Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    At the heart of this picturesque fable is a truism so shopworn it can barely stand repeating: It's better to give than to receive.
  2. A miraculous, American-made Hindi film that is every bit as tranquil as the blue-green reservoir that serves as its abiding metaphor.
  3. Smith transfers an Iowa-based short story by Randy Russell to India's western Goa region -- and works in Hindi, primarily with novice actors. The result is a story both authentically specific and profoundly global.
  4. Uplifting without a drop of sap, the tale of a boy's obsession with a glittering swimming pool and how it changes four lives offers numerous pleasures and one of the most satisfying and resonant conclusions to be seen in recent cinema.
  5. In the manner of a Satyajit Ray film, The Pool avoids melodrama, the better to capture the texture of Venkatesh's vagabond life.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Hardy
    Like Anderson, many directors claim to value local color, but few have gone as far, or achieved such impressive results, as has Chris Smith in The Pool.
  7. 83
    It's a funny, sweet-natured humanist character piece.
  8. 80
    A lovely, warm, unforced film that gives you time to get to know its characters and isn't propelled by any artificial narrative conventions,
  9. It's a bit schematic and sweet-natured, perhaps to a fault, yet the faces linger. Smith and his mixture of actors and non-actors remind us that an act of generosity is all it takes to change a life.
  10. 75
    A charming and enjoyable movie.
  11. Except for Patekar, the main actors are nonprofessionals, which works nicely here.
  12. Reviewed by: Stan Hall
    In the end it may amount to little more than an exotic fable, but it is a particularly conscious, wise fable.
  13. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    This heightened consciousness of objects and obligations ballasts the drama-light, class-conscious fable with tactile life.
  14. In its leisurely, exceedingly subtle way, The Pool charts Venkatesh's gradual awakening to the larger world.
  15. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Smith's utterly natural filmmaking there is impressive.
  16. 70
    The result is a vivid portrait, not just of one unforgettable young man but also of a country in transition.
  17. Reviewed by: Zack Haddad
    This simple film can be quite a great diversion from our every day grind. The camera style, characters, and visual look are all quite impressive, while maintaining an easy accessibility for the audience's eyes. It is only too bad that the film feels so sluggish.
  18. Pleasant viewing, but the unbalanced script and amateur performances keep it from being much more than a walk in the park.
  19. Smith ("American Movie") sees the poetry in everyday people, and lets his rambling story find its own rhythm.

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