Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
Watch On
  1. With a calmness that bespeaks confidence, this small, spellbinding second feature by Hilary Brougher brings together two women, trapped in separate states of denial and distress, who manage to end each other's entrapment.
  2. The scary culminating flashback, in which Stephanie gives birth -- in a public restroom, on a high school ski trip -- is a marvel of authentic disturbance.
  3. Brougher has taken material that sounds contrived and potentially exploitative and used her gift for careful observation and restrained emotionality to give it surprising authenticity.
  4. 88
    Tamblyn's surprisingly measured performance commands attention.
  5. 88
    Some cases should never come to trial, because no verdict would be adequate. You are likely to be discussing this film long into the night.
  6. Without standing on a soapbox Stephanie Daley suggests a tragic gender gap between men who judge and women who feel.
  7. 80
    There is so much to admire and empathize with in Stephanie Daley that it feels almost boorish to quibble about whether the film needs to come packaged as a murder mystery.
  8. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    75
    However you feel about her character and what she may or may not have done, Tamblyn's portrayal of Stephanie Daley is softly devastating.
  9. Braugher perhaps overvalues the parallels between Stephanie and Lydie. The scenario is too schematic and diminishes the power of each woman's story. She frames the drama as a cross between a whodunit and a whydunit, and neither strategy is entirely successful.
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    The film itself is dark and chilling, if occasionally plodding, but worth seeing for the absorbing potency of its main performances.
  11. A stark, painful drama about pregnancy--a subject rarely treated this fully, candidly or tragically.
  12. This is grim material, but director Hilary Brougher -- working from her own script that won a Sundance award -- examines the lives of these two suffering women without sensationalism or preaching.
  13. It is provocative, smartly made and truly independent.
  14. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    70
    A taut, provocative, sometimes overreaching but always absorbing thriller.
  15. 70
    Despite an overly abrupt and oblique conclusion, this is a major American film, announcing the arrival of an independent director who deserves all the hype.
  16. Apart from Swinton's fine performance, what largely distinguishes this is Brougher's sharp narrative focus.
  17. A muted psychological mystery where filmmaker Hilary Brougher's interest in "solving" a possible crime is superseded by her investigation into matters involving denial, free will and the physical and emotional burdens of pregnancy.
  18. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    60
    Writer-director Hilary Brougher knows how to rub it in, but Tamblyn is fearless in her attempt to save the narrative from falling into clich├ęd sermonizing.
  19. 50
    The movie amounts to an extended short story that progresses slowly and fades away with key questions unanswered. Ambiguity isn't necessarily interesting.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. MichaelL.
    Apr 3, 2008
    4
    I really wanted to like this film. It started out promisingly, but quickly devolved into a big bore. That said, I'm male, and will never I really wanted to like this film. It started out promisingly, but quickly devolved into a big bore. That said, I'm male, and will never experience pregnancy first-hand; I hate to say it, but maybe it IS a "female thing"... 2 hrs. of pregnancy angst is a bit much for this guy. Great performances, timely and important plot--but a lackluster script. Maybe less footage of Lydie peeing and more principle character interaction? And God, zero development of secondary characters. I have no idea who Lydie's husband was, or who Stephanie's parents were. Sadly, "Satin", to me, was the most interesting character in the film, and who knows her story? She was tossed in, then discarded like a bay leaf in chicken soup. Full Review »
  2. MarcK.
    Sep 22, 2007
    8
    It's rarely a disappointment if a movie has Tilda Swinton, but Amber Tamblyn shows off surprisingly great acting chops. Her performance It's rarely a disappointment if a movie has Tilda Swinton, but Amber Tamblyn shows off surprisingly great acting chops. Her performance deserves a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination at the very least, but since the film has been so little-seen, I won't be holding my breath. Full Review »
  3. KenG
    May 17, 2007
    4
    Slow, flat dispassionate movie, that is relying much to much on its explosive premise to carry it. Considering that premise, there is a real Slow, flat dispassionate movie, that is relying much to much on its explosive premise to carry it. Considering that premise, there is a real lack of edge, tension, and electricity here. Plus, both actresses seem to be sleep-walking through their roles. Full Review »