Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 31 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: When small-time cheat Roy Dillon (Cusack) winds up in the hospital following an unsuccessful scam, it sets up a confrontation between his estranged mother Lilly (Huston) and sexy girlfriend Myra (Bening). Both Lilly and Myra are ruthless confidence artists playing the con game in a leagueWhen small-time cheat Roy Dillon (Cusack) winds up in the hospital following an unsuccessful scam, it sets up a confrontation between his estranged mother Lilly (Huston) and sexy girlfriend Myra (Bening). Both Lilly and Myra are ruthless confidence artists playing the con game in a league far above Roy ... and always looking for their next victim. The question soon becomes who's conning who as Roy finds himself caught in a complicated web of passion and mistrust. (Miramax) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. The Grifters moves with swift unsentimental resolve toward a last act as bleak as any in recent American screen literature. In a less skillful work, it would be a downer. The Grifters is so good that one leaves the theater on a spellbound high. [5 Dec 1990]
  2. The movie is pulp, yet it attains a surprising emotional power-especially when Anjelica Huston's Lilly, a survivor who'll do whatever it takes to master her surroundings, is on-screen.
  3. 100
    The performances are all insidiously powerful.
  4. Indeed, as the film unreels to its extraordinary climax - a scene that will make your skin crawl - Frears has the larger target right in his sights and, bang, pulls the thematic trigger, taking no prisoners.
  5. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    80
    [Huston] brings a vital conviction to her scenes; they're scorchingly immediate, and her ability to get in sync with what Lily's feeling is what gives the movie weight. She may be the best we have.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    70
    Best to savor The Grifters for its handsome design -- the picture looks as clean as a Hockney landscape -- and its juicy performances. [11 Feb 1991]
  7. While the filmmakers manage to keep things interesting (sexy, kinky, and ambiguous) much of the time, the self-conscious piety that Frears lavishes on this material places it in an uncertain netherworld that prevents it from ever becoming fully convincing, even as a stylistic exercise.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jun 20, 2012
    7
    An indie crime-drama fixes on a veiled Oedipus complex relationship between a mother and his son, which also involves another pivotal figure,An indie crime-drama fixes on a veiled Oedipus complex relationship between a mother and his son, which also involves another pivotal figure, the son's femme fatale girlfriend. One background consensus is that they are all grifters, while the mother is an old-hander, the girlfriend is a slutty self-seeker, they are pros, bar the son is just a small-time crook and being too righteous to go down with the swindle business, what Expand

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