Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Stylish, ingenious and gleaming with charm, wit and malice, it's another expert blend of domestic drama and crime thriller, a vivisection of the bourgeoisie.
  2. Chabrol's filmmaking has rarely seemed more assured, elegant, and intelligent.
  3. The discreet stink of the bourgeoisie perfumes the wonderfully mordant, dry-eyed family saga, The Flower of Evil.
  4. Reviewed by: Patrick Peters
    Stealing the show is Suzanne Flon's immaculate display as the matriarch whose good-natured indulgence of her ghastly relations belies a guilty secret. Mercilessly acute and quietly devastating.
  5. It's a melodrama more than a drama, a light thriller –- which is not to say that it is not wonderfully entertaining and satisfying. In fact, it is both.
  6. This is another gratifying gem from a master.
  7. 75
    I feel such an affection for Chabrol and his work that I probably can't see The Flower of Evil as it would be experienced by a first-time viewer. Would that newcomer note the elegance, the confidence, the sheer joy in the way he treasures the banalities of bourgeois life on his way to the bloodshed?
  8. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    No one can quite capture that decay -- the guilty conscience that can freeze the blood of even the most reputable of France's bourgeois families -- better than Chabrol, and this the master at his best.
  9. 70
    For all its aloof indirectness, The Flower Of Evil wants little more than to sling another arrow at the bourgeoisie, something Chabrol has done with greater flair on many other occasions.
  10. 70
    Not to imply that our Claude's gone native, but here his unabiding fascination with bourgie-style repetition compulsion bears some resemblance to sympathy.
  11. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    A terrific multigenerational cast brings a subtle, mordant, frequently funny tale of family secrets vividly to life.
  12. The latest Chabrol is a bit bland, but by now a new film of his is almost like meeting a previously unencountered family member.
  13. If you can figure out all the intricate and incestuous family backstory of this domestic melodrama by Claude Chabrol, there's a certain amount to appreciate, though most of this is more cerebral than emotional.
  14. 67
    On face value, The Flower of Evil is pure Chabrol, but it lacks the power he brings to human relations and social classes, where often violent, masochistic themes are explored. But that doesn't mean he's done as an artist.
  15. 63
    May not be everyone's favored bloom in the garden, but it is still a fine work on film.
  16. While it's not quite as satisfying as Chabrol's underappreciated "Merci pour le chocolat" (2000), it's still nasty fun at the expense of the upper middle class.
  17. Elaborately establishes a mood but fails to deliver a dramatic payoff.
  18. 63
    If 'The Flower of Evil' is not vintage Claude Chabrol, it's at least vintage mediocre Claude Chabrol.
  19. 60
    Wanders rather than moves chillingly toward its climax.
  20. Chabrol has been making and remaking this film for six decades now. He seemingly will never tire of explaining how tired he is of the petit bourgeoisie.
  21. 50
    It's a drawn-out look at politics that's largely devoid of the trademark humor that long ago got New Wave veteran Chabrol labeled the Gallic Hitchcock.
  22. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    You've heard this one before, and in an edgier way -- yet you still admire the old-fashioned storytelling.
  23. There are some wonderful performances and lovely unadorned moments in The Flower of Evil when the movie is not drowning its viewers in its doomed fragrance.
  24. This movie is a mixed repast: good food and wine laced with enough misanthropic poison to turn any stomach.

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