Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17

Critic Reviews

  1. Although the movie adheres more closely to history than "Quills," it lacks dramatic punch and depth.
  2. 60
    Interestingly, the real horror lies in the film's depiction of the era: The sight of guillotined bodies -- naked, headless and dumped under the shady trees of Picpus -- is truly shocking. Rarely has the horror of the Terror been so graphically and effectively evoked.
  3. 60
    If you're looking for thrills, you should know that you have to wade through a good seven-eighths of the movie before Sade does anything remotely disreputable, and even then it's a rather mechanical bit of business that would have been more effective (and more disturbing) if it had been handled with a bit of humor.
  4. 50
    Too bland and fustily tasteful to be truly prurient, Sade moves along at a reasonable clip, goosed by claps of gothic lighting, solemn chords, and amplified sound effects.
  5. Auteuil is a superb actor. Still, the real-life Sade would be dismayed to see himself portrayed more as an eccentric old codger than the world-changing firebrand he worked hard to be.
  6. Achieves the near-impossible: It turns the Marquis de Sade into a dullard.

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