gripping immediacy; East-West does this.
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Isn't always easy to sit through, but it repays patience. It's an honorable film, and it earns its undertow of poignancy derived from.
  4. Picks up steam from the ominous opening scene and ends as a quietly suspenseful thriller.
  5. 40
    Stodgy storytelling and a hyperbolic score reduce their experiences to melodrama.
  6. 63
    The movie as a whole lacks the conviction of a real story. It is more like a lush morality play, too leisurely in its storytelling, too sure of its morality.
  7. Has great themes and great actors.
  8. Wargnier chooses a sweeping title and a sweeping topic, then turns everything into half-baked melodrama, heavy on over-the-top emotion but light on subtlety and ideas.
  9. 40
    The film looks great, but Wargnier is so heavy-handed in his portrayal of postwar Russia that it casts suspicions on the film's reliability as history.
  10. Wargnier directs his French historical drama, a foreign film Oscar nominee, in a way that allows little perspective on the extent of Stalinist cruelty; even when terrible things happen, they do so sedately.
  11. 40
    Wargnier is also a lousy storyteller who seems not to understand how to shape a narrative.
  12. 50
    By the time the movie ends, having traversed numerous plot twists and character revelations, the viewer is emotionally drained in a bittersweet sort of way.
  13. Takes the most somber of predicaments, and makes it involving, romantic and ultimately intensely suspenseful.
  14. 60
    Packed with melodrama, and often it works in the passionate, easy-to-watch manner of an old-fashioned "woman's film."
  15. Feels like an old-fashioned movie in the way it deals with bold sacrifices made in the name of love, while its setting and chary view of the era's political machinations mark it as distinctly modern.
  16. The movie that deserved to win the Oscar for foreign-language film, and one of the best movies ever made about life behind the Iron Curtain.
  17. With its fiery tone and fierce intensity, East-West offers a profile of a country suspended in fear as well as of one woman's indomitable passion for freedom.
  18. 40
    Director Regis Warginer ("Indochine") lets his film degenerate into a turgid melodrama.
  19. It is well-made in an old-fashioned way, and its straight-arrow lack of cynicism may be old- fashioned as well.
  20. A grand, old-fashioned movie of spies and Communist repression.
  21. Has the sensibility of a Hollywood "woman's picture" of the '40s -- the weepie saga of a married woman trapped in an untenable situation.
  22. Wargnier's sumptuous, moving new film, captures both the hope of the returning Russians and their brutal betrayal.
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    This complex, heartbreaking film recounts the brutal struggle of one couple to survive.
  24. 70
    It's Deneuve, in little more than a cameo, who commands your attention and doesn't release you until she's good and ready.
  25. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Too often caught between trying to be a sweeping period drama and intimate love story at the same time, with a script that's never fully satisfying on either count.
  26. 60
    Wargnier has assembled a stellar French and Russian cast, but all that talent can't overcome his heavy-handed screenplay.
  27. The two-hour film never feels a minute too long.

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