Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 25
  2. Negative: 3 out of 25
  1. 75
    Goya's Ghosts is like the sketchbook Goya might have made with a camera.
  2. There is so little emotionally or intellectually at stake in most popular entertainment that Goya's Ghosts, Milos Forman's challenging, compelling and wildly uneven film, shoots like a cannonball into the solar plexus. I can't remember when I've been so physically and mentally shattered.
  3. An oddly structured tale about Francisco Goya and the Spain that he lived and worked in.
  4. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Ghosts is one of Forman's most ambitious and daring films; would that all of its ambitions were fulfilled.
  5. 70
    Far from an embarrassment and a generally fine piece of work.
  6. 70
    Ambitious script is stranded between entertainment and intellectualism, leaving us with a magnificent folly, thoroughly watchable for its visuals but ultimately hollow.
  7. Though not nearly as perfect as Amadeus and The People vs. Larry Flynt (to cite two of Forman's previous semibiographical efforts), Goya's Ghosts uses the lives of artists and historical figures to show us the best and the worst of our human impulses.
  8. 63
    Captures the essence of the period -- an intriguing, backward era in Spain -- but without the emotional impact that such a film requires.
  9. Although the period feeling is convincing, Forman doesn't seem to know exactly what he wants to say about this intensely complex era - and that leaves his cast floundering.
  10. Below-the-line credits are terrific, which only increases an overwhelming sense of disappointment with the film's failed ambitions.
  11. Lavish production and wardrobe design, as well as beautiful cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe make Goya's Ghosts lovely to look at, but as a portrait of the artist, the movie is a letdown.
  12. 58
    The film is mostly forced and heavyhanded. Forman first thought of using Goya to tell a story about the Inquisition several decades ago. Yet this movie appears to be as much about American behavior post-Sept. 11 as it is about 18th-century Spain or the Communist Czechoslovakia of Forman's youth.
  13. 50
    The film's seriousness of intent is unimpeachable – Forman and Carriere see disturbing echoes of the modern world in 18th-century Spain -- but the execution borders on farce.
  14. 50
    The movie is uneven in the extreme, to the extent that it feels like two imperfectly wed pictures. The first, while not extraordinary, at least contains some interesting ideas. The second borders on embarrassing: an overblown melodrama complete with coincidence building upon coincidence and plot threads that are left unresolved.
  15. 50
    Whatever the faults of Goya's Ghosts -- and there are several -- you've got to hand it to director Milos Forman: It takes real chutzpah to cast Randy Quaid as the king of Spain.
  16. The biggest tragedy about Milos Forman's foray into the life and times of Spanish artist Francisco De Goya is the waste of so much great raw material.
  17. 50
    The whole thing is handsomely mounted, with plenty of Goya paintings and supposed observations about the ironies of history and the cyclical nature of life, etc. Forman's always been a huckster, but I never thought I'd see him waste this many good actors on a movie this bad.
  18. Reviewed by: Charles Petersen
    The film takes as many plot-twists as "Pirates of the Caribbean"; distinctly Goya in its emphasis on the grotesque, it shows none of the Spaniard's artistic economy.
  19. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    An unwieldy mix of political satire and lavish period soap opera.
  20. 42
    If Forman is trying to communicate that art isn't an effective way to change American society, he's proved his point neatly with this muddled, wandering dud.
  21. Though much blood is shed, the film is bloodless.
  22. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    An overstuffed turkey that's entertaining for all the wrong reasons.
  23. 25
    The Spanish Inquisition was better summed up in an eight-minute musical number by Mel Brooks than in the entirety of Goya's Ghosts, an across-the-board disaster from one of my favorite directors, Milos Forman.
  24. In a season of digital bombast, it can be a relief to walk into a stodgy life-of-the-great-man costume drama. Goya's Ghosts, before it turns into a messy, horse-drawn load, achieves a civilized stuffiness that gives off its own mild pleasure.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 11
  2. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. Jul 30, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. A beautiful, unusual film. The real protagonist is the world around Goya, represented in a masterly way. Some characters are anachronistic, but the message is strong: fanaticism exists also behind great ideals. Behind "Libertè, égalitè, fraternitè" are mere men, not so different than their enemies. There are two scenes I liked particularly: one when the hen raise its head after the cannon shot. It's a brilliant idea, I think. And another when three bloody scenes are shown while the narrator says"Libertè, égalitè, fraternitè", to communicate the message I told before. The plot itself is nothing special: Goya is mainly an observer, Ines is always a victim. Lorenzo represents fanaticism and hypocrisy: although he seems a new good man, he doesn't help Ines, in a worse way than how he didn't help her before. Not simply by inaction as before: this communicates that the new man is perhaps worse than before, and strengthens the conviction that people can't change, but only get worse. The plot may seem inconsistent, but it's actually very important: representing the history wouldn't be enough without someone close to the observer. It would be like explaining something without an example. A inattentive observer could look at the mere plot and consider this a bad-done film. But behind a simple plot there's an important message that makes you reflect. Full Review »
  2. Jul 5, 2013
    Oh no...not what I expected from Forman. This film was DULL. The acting was good, but there is so much an actor can do when the character theyOh no...not what I expected from Forman. This film was DULL. The acting was good, but there is so much an actor can do when the character they are given to play is not developed properly the characters were more like caricatures, very 2D. You really could not fell for any of them! No feelings of empathy for the tortured innocent, no sense of anger for the evil egomaniac who always gets away with it. Nothing. The only "feeling" you get from this film is from it's ending it's the felling of relief that the film is finally over Full Review »
  3. Apr 5, 2012
    A pretty decent film! Not without flaws, but I have had a great time watching this movie! Perhaps, what doesn't help for people to enjoy it asA pretty decent film! Not without flaws, but I have had a great time watching this movie! Perhaps, what doesn't help for people to enjoy it as much as they could is reading too many negative reviews. Personally, I don't think this film was particularly messy, but I do think some people are just unable to follow movies which plot is a bit more complex than the average..(sorry the honesty). Well done!...could have been better, but it was well done! Moreover, this film gives you a different perspective of both Napoleon Invasion and the Spanish Inquisition...which one do you think Spaniards thought was worse? (not only what they thought back then, but what they think about those days in present times? This movie, subtlely, brings this question to the surface, although I believe it was always there...) not an easy answer, I bet! Watch the movie and you will understand what I mean! Full Review »