Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. This is escapism, pure and simple. And few know the power of such purity better than Terry McMillan.
  2. Stella may be frothy and paper-thin, but it's also another great success for star Angela Bassett, who transforms the film into an infomercial for her considerable abilities.
  3. The filmmakers go to obvious pains to add a bit of nutritive value to their sweet, frothy confection.
  4. 75
    For once, with How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Hollywood offers a love story that concentrates on the simple nuances of the romance rather than smothering us in an overly- melodramatic narrative featuring old boyfriends, jealousy, and hard-to-swallow misunderstandings.
  5. 75
    Whether you regard Stella's getting her groove back as a feminist battle cry or as a silly wish-fulfillment fantasy, the movie delivers guilt-free escapism about pretty people having wicked-hot fun in pretty places.
  6. The movie, adapted by Terry McMillan from her semi-autobiographical novel, is pointedly boundary-breaking in its positive portrayal of a May-September relationship between a younger man and an older woman.
  7. 70
    Rarely have we seen black love be this sensual.
  8. 63
    How Stella Got Her Groove Back tries its best to turn a paperback romance into a relationship worth making a movie about, but fails.
  9. 60
    A glossy, attractive, ultimately empty soap opera that -- despite being based on a true story -- never seems remotely plausible.
  10. This lushly produced, lightweight romance embraces every cliche of the genre without so much as an ironic shrug.
  11. 60
    This is Harlequin Romance land, and the film squeaks by as long as it's content to watch its lovers throwing off sparks.
  12. 60
    Director Kevin Rodney Sullivan, a television veteran making his feature film debut, has fluffed up this undemanding material much as one would a pillow. But pillows have their place and so do girlfriend movies.
  13. The movie meanders on and on, like a bad sexual dream, until you finally wake up mumbling: Stella, please: leave that groove thang alone.
  14. I'm not denying that a 40-year- old woman might be self-conscious about going around with someone this young. But the subject isn't interesting or provocative enough to sustain an entire movie.
  15. It's a fun movie - full of laughs and touching moments.
  16. 50
    All the comedy, tragedy, and various obstacles to romance seem to have been contrived to divert the story from its tendency toward pulp erotica.
  17. Bassett and Diggs are appealing as the slightly odd couple, but the movie rambles on too long.
  18. 50
    It's not a very well-made movie, but Stella's many limitations will probably be a side issue among its target audience, irrelevant next to those repeating images of Angela being so rich and beautiful and black.
  19. Buffed and waxed to within an inch of its life, Stella registers as more of a sequence of slick commercials than an actual drama.
  20. Bassett's natural dramatic fierceness, so powerful when incited to action, is at odds with the knee-weakening sexual surrender required by the story.
  21. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Director Sullivan lingers too long in every photogenic location and drags out every incident as if he's making six episodes of a not very sparkling serial.
  22. 40
    This upscale Harlequin fantasy film works much the same terrain as Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows, a '50s weepy about an affair between an older woman and a younger man, though without an iota of its wit or intelligence.
  23. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Like "Waiting to Exhale" except more so, film jerks from scene to scene with little sense of rhythm, continuity or dramatic shaping.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Nov 12, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. When I think about movie(Stella got her groove back) like this one. It is always more going on than what we notice. From a critical cultural perspective. I see that the world is changing hands woman are becoming empowered, and making the most out of the declining economic times, while a lot of men has decided to play piggy back...I could say so many thing write now but I will leave it at that. Full Review »