Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14

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Critic Reviews

  1. 88
    Mehta has created a pair of memorable characters who are easy to empathize with, and who gratifyingly are never transformed from flesh-and-blood individuals into mere symbols.
  2. 80
    Writer-director Deepa Mehta fuses the soap-opera elements of her plot -- which reveals one sexual secret after another of the variously betrayed, selfish, and self-actualizing members of the two couples' New Delhi household--into profound drama.
  3. Washington Post
    Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    In filmmaker Mehta's deft hands, the outcome is handled with power and sensitivity. [22 Aug1 997, pg.N40]
  4. 75
    The two women are very beautiful, gentle and sad together, and the movie is all but stolen by Chowdhry, as the servant who lurks constantly in the background providing, with his very body language, a comic running commentary.
  5. The richness of characters make this movie shine. It's just that, somehow, a certain sense of fire is missing.
  6. The film lacks flow, unfolding in a rat-a-tat series of short, artfully lensed scenes -- individually nice but collectively jerky.
  7. Written and directed by Deepa Mehta, this glossy melodrama, mixing references to Indian mysticism and the epic poetry of the "Ramayana" with late-20th-century feminism, teeters unsteadily between sociology and soap opera.
  8. As a director, Mehta would do well to stop smothering her empathy in glibness (she uses the family's ancient mute grandmother as a sitcom prank), but her empathy pokes through nonetheless.
  9. For a film with such volatile subject matter, the performances are subdued and naturalistic. Fire burns with a rare flame.

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