Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 31, 2012
    If you have the patience to watch this film develop and unfold, like some bizarre night-blooming orchid, what you'll see is not just the last movie released in 2012, but possibly the most original of them all.
  2. Reviewed by: Nikola Grozdanovic
    Dec 27, 2012
    Charming, witty, beautifully shot and inexplicably captivating.
  3. Reviewed by: John Semley
    Dec 14, 2012
    The pangs of romance, eroticism, anguish, and longing (both for the stolen moments of private passion and for the sense-making schematics of Empire) transcend any period of cinema Tabu may evoke.
  4. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Dec 27, 2012
    In Tabu, Portuguese writer-director Miguel Gomes spins a two-part tale examining love, loneliness and the power of memory.
  5. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Jan 2, 2013
    Tabu manages to be both classical and modern, ironic and heartbreaking.
  6. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Dec 14, 2012
    Even more than in "Our Beloved Month of August," Miguel Gomes begins Tabu in a seemingly ridiculous vein and unexpectedly shifts to something surprisingly enriching and poetic.
  7. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Jan 4, 2013
    The story is ornate but easy to follow. It's the dreamy look and sound of Tabu - half old, half modern - that give the film its haunting strangeness.
  8. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Feb 7, 2013
    The black-and-white cinematography and silent-film feel are haunting and nostalgic, and Aurora's story encapsulates a broader, bittersweet truth about the perils of tinted memory.
  9. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Dec 27, 2012
    Like other great pastiche artists, Gomes has created a time machine to a cinematic era that never quite existed, so it feels simultaneously borrowed and new.
  10. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Dec 14, 2012
    Shot in beautiful black and white with some stunning visuals, Gomes' narrative quest is a understated gem.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Dec 14, 2012
    It's a gem: gentle, eccentric, possessed of a distinctive sort of innocence – and also charming and funny.
  12. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Dec 14, 2012
    Another charmingly eccentric exercise in meta-fiction from Portugal's offbeat new directing star Miguel Gomes, Tabu chooses to explore its characters without following narrative rules, or rather, by reshuffling hackneyed tropes from film and novels to turn them into strange, modern entertainment.
  13. Reviewed by: Carmen Gray
    Dec 14, 2012
    This blend of tongue-in-cheek exoticism and desire so strong it makes crocodiles melancholic amply rewards your patience.
  14. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 15, 2013
    A black-and-white fever dream, and, like all dreams, its meanings are elusive. It’s opaque, maddening, often pretentious, yet the pretensions may be on purpose, to push us away from the adulterous colonials at the story’s center and reveal the Africa they’re too obsessed with each other to see.
  15. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Dec 27, 2012
    The whole second half suggests a new way of storytelling-like one of those Wes Anderson montages done by an obsessive fan of Hatari! To judge from Tabu's first hour, pacing is not Gomes's strong suit, yet the filmmaker who emerges might win you over.
  16. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jan 24, 2013
    At first Tabu is intriguing. But the enigma gets wearing as the director's attention is divided between the homage to the silent film era and the film's underlying exploration of the regret of old age.
  17. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 26, 2012
    It is, of course, art rather than history - an elegant composition of dreams, memories and suggestive images - but its artfulness seems like an alibi, an excuse for keeping the ugliness of history out of the picture.

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