The Lunchbox Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: A mistaken delivery in Mumbai's famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects a young housewife to an old man in the dusk of his life as they build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox. Gradually, this fantasy threatens to overwhelm their reality.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Apr 1, 2014
    100
    Kaur and Khan, who was robbed of a IIFA nod, scarcely share a frame of The Lunchbox, yet the emotional connection of their characters is palpable.
  2. Reviewed by: Mary Houlihan
    Mar 7, 2014
    88
    The Lunchbox,” Indian director Ritesh Batra’s debut, is a witty and perceptive film that reveals the hopes, sorrows and regrets of ordinary people.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 28, 2014
    83
    The Lunchbox, the debut feature from Indian director Ritesh Batra, has such a sweet premise that I sincerely hope it doesn’t get remade with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
  4. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Jan 20, 2014
    75
    Batra's film is ultimately less about love than about the vulnerability relationships place us in emotionally, and courage required to move past pain, and experience life again after we've been hurt.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 3, 2014
    75
    The debut creation of director Ritesh Batra, it’s a lovely little film from a place where the little things linger.
  6. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Feb 27, 2014
    75
    It’s neorealist corn, but it gets to you.
  7. Reviewed by: Matt Maytum
    Apr 7, 2014
    60
    First-time writer/director Ritesh Batra deserves credit for mining gently captivating drama from a pitch that could have just ended with passive-aggressive Post-its left on the office fridge.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Mar 8, 2014
    10
    Irrfan plays an accountant named Saajan Fernandez, based in Mumbai, who has been working day and night for years on files that now line his desk in hordes. His life is essentially as dry as the pencil lines he draws on paper while managing numbers. Having food from a restaurant during the lunch break; having a cigarette right before getting on the Mumbai local after work; reaching home to packed food from a restaurant, again; and finally smoking one more time before calling it a day - are things that Fernandez's day from the start to finish. Until one day, he gets a lunch box which is not his. A little mix-up leaves him with a lunch box packed with homemade food. One can tell. Nimrat Kaur plays Ila, a housewife and a mother. She cooks scrumptuous dishes that she hope will revive the magic between her husband and her. Only one day she realises the lunch box didn't reach her husband. And, so, begins the ritual of little notes resting atop a pile of 'rotis' in the lunch box. New hope - that holds a secret promise - springs up in both Fernandez's and Ila's lives. What ensues between these two characters is something that can't be given a tag - the relationship is too delicate for that to happen. It's almost as if the movie never ends. You walk out of the movie hall and the film continues with you. How it ends changes with your life experience. The Lunchbox is the best indian movie of the year. A sweet and absorbing drama from start to finish. Expand
  2. Apr 27, 2014
    10
    Very good film. With sensitive humour.
    For a first time film it is very good. Every critics web site give to the film a very good note.
    A
    true masterpiece. Expand
  3. Mar 29, 2014
    7
    When tasting someone else’s food for the first time, there is always a bit of a risk–whether the food will be satisfactory or not. Will it quench that craving of delight and hunger? Will it sit in your stomach well? The same can be said for film, especially when dealing with a debut director who only has small, difficult to find short-films that are usually discovered by acciedent or through scouring the web for elongated periods of time. Thankfully, The Lunchbox is a pleasantly packed surprise of a film.

    It’s been a long time since I have anticipated a small independent film that looks to be a happy-go-lucky telling of real people dealing with very real everyday issues. For the most part, so many independent foreign films today are embedded in the world of deep tragedy, pain, and suffering. The Lunchbox is a refreshing and unique gem of a movie filmed on location in Mumbai, India. Although the trailer of the film promises a feel-good premise with the chance of a realistic happy ending, the film instead opts for ambiguity and a chance for hope, another very strong yet common characteristic of independent foreign films.

    The main incantation of The Lunchbox is that, “sometimes the wrong train, will get you to the right station”, with a few unexpected stops along the way. Although the film did not fully exceed my expectations and offer a truly unique, foreign experience, the film is still an essential viewing for people with a hard to please foreign appetite.

    The Lunchbox is a complete sensory film experience. From the moment Saajan Fernandes (the irreplaceable Irrfan Khan) receives his new green lunch surprise full of culinary wonder, he revels in its delicious smell, almost eating his food with his nose. The green lunchbox of wonder that Sajaan receives comes from the magical hands of Ila (the wondrously beautiful Nimrat Kaur). Ila, whose new life as a content housewife, finds very simple pleasure in her everyday duties as a wife and mother; such as the entertaining stories of her unseen Auntie who lives atop her, the longing of her husband’s love and affection and the confidence knowing that she prepares a lunch for her husband that is both tasty and nutritious. Unfortunately for her, Ila’s husband Rajeev (Nakul Vaid) spends more time at work, in front of his cellphone, and attending to the needs of his profession, never really giving Ila and their daughter any attention.

    When we first meet Saajan, he is a closed off, lonely man intent on being left alone. Pushing papers and working almost unseen by his employees and the world around him for the last thirty-five years, his world is nudged ever so slightly when he is tasked by his boss to train a new employee, Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who will be taking his spot as he nears retirement. At first, Saajan avoids Shaikh, making a run for it as soon as his shift ends, and diverting the young, enthusiastic Shaikh to mindless duties. As time passes, the wrongly delivered lunches continuously make their way to Saajan, he allows happiness and change to enter his life, allowing him to warm up to Shaikh, as they connect and bond over sharing the miraculous lunch which leads to a healthy friendship for the two co-workers.

    The film teaches that everyday all over the world people are connected in ways we cannot begin to imagine until we get to know them. First time feature film director Ritesh Batra may not be as discreet with his foreshadowing of people’s kindred spirits, but nonetheless, his efforts are met with an open-minded happiness and joy that such a filmmaker exists. Set in the hustling-bustling centre of one of the most populated cities in the world, this small film focuses on the chance relationship between a man and a woman who are both searching for new meaning in their constantly disappointing lives.

    Both main characters offer us a very sensible look into the lives of men and women in India; the life of a working man in an office; and the life of a domesticated, elegantly unappreciated and beautiful housewife. As the two individuals continue to send letters to one another using the lunchbox as their own personal express-mail system, sharing their inners thoughts, secrets, and discontents with life, they begin a special bond that allows them to enact many of the unwanted desires that allows each of them to better one another’s lives. Both Saajan and Ila lead lonely lives, bound to each of their own desks (one an actual desk, the other a kitchen counter top), they use one another bravery and resilience to accept a mundane life for a chance at happiness, which is all you can ask from any piece of art.

    The Lunchbox is a tiny little film that asks, ‘what do we live for?’. Do we live to attend to and please others, packed into an existence that can be easily replaced by a catering service or another employee? Or are we meant for something greater?
    Expand
  4. Mar 10, 2014
    7
    Even though some consider this movie a romantic comedy I found very little comedy in it. It is a very sad and melancholic movie about lonely people in a huge city. One may be packed with millions of other people in overcrowded Mumbai but be all alone. The movie drastically differs from those that Bollywood produces, it is deep and delicate, more like a French one but so un-mistakenly Indian. A bit too slow but overall very well made. Expand
  5. Lyn
    Jul 7, 2014
    7
    I recently watched the last season of 'In Treatment" -- in which one of Gabriel Byrne's tormented patients in therapy is played by Irrfan Khan -- and was struck again by his riveting presence in this film. He is mournful, wry, intelligent, dark, hopeless, hopeful, all conveyed with such subtlety. The touching interactions between his character and the lovely woman who prepares his mistakenly delivered food have a "You've Got Mail" (or "The Shop Around the Corner") quality. Yet they might not lead where you expect. Expand
  6. Jul 13, 2014
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Lovely movie. Two lonely people get to know each other through notes in a lunchbox sent to the wrong office. It was somewhat slow, but that gave it a sweet, contemplative rhythm, and the crowded street and subway scenes in Mumbai were a wonderful contrast to the isolation of the main characters. Best was Irrfan Kahn, a brilliant, soulful actor who lit up the movie with his expressive face. Next best--the Indian food. I loved the notion of a lunchbox from home with a bunch of different homecooked dishes. Wish I could get one of those delivered to me. No sandwiches here. What I hated: the ending. C'mon, the characters should have at least met--maybe not run off together, but the trains passing in the night ending was extremely frustrating. Expand
  7. May 10, 2014
    6
    “The Lunchbox” is an Indian film starring Irrfran Khan and Mimrat Kaur. Directed by Ritash Batra. The film got rave reviews from the major papers and periodicals as well as some word of mouth recommendations from people we know. The question I must ask is “why?” This is one of those films where a great idea is executed poorly, mostly because of the poor writing and the illogical circumstances that take place and the difficulty in trying to follow exactly what the characters are and will be doing. In spite of a few dozes during the film, I was sorry to see the credits come on so rapidly because it left me in the cloud of not knowing how the characters resolve or don’t resolve their issues. I give the film a 6 and hope that those who do see it will get more out of it than I did. Expand