Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. 20
    Giuseppe Tornatore has long been a master of cheap sentiment ("Cinema Paradiso," " The Legend of 1900"), but his latest film is his most shallow, reprehensible exercise in nostalgia to date.
  2. Qualifies as director Giuseppe Tornatore's second full-fledged masterpiece. His first: "Cinema Paradiso."
  3. Gives audiences something more than just a heart-stopping beauty to contemplate.
  4. Striking photography, period detail, screen-filling crowd scenes, and veteran composer Morricone's score make this one worth seeing, but the sheer nastiness of the town's people drags it down.
  5. If Mussolini had a Monica Bellucci to inspire his troops, we might still be trying to take Palermo.
  6. 50
    There is noting quite so awkward as a film that is one thing while it pretends to be another.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    There's definitely some paradiso in watching Malena walking, but not enough to sustain almost two hours of cinema.
  8. Reviewed by: Frank Lovece
    It differs from American films about the period in its evocation of day-to-day passion. The power of beauty is often dealt with in films, but not so often its powerful curse.
  9. 50
    When the film changes gears from light coming-of-age comedy to ex-post-facto war parable midway through, it loses its focus and suddenly becomes a much darker beast.
  10. You wish that Malena's inner life had been given as much accent as her outer charms.
  11. 67
    Intriguing, containing a truthful kernel of sweetness, rot and brutality that will shock many.
  12. Malena the film is as beautiful and seductive as its heroine, with its ravishing Lajos Koltai cinematography and sweepingly romantic Ennio Morricone score.
  13. 70
    Nothing new here except model-turned-actress Bellucci. To call her noteworthy would be an understatement.
  14. 70
    A nostalgic coming-of-age sex comedy tastefully lecherous enough to indicate that its intended demographic is several decades past puberty.
  15. What begins as a blushing, priapic opera buffa about coming of age turns into a verismo shocker, before softening into something mellower.
  16. Somewhere in writer-director Giuseppe Tornatore's overstyled movie, about a 12-year-old boy (Sulfaro) during the Italian fascist period who has the hots for a mistreated war widow (Belluci), is a pretty good short story about the fickleness of community and the cruelty of gossip struggling to get out.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Things finally work out all right--except for audiences, who will find this thin movie bereft of the more richly textured sentiments of Tornatore's "Cinema Paradiso."
  18. Feels more like "Porky's" with marinara sauce than "Summer of '42."
  19. 10
    In the end, Malena is an unlikable and foul farce, unworthy of Tornatore's previously gentle touch.
  20. No period of Italian history has produced more great movies than the WWII years . But, Malena romanticizes and even sentimentalizes those years.
  21. Too often seems like a slightly silly film.
  22. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Combining a coming-of-age story with the sad odyssey of a woman punished for her beauty, the film ultimately has too little depth, subtlety, thematic consequence or contemporary relevance.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 56 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. R.L.
    Jan 5, 2009
    A truly extraordinary film! I loved every minute of it.
  2. sathyav.
    Dec 18, 2007
    I love this movie. we must view this film in an auto-analystic way of admiring the characters. this movie has some magic that we keep on I love this movie. we must view this film in an auto-analystic way of admiring the characters. this movie has some magic that we keep on thinking about it even after weeks or months...oops! i must say this is a movie of a life time. i'm glad to have it in my collections of dvd. tornatore is way ahead of mankind. Full Review »
  3. ChrisS.
    Apr 4, 2006
    What a great movie. Excellent performances with a spectacular score and striking images. You won't forget this one.