Stranger by the Lake Image

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 35 Ratings

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  • Summary: Frank (Pierre Deladonchamps) spends his summer days hopelessly searching for companionship at a popular cruising spot on the shores of a lake in rural France. One day, he meets Michel (Christophe Paou), an attractive yet darkly mysterious man and falls blindly in love. When a death occurs, Frank and Michel become the primary suspects but they choose to ignore the dangers and instead continue to engage in their passionate and potentially lethal relationship. [Strand Releasing] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Liz Beardsworth
    Feb 17, 2014
    Beautifully crafted, sinister, frightening, erotic and thought-provoking, Alain Guiraudie’s multi-faceted Cannes triumph is already one of the most provocative, intriguing films of the year.
  2. Reviewed by: Adam Nayman
    Jan 16, 2014
    Spare, steely, sexually explicit in a way that transcends mere provocation, Stranger by the Lake is vital cinema.
  3. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Jan 24, 2014
    The mystery may be resolved, but the suspense and uncertainty remain. And so, Guiraudie ends his film on a cold, almost cruel note of existential solitude that just might, if you let it, break your heart.
  4. Reviewed by: Jordan Mintzer
    Sep 15, 2013
    Stranger by the Lake invites you into its alluring and peaceful world, only to gradually uncover the darkness beneath it.
  5. Reviewed by: Kevin Harley
    Feb 18, 2014
    Sun, sex, psychosis, skinny-dipping: it sounds like genre tat, but Guiraudie’s dark, droll study of a risky attraction upends expectations. It plays by stealth, but its sly grip is sure.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Feb 20, 2014
    What Stranger by the Lake lacks in suspense and back story it makes up for in atmosphere: It’s a subtle exercise in the pathetic fallacy.
  7. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 6, 2014
    Stranger by the Lake has no rating, but if it had, it would earn an NC-17 ten times over.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Feb 11, 2014
    This film shows sensitive insight and great artistic expression as the characters develop and the plot unfolds. The writer and director really understand many aspects of gay life as the three main characters, Frank, Michel and Henri search for more than sex - they want understanding, love and commitment. But, the sexual drive wins out because of their deep seated loneliness and the difficulties and complexities of relationships. Frank is obsessed and infatuated with the rugged and cool Michel and overlooks the serious warnings for his own safety. Powerful, gripping film, extraordinary in it's tenderness and insight. Expand
  2. Jan 27, 2014
    It's hard not to admire when they make a movie so formally perfect. Inspecting the darker aspects of being gay, harmoniously tangling desire, lust, danger and death while building on Aristotelian's unity of space and time, the director has crafted a composition nothing short of majestic. Yet, the film remains remote and distant and overly intellectual with obscuring symbolic aesthetics (which gets even more confusing as the film progresses), failing to provide any fresh perspective for personal interpretation. This inevitably will result in some silly readings of the film . Expand
  3. Feb 2, 2014
    It's a good movie with some intriguing thriller elements to it, but I'm getting tired of these films that don't have an ending. Sure, there are two or three ways the thing could go at the final frame, but you've got to pick one, writer & director! It undercuts a quality film. Not choosing is half-assed. Collapse
  4. Jan 24, 2014
    Here we have a film that is constantly intriguing as it unfolds. A careful build up observes the characters in minute detail and predictability is kept at bay. I thought I knew exactly where events were heading only to have the rug pulled from under me towards the end. Unfortunately, it is with the ending that I take issue. The story becomes more unbelievable as it progresses, silly even, and the last scenes are very unsatisfactory. Finally, I was left questioning exactly what had transpired. The look of the film is gorgeous with the lake itself providing a great backdrop to the action (so to speak). However, the unwary should be informed that there are scenes of male nudity and explicit sex. Expand
  5. Feb 3, 2014
    Sexually explicit but narratively implicit, STRANGER BY THE LAKE is far too metaphorical for it's own good. Restrained direction brings to mind a Patricia Highsmith novel but unfortunately, STRANGER is too direct in its use of sex as a metaphor for the thrill of danger and death. Superb performances and wonderful cinematography all serve the director beautifully and there are a amazing set pieces but it ultimately STRANGER becomes simply cold and lifeless. Expand
  6. Jul 7, 2014
    One person finding themselves in love with a murderer is as old as moviemaking itself, but with Stranger by the Lake, Guiraudie finds a new and captivating way to present that tale. By the end of the first half, I found myself wanting more. Unfortunately, the second half taught me to be careful what I wish for. Expand
  7. Mar 2, 2014
    Dear Alain Guiraudie, you should be ashamed of yourself, your movie Stranger by the lake, is the most idiotic, uninteresting, full of clichés movie I have ever seen. I refuse to see some sort of geniality in the fact that not even a murder has succeeded in injecting some excitement in the pathetically boring life of the main character who spends his days cruising in the woods by a lake. Did you not learn anything from Hitchcock (Rope, 1948), or from Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Suddenly Last Summer, 1959) or Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, 2005), or Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I love you Phillip Morris, 2009)? Did they not teach you how to strip of commonplaces a story which involves relationships between men? You really thought that a murder would do that?
    I want my money back, £15!!!

See all 9 User Reviews

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