Private Fears in Public Places

Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18

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Critic Reviews

  1. Alain Resnais' 2006 adaptation of a British play by Alan Ayckbourn is a world apart from his earlier Ayckbourn adaptation, "Smoking/No Smoking"; that film tried to be as "English" as possible. But this time Resnais looks for precise French equivalents to British culture, and what emerges is one of his most personal works, intermittently recalling the melancholy "Muriel" and "Providence."
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    100
    Resnais employs all the tools of studio-bound moviemaking, silent-era to post-modern, in a way that is not only is consistently dazzling in a purely visual sense, but contains an empathy that lifts the picture to tragic heights even at those points at which it seems practically weightless.
  3. 100
    A masterpiece by any measure, is fresh, immediate and contemporary, but its wintry yet warm perspective is suffused with the wisdom and experience of a great filmmaker who turns 85 on June 2.
  4. The cast is tremendous; these actors work with Resnais like a well-oiled stock company that knows every trick and can communicate almost telepathically.
  5. It's a Parisian romantic roundelay with sundry couples connecting and disconnecting, but it looks and sounds like no sex comedy ever made: It's transcendentally yummy.
  6. The grand old filmmaker frames each scene like a fine painting. And fake snow falls with happy artificiality between rueful vignettes.
  7. 83
    Resnais and Ayckbourn care primarily about observing these characters' private and public faces, who they are and who they present themselves as. To that end, they've achieved a mood of enchanting intimacy.
  8. 80
    Resnais is now 84 years old; perhaps it takes eight decades of living to make a movie this compassionate, this confident--and this young.
  9. The film is accessible, pleasant, dreamy, a touch goofy and melancholic. Its modernist gestures are little more than stylistic tics, but there's an image of snow falling on two clasped hands that is almost rapturous. The role of the artist remains, for Mr. Resnais, the role of a lifetime.
  10. 75
    Clever, wise and witty.
  11. Resnais cuts constantly between the various narrative threads, signaling each change of scene with a superimposed shower of snowflakes; it's a highly artificial device, and a deceptively lovely one that reinforces the sense that all Ayckbourn's characters are slowly succumbing to an emotional chill.
  12. This is a minor film from a master, which is disappointing, but nevertheless it has its charms, most notably in the acting by a cast of stage and screen veterans.
  13. The film is beautifully shot and edited, but these emotional snapshots won't stay long in the memory.
  14. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    Private Fears says that life is a smoldering holding pattern, but Resnais is gracious enough to blanket the embers with eternal snow.
  15. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    60
    Despite a perfect cast of Resnais regulars plus the master's own impeccable crafting, the characters fail to grip, and with approximately 50 short scenes, development comes in fits and starts.
  16. The picture is so suavely made that we don't feel disappointed until it is over: what chiefly holds us is the quality of the acting.
  17. 50
    I found the interlocking bitterness of Ayckbourn's play irritating and overly neat, and these people don't seem to belong to Paris or London or anywhere else, at least not anytime in the last 20 years.
  18. Suffers from Resnais' inability to open it up and give it the look and pulse of a film.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
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No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. tomaszw
    Jul 9, 2008
    2
    Very stagey and psychologically incomprehensible. Where did these people come from, where do they live? They may speak French but the city Very stagey and psychologically incomprehensible. Where did these people come from, where do they live? They may speak French but the city ain't Paris but some outer space for seemingly human strays. A waste of time. Full Review »
  2. DanP
    Apr 20, 2007
    10
    An exquisite film to see! Resnais applies his roots in French experimental filmmaking to this dialogue-driven film. Every set piece and An exquisite film to see! Resnais applies his roots in French experimental filmmaking to this dialogue-driven film. Every set piece and camera movement is visually stunning. Full Review »