Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: A compelling, humor-tinged romantic mystery that is not so much a "who done it" as an exploration of the riddle of why people make the fatal errors they do - in life, in marriage and when their decisions count the very most. (Fox Searchlight)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Wilkinson once again astonishes with his ability to convey weakness and strength, hypocrisy and gallantry, cruelty and compassion in the same male animal.
  2. 88
    Watson and Everett, both superb, bring ferocity and feeling to their roles. But the one you won't forget is Wilkinson (In the Bedroom) in a towering performance of grace and grit that deserves to put him on Oscar's shortlist. Good show.
  3. 83
    Three impeccably cast actors are fully engaged in something like a psychological thriller that has much of the crushing weight and lingering pain of grown-up life on this Earth.
  4. The most fascinating aspect of the film is how the point of view shifts -- each character, as seen through another's eyes, is something else entirely.
  5. So gin-and-tonic dry, so deceptive in its deadpan-ness, that it's not always clear that Julian Fellowes is having fun. But he is.
  6. Separate Lies is deceptive in more ways than it intends. Because the acting is so uniformly superb, we're almost fooled into believing that the movie is as good as the cast. It isn't, not by half.
  7. To watch the film is to marvel at the cast's virtuosity at fleshing out the shallowest people in England, and the observable intelligence and talent of all those involved doesn't make Separate Lies any more compelling, or its characters more resonant.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. StephaneM.
    May 29, 2007
    10
    For someone who likes to see life as shades of grey, and apreciate seing extremely polite people with impossible choices, it is the most beautiful movie that I ever saw. Expand
  2. BerryJ.
    Apr 16, 2006
    9
    Worth seeing for the classy English village and room settings alone, but throw in an interesting rupture in the lives of a small group of people and I think this is near cinematic perfection. Expand
  3. keithw.
    Oct 4, 2005
    8
    Strong cast-great clothes-a Range Rover product placement and I loved it all.
  4. AngusH.
    Nov 19, 2005
    8
    I really enjoyed it - the acting was superb, and even though most of the revelations come as no surprise, there's a lot of tension building up. The last 20 minutes don't seem to be connected very much to the rest of the film,but coming out of the theatre, I realised that the film is about the couple and the choices they make, not necessarily about the main events which put them in the unenviable positions. Collapse
  5. RhettW.
    Dec 28, 2005
    7
    Very subtle stuff. It was not totally satisfying.
  6. MarkB.
    Oct 24, 2005
    6
    Screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who gingerly but sardonically peeled the lid off uppercrust indiscretions and worse in Gosford Park, does so again on a much smaller scale here. In telling the tale of two extramarital lovers who get involved in a hit-and-run accident, and the cuckolded spouse who participates in the coverup, Fellowes in his directing debut is clearly not Gosford's Robert Altman, which you probably knew going in; even at 85 minutes, the pacing gets noticeably draggy. More problematic is that despite the three leads, Tom Wilkinson (The Full Monty, In The Bedroom), Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Red Dragon) and Rupert Everett (Another Country, My Best Friend's Wedding), all being outstanding actors who absolutely never disappoint (and Watson deserves special praise here because, owing to her integrity in portraying such a despicable individual, this is the first film I've ever seen her in that I didn't fall absolutely in love with her--now that's a major acting accomplishment!) the movie is frequently a singularly frustrating experience because their characters are either callous jerks or spineless wimps. I still haven't decided what's more annoying--the fact that two-thirds of the triangle repeatedly treat the third so callously or that the third side endlessly lets them; the result (with one gratifying but only momentary exception) is a film that plays like a strangely genteel piece of S&M. Of course, this has much to do with the characters, setting and filmmaker being so bloody civilized and British, and I amused myself throughout the picture by envisioning the same material, minus the profanities and the Jerry Springer joke, transported to our side of the ocean and filmed in black and white, playing more satisfyingly as a 1945 film noir starring Edward G. Robinson and Barbara Stanwyck...at least until the third act, when it weirdly morphs into a gender-twisted version of a 1932 two-handkerchief tale of marital sacrifice (final shot and all) starring...Edward G. Robinson and Barbara Stanwyck! Expand
  7. SHFB
    Dec 5, 2005
    6
    I was hoping to like this film more than I did because I love Watson and Wilkinson. But I found it rather uninteresting and uninspired and contrived. The best thing about it is the way it captured the cold dreariness of the English seaside town during the off-season - that was truly brilliant! But the rest of the movie was rather pedestrian. Watson's character was particularly spineless and annoying (although I loved the chopping vegetables scene. That was perfect). Expand

See all 8 User Reviews

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