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
    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
    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
    Haunting, powerfully acted, penetratingly written, it's about people coming home -- and not coming home -- to their marriages.
  17. Reviewed by: Ted Mahar
    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.

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