Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. Results in a film that's more exploitative than sympathetic. Compared to the works of fellow Francophone directors Catherine Briellat and Clare Denis, Doueiri's depiction of female sexuality in Lila Says is both wooden and pat.
  2. Superbly acted, especially by Giocante as the teasing 16-year-old instigator.
  3. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Lebanon-born director Ziad Doueiri, a camera operator on Quentin Tarantino's films, has a dreamy, fluid style he decorates with light electronic sounds -- from bands like Air -- that give this film more than a touch of youthful poetry.
  4. Doueiri sprinkles Lila Says with moments of humor and violence -- a mix that keeps the film fresh and unpredictable.
  5. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    Far less interesting than its premise, primarily because we never know what anyone is really thinking.
  6. 38
    Lila is all come-ons without any charm.
  7. 80
    This thoroughly engaging, if tragic, love story unfolds like a psychological striptease. The biggest challenge here is not to blush.
  8. 60
    The story's message is less than profound, but it's vividly delivered.
  9. The result, although more sexually provocative, is not nearly as gratifying as was his (Ziad Doueiri) breakthrough film.
  10. Lila, played by Vahina Giocante, who resembles a sexed-up young Emma Thompson, is a teasing, 16-year-old blond baby doll with a gleam of perception beyond her years.
  11. 67
    It doesn't take an awareness of the ethnic and cultural differences between the miniskirted siren and the shy Arab youth to see that she might be more than he can handle.
  12. Startlingly erotic and surprisingly moving.
  13. 80
    Both lead actors are wonderful, and director Ziad Doueiri (West Beirut) artfully addresses the cultural and even spiritual dimensions of the story without losing sight of the lovers' tenderness and confusion.
  14. 70
    Unsurprisingly, the camerawork in Lila Says is spectacular.
  15. 70
    Vahina Giocante oozes a killer blend of purring, lascivious innocence and little-girl-lost vulnerability as Lila.
  16. Raw, earthy yet tender and perceptive, Lila Says marks a strong directorial debut for Doueiri, who was Quentin Tarantino's camera operator on "Reservoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction" and "Jackie Brown."
  17. Ms. Giocante's intoxicating mixture of gamine innocence and womanly knowingness is almost too much for the movie - Lila is surely too much for Chimo - but her charisma, and Mr. Doueiri's insouciant, heart-on-the-sleeve style give it a mood that is at once breathlessly romantic and cannily down to earth.
  18. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Easy on the eye but light on originality.
  19. The picture's effect: the sexual element is trenchant, while the status of Muslim youth registers strongly.
  20. 40
    One long tease, not just because it keeps promising sex it doesn't deliver. It teases at deeper themes and cultural commentary.
  21. A misguided tale of sentimental education.
  22. Had director Ziad Doueiri focused on the resentful Arab youths who clatter provocatively around the edges of his Marseilles-set drama, he might have discovered something interesting.
  23. This coming-of-age tale is ultimately about self, not sex.

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