Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 1 out of 29
  1. Stuns with writing, acting, direction.
  2. 100
    Voluptuous dance about love, pain and the whole damn thing.
  3. 100
    Elegant but never overstated, sinister but never coldhearted, this is a note-perfect masterwork on a modest, human scale.
  4. 100
    Astonishingly well acted film, so much so that it seems unfair to single out any of the performances. Mr. Lawrence's camera sense is as sure and unobtrusive as his feel for acting. The movie just seems to happen, to grow out of the ground like a thorny plant, revealing the intricate intelligence of its design only in hindsight.
  5. Reviewed by: David Stratton
    100
    A wonderfully acted, acutely observed psychological drama.
  6. It's one of the best surprises of the holiday season.
  7. 90
    Notable for its power of surprise and its refusal to immediately clarify the confusion of these lost souls.
  8. 90
    The acting is top-notch, and LaPaglia, who makes the cop's torment palpable, gives the performance of his career.
  9. A remarkably thoughtful drama, Lantana makes it clear not only how hard to come by any emotional comfort is in this life, but more important, why we can't give up on the struggle.
  10. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    90
    Lawrence's style, naturally lit and roughly realistic, matches the writing. Lantana sometimes has the air of a routine police procedural, sometimes the quality of a dour film noir. But this movie, so alert to mischance and dreams that don't quite work out as they should, has a good soul, a heart yearning for decency.
  11. Has a refreshingly keen ability to see everything from multiple angles.
  12. 90
    Perceptive, powerfully acted psychodrama.
  13. 90
    Lawrence constructs a vivid pastiche of human foibles, nicely flavored with a touch of suspense and some well-timed jolts of humor. In the end it's a terrifically entertaining film, if not quite so profound as the makers might wish.
  14. 88
    This description no doubt makes the film seem like some kind of gimmicky puzzle. What's surprising is how easy it is to follow the plot, and how the coincidences don't get in the way.
  15. 88
    More intent on engaging the heart as it explores the mysteries contained within - mysteries that, as Lawrence and his spot-on cast demonstrate, are far more compelling than simple murder.
  16. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    88
    Haunting, powerfully acted, penetratingly written, it's about people coming home -- and not coming home -- to their marriages.
  17. Reviewed by: Ted Mahar
    83
    The story is ingeniously intricate but never gimmicky or implausible. As it develops, the suspense grows about what direction the story could possibly take next.
  18. It's LaPaglia's finest, deepest role and he's matched by Armstrong, who makes Sonja's undaunting optimism palpable within a trying marriage that's gulping for breath.
  19. Striking for its performances -- especially Anthony LaPaglia.
  20. While the movie is well acted and creative, its story and style are too self-consciously clever to build a high degree of emotional power.
  21. 75
    There's some genuine suspense in Lantana, including one unbearably tense moment that is worthy of Hitchcock. But the movie's most unnerving aspect is the way in which it suggests true happiness may be impossible to regain once you've lost it.
  22. In addition to the strong script, the ensemble performances are topnotch, with no one hogging the limelight.
  23. 75
    This isn't a mystery except in the most general sense. It's a dense, Altman-esque psychological drama centering on 10 characters whose lives become as tangled as the lantana.
  24. Steeped in quiet despair, Lantana is a psychological thriller that emphasizes the psychology over the thrills. It's a smart, heart-twisting picture.
  25. 75
    For the briefest of moments, someone not paying attention might mistake Lantana for a mystery. -- Lantana is actually an examination of human interaction.
  26. 70
    Love is indeed the greatest mystery, as Lantana's tagline goes, and while the film is ultimately still and interesting and fairly involving one, it's a bit unfortunate that the filmmakers weren't content to simply explore that quandary instead of manufacturing another.
  27. While viewers who expect a conventional suspense film may be disappointed in Lantana overall, it does succeed on a smaller, more intimate scale.
  28. Reviewed by: Frank Lovece
    50
    Thought-provoking but proceeding at a crawl, the film suffers from performances that are virtually all pitched to the same note of existential ennui -- thank goodness, then, for Rush, who's arrives like a wake-up blast of compressed air.
  29. 30
    The scenario eventually becomes so coincidence-choked that the filmmakers have no choice but to play it for mild snickers.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. TonyB.
    Nov 28, 2008
    5
    Well acted but sluggish and slow.
  2. parker
    Feb 21, 2006
    10
    Simply superb in virtually all phases: acting, scene orchestration, directing,, etc. captivating throughout, unpretentious, with unusual depth & perception in evidence. thought provoking. Full Review »