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. It's a sinuous, bittersweet odyssey, and although the filmmaking lacks finesse, the actors, especially Mandvi, with his bright, sorrowful beauty, and the great Om Puri, who plays Ganesh's father-in-law with an infernal crankiness, are always worth watching.
  6. The pace is slow and the story neither takes off nor arrives anywhere.
  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