Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. 88
    If Fugitive Pieces has a message, it is that life can heal us, if we allow it.
  2. 50
    The film has lofty goals, but comes across as leaden and pretentious. It's a character study in which the lead participant is the least interesting person in the movie.
  3. 50
    As plodding and pretentious as it is ambitious.
  4. 63
    The movie does offer intriguing, perceptive glimpses of the everyday difficulties of being both a survivor and the child of a survivor.
  5. The romanticized image of the tortured artist - never mind how warranted his or her angst might be - is the stuff of stereotype unless it's leavened with humor, or limned in art. In Fugitive Pieces, neither element appears in sufficient quantity.
  6. 50
    Tasteful, unremarkable art-house fare, rescued from complete irrelevance by Stephen Dillane's bottled-up performance as a writer scarred by the Holocaust.
  7. The strengths of Fugitive Pieces are its fluidity and subtlety. Emotional repression may be one of the most difficult conditions to portray honestly, and Dillane's performance of Jakob is a study in the art of creating sympathy by not asking for it.
  8. Though much of the film's power is tamped down by the passive storytelling style, Dillane's performance as the adult Jakob is compelling, and Ayelet Zurer is beguiling as Jakob's late-in-life soul mate.
  9. Dillane gives such a layered, detailed, utterly convincing performance as a man struggling with an inescapable and suffocating burden of guilt that he quickly makes us forget that he's too old for the part.
  10. For a tale spiked with so much torment, Fugitive Pieces feels remarkably soothing.
  11. Fugitive Pieces has a sharp, devastating story to tell.
  12. 67
    In many ways, Fugitive Pieces is a beautiful film. But it's a bit TOO beautiful.
  13. Everyone in the movie, from Dillane to (especially) Serbedzija down to the child actor Robbie Kay (as young Beer), is fabulous, and Podeswa has an ability to distill history into a few powerful images. The movie, however, is circular in structure and keeps reiterating points it has already made. For some, it will be a long sit.
  14. 75
    Made with an unerring visual dazzle -- its dark corners are shadowy, deep and melancholy, its brilliant seascapes the sparkling embodiment of why we must all find a reason to carry on.
  15. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    The cool hand of Canadian writer-director Jeremy Podeswa proves a disappointing match for Fugitive Pieces, a generally dull and unmemorable adaptation of Anne Michaels' extraordinary prose-poetry novel.
  16. A subtly rich performance by Dillane and a fine supporting cast make this Holocaust drama worth seeing, even if you don't think you can bear another one.
  17. Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    The performances are often more compelling than the movie's sometimes static storytelling.
  18. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Hopscotching time on film is never easy, but Canadian writer-director Jeremy Podeswa handles it with skill and care in Fugitive Pieces, his lovely, absorbing adaptation of Anne Michaels' lauded novel about a circumspect writer haunted by his traumatic past.
  19. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Fugitive Pieces is a cerebral excavation into history, written in lush cadences meant to be read or recited. It may be unfilmable, and in pursuit of sensitivity, Canadian writer-director Jeremy Podeswa hollows out the novel's urgency in favor of a vaguely spiritual morbidity.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. SheilaM
    May 10, 2008
    A poignant, compelling, hopeful film about a dark subject, The writer has done a fine job with a difficult toadapt book. I found the film A poignant, compelling, hopeful film about a dark subject, The writer has done a fine job with a difficult toadapt book. I found the film beautifullly written, filmeMd and acted. Full Review »
  2. DaveM
    May 7, 2008
    Heavy movie to watch, but even the small characters were perfect. A must see.