Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. It exchanges the narrative fluidity of the page for visual composition of such strong beauty that the slowness of the storytelling becomes its own eccentric strength.
  2. Flawless contributions by Armstrong's crew make Oscar and Lucinda a vibrant period piece, buoyant yet incisive, and easily sustaining interest, if not generating deep involvement, throughout a just-under two-hour running time. [31Dec1997 Pg.8]
  3. As directed exquisitely by Gillian Armstrong in a headstrong spirit that recalls her debut feature, "My Brilliant Career," this elliptical tale makes up in visual beauty whatever it lacks in universal meaning.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    90
    Its business is to turn sure-thing expectations into a game of chance, and provide us with that rarity--a genuinely eccentric yet deeply insinuating film.
  5. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    90
    Armstrong and Jones smoothly navigate the magical tale through numerous shocking twists and turns until they bring it to a most logical, emotionally satisfying conclusion.
  6. Keeping with the spirit of its lead characters, Oscar and Lucinda is a movie best met with a gambler's faith: You may not be certain what it means in the end, but its magnificent payoff is nevertheless a sure thing.
  7. 80
    It accumulates weight as it goes along, ultimately becoming as thoughtful and emotionally involving as it is beautiful to behold.
  8. 75
    Here there is a dry wit, generated between the well-balanced performances of Fiennes and Blanchett, who seem quietly delighted to be playing two such rich characters.
  9. 75
    Despite some obvious overplotting, Oscar and Lucinda is a mostly effective and often affecting motion picture that touches our hearts while daring our minds to balk at its implausible coincidences.
  10. In a sometimes misguided narrative, their scenes together are right on track -- they add lightness, even a shimmering hint of humour, to a symbol-laden drama. Theirs is a unique romance that has a sparrow's frail beauty -- it beats with a trembling, fluttering heart.
  11. 70
    Richly imagined and resolutely unpredictable, this dark and profoundly optimistic paean to passion -- for glass, for horses, for the thrill of the moment after a coin is flipped but before it falls -- is held together by Gillian Armstrong's solid direction and by strong, if occasionally strident, performances from Fiennes and newcomer Blanchett.
  12. 70
    Whatever the reason, Oscar and Lucinda winds up feeling like a collection of bits in search of vision and an emotional surge.
  13. 50
    Armstrong is usually a strong and original director of actors (her 1979 "My Brilliant Career" launched the inimitable Judy Davis). But here, her taste seems to have deserted her. [31Dec1997 Pg.30]
  14. The film version is gorgeous to look at and contains amusing performances from Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett in the title roles. But it fails to get inside the minds of gamblers as Peter Carey so admirably did in his Booker Prize-winning novel.
  15. While Blanchett glows with intelligence, passion and a quirky kind of beauty, the movie she is in fails her in a number of essential ways.
  16. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    But for an epic set up to trace two life stories, there's a lack of dramatic focus, and the leads fail to evince any particular chemistry as friends who come to have a deeper emotional connection. [31Dec1997 Pg.02.D]
  17. Reviewed by: Tom Meek
    50
    There's a lot of talent in this offbeat drama about two odd balls from Down Under, but somehow all the pieces don't quite fit together.
  18. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    50
    It has a lovely score by Thomas Newman, stunning production design, striking costumes and gorgeous cinematography. Unfortunately, it just doesn't jell.
  19. 50
    Oscar and Lucinda seems like the perfect story for director Gillian Armstrong, that of a free-spirited proto-feminist chafing at the strictures of tight-laced colonial Australia. But in the end, she's created a beautiful but annoying Victorian-era melodrama. [30Jan1998 Pg.D.06]
  20. One reason why it disappoints is that it comes across as more the work of screenwriter Laura Jones ("An Angel at My Table," "The Portrait of a Lady," "A Thousand Acres"), who's lately been specializing in high-minded literary adaptations, than of Armstrong, who tends to do better and more nuanced work with more intimate and domestic material (e.g., "The Last Days of Chez Nous," "Little Women").
  21. 40
    As to be expected, it's all very beautiful; too bad it's also often annoying, save for a heartbreaking final half-hour.
  22. Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    40
    No matter how hard the filmmakers work their narrator (Geoffrey Rush, as Oscar's great-grandson), he can't make the damn thing explicable, much less bring it to life.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Vocecita
    Jun 8, 2007
    8
    I like this movie. Excellent performances by Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchet.