Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Set during the mid 1950's in Trinidad, this story is rooted primarily in the Indian community and deals with the thwarted ambitions, frustrations, and ultimate triumphs that are possible in this 'restricted' part of the world. (Merchant Ivory Productions)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. This delicious fable reflects Merchant's great love of language, his delicate visual sense, and his ability to make you think and laugh out loud, often at the very same time.
  2. 80
    A wry, nonjudgmental look at the blind faith and materialistic ambitions permeating the superstitious Indian subculture, though the tone becomes more caustic as the hypocrisy and corruption of colonial politics strip Ganesh of his moral authority. The cast is uniformly excellent.
  3. The result is an eccentric, amusing fable that moves at an unhurried island pace, a picturesque tale that Merchant seems to have invested with an almost personal sense of spirit.
  4. It's only because the performances are so vividly entertaining -- Mandvi and Puri are particularly good -- and the painstakingly reconstructed locations so lovely that the saggier sequences are tolerable.
  5. A small story, with fewer lofty ambitions than its lead character, the film runs out of steam at a certain point. Overall, its leisurely pace and lack of overt action will bore some filmgoers, while the movie's final section, during which Ganesh pursues his political aspirations, feels strangely hurried and less satisfying than the rest of the story.
  6. Reviewed by: Jonathan Perry
    Offers no tangible sense of Ganesh's genuine convictions (beyond a thirst for fame), nor of the essence of his character. By the time Ganesh's political downfall comes, in the same spiritless fashion in which his fortunes rose, it would take a mystic miracle to care.
  7. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    Ismail Merchant's screen adaptation retains much of the novel's incident, but fumbles both the humor and moral ambivalence.

See all 26 Critic Reviews