Metascore
54

Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. 75
    Like "Secret Things," the film is ultimately infuriating, subtle, self-indulgent, astute and disingenuous, which makes for great -- if divisive -- conversation.
  2. 75
    The problem with Exterminating Angels is that its explanatory side overwhelms its playfully perverse side.
  3. 70
    A luminous picture, beautifully made, loaded with symbolism and mystical-religious imagery, about an artist's self-destructive quest for an unreachable grail. It's also a deliberately prurient spectacle designed to be arousing and troubling -- most viewers, I imagine, will have both reactions at various times (and maybe at the same time).
  4. 70
    One of Mr. Brisseau's subjects is the volatility of desire, the way the path of erotic curiosity can swerve from satisfaction into recrimination and confusion. A porno-philosopher in the venerable French tradition, he blends a frank appeal to the audience's nether regions with some teasing attention to its mind.
  5. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    70
    Brisseau trains his deft camera on the crescendo of female sexual pleasure and how women can heighten the intensity of already blissful sensations via transgressive flourishes. If exiting viewers could all be asked "Was it good for you?" the likely answer is "Yes."
  6. The content may be dubious, but the execution is hypnotic.
  7. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    60
    Alternately provocative and highly silly, the film overcomes its more ludicrous aspects through its glossy visual style, its frequent doses of humor and the obvious associations it evokes to its creator's real-life experiences.
  8. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    60
    One audaciously, endearingly ludicrous movie.
  9. Soft porn for people who like to watch - and want to be punished for it.
  10. 50
    Brisseau obviously aims to shock - and he does. Now shocking is A-OK with me - but only if it's part of a something bigger. Exterminating Angels is beautifully lensed and acted, but it lacks substance.
  11. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    50
    Leave it to the French to take the joy back out of sex. The high-minded erotic drama Exterminating Angels has heat but little light; it speaks of pleasure while treating it as a dirty word. The cast huffs and puffs but the exercise, sadly, remains academic.
  12. The new movie, for all its huffing and puffing, explores very little, even if some of it is sexy in a Howard Stern-meets-"9 1?2Weeks" way.
  13. 50
    The film -- buoyed by its cast of excellent actors -- loses its momentum in the final half-hour when it starts to take itself too seriously.
  14. Unbelievably pretentious and a bit of a hoot but rarely boring.
  15. Reviewed by: Matthew Sorrento
    40
    As ambitious as this alleged art film may appear - the Bunuelian title proves to be more of a starting point than a true allusion - it lacks any introspection to illuminate the erotic subject matter. (Think Michael Bay attempting to remake "Y Tu Mama Tambien.")
  16. Exterminating Angels is meant as an autocritique--and yet the director can't get past his notion of himself as a fearlessly transgressive artist-hero, a martyr to the limitations of male gaze.

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