Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics What's this?

User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 18 Ratings

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  • Summary: The core story centers on Joao, the bastard child of an ill-fated romance between two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry, and his quest to discover the truth of his parentage. But this is just the start of an engrossing tale that follows a multitude of characters whoseThe core story centers on Joao, the bastard child of an ill-fated romance between two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry, and his quest to discover the truth of his parentage. But this is just the start of an engrossing tale that follows a multitude of characters whose fates conjoin, separate and then rejoin again over three decades in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. (Music Box Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Aug 4, 2011
    100
    Once you start to ride with the rapturous, gorgeous, digressive symphony of images and words and music in this film it's completely absorbing and unlike anything you've ever seen.
  2. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Aug 2, 2011
    100
    Leisurely and digressive, this generally exhilarating saga ("a storm of misadventures" per Ruiz) variously suggests Victor Hugo, Stendhal, and (thanks in part to the unnatural, emphatic yet uninflected, acting) Mexican telenovelas. The score is richly romantic; the period locations are impeccable.
  3. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    Sep 15, 2011
    90
    It's smart, energetic filmmaking that also makes for engrossing entertainment.
  4. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Aug 3, 2011
    83
    Mysteries Of Lisbon is an odd kind of epic: It's digressive and even trifling at times, and though a large cast wanders through the frame, the individual scenes tend to be focused on just two or three people, having winding conversations about political intrigue and affairs of the heart.
  5. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Aug 11, 2011
    80
    The storytelling is straightforward, with a classical sheen, even as mischief and hallucination puncture the serene surface.
  6. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Aug 1, 2011
    80
    What is left is the sheer joy of storytelling, and willing audiences will find themselves caught up in a what-happens-next page-turner of a film.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 5, 2011
    20
    The result is a dull, high-minded soap opera.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Sep 26, 2011
    8
    The Mysteries of Lisbon are not so much mysteries as they are a series of conversations which always lead to some sort of revelation. TheseThe Mysteries of Lisbon are not so much mysteries as they are a series of conversations which always lead to some sort of revelation. These revelations are melodramatic punch lines with interlocking characters continuously finding out who their parents are, where they came from, the results of lost loves, and everything in between. If the script was written in a linear fashion with no time jumps or flashbacks, there would be no mysteries; it would just be a meandering retelling of Romeo and Juliet (and all of their cousins).

    The word meandering sounds harsh and an indictment of a script which does not know where it is going. However, I mean meandering as in there are multiple lead characters to follow and each of them has a very complicated past which takes its time to tell. The Mysteries of Lisbon is four and a half hours long; the director threw out accepted norms for audience patience in favor of showing the whole story. It is based on an 1854 novel by the Portuguese author Camilo Castelo Branco and it appears it was filmed in an unabridged fashion.

    The main character is a village priest, Padre Denis (Adriano Luz), who at first is indirectly involved in a coupleâ
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  2. Sep 2, 2011
    8
    Saw this at the San Francisco Film Festival in April 2011. Long production, well produced, well acted and epic in scope. If you go for largeSaw this at the San Francisco Film Festival in April 2011. Long production, well produced, well acted and epic in scope. If you go for large epic tales, this is a good one to watch. Expand
  3. Aug 27, 2011
    7
    A little over half for the four hour-plus-intermission riveting BBC miniseries-esque film that played at the new Bunim Munroe center at FilmA little over half for the four hour-plus-intermission riveting BBC miniseries-esque film that played at the new Bunim Munroe center at Film Society last weekend. The first half was incredible! The characters, the plot twists, dialogue, costumes, intrigue. Passion. Managed to feed the flame of 19th-century obsession for a whole two hours, that is until the second act when it imploded of its own over-the-top quirks and romantics. Would it really have been asking too much to sustain the handsome, childlike wonder that was Joao for just a little while longer? Expand

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