The Saddest Music in the World

The Saddest Music in the World Image
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: It's 1933 in Winnipeg and the Great Depression is in full bloom. Beer Baroness Lady Port-Huntly (Rossellini) announces a global competition to determine the saddest music in the world, and musicians from across the globe pour into town to vie for the whopping $25,000 prize. Part musicalIt's 1933 in Winnipeg and the Great Depression is in full bloom. Beer Baroness Lady Port-Huntly (Rossellini) announces a global competition to determine the saddest music in the world, and musicians from across the globe pour into town to vie for the whopping $25,000 prize. Part musical melodrama, part tongue-in-cheek social satire, Guy Maddin's expressionistic film achieves a level of lunacy rarely seen since the Marx Brothers. (IFC Films) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. A deliciously weirded-out picture by Guy Maddin, a deliciously weirded-out Canadian filmmaker.
  2. Hard to say who's luckier -- those who have seen the work of Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin before and know what to expect, or those who haven't and for whom The Saddest Music in the World serves as an eye-popping introduction.
  3. The movie occasionally continues on too long with certain scenes and may strain the sensibilities of anybody not caught up in its delirious visuals and melodrama, but The Saddest Music in the World nevertheless beckons with a seductive and unforgettable melody.
  4. 80
    Because everything is funny and nothing provides a punchline, audiences may be too shell-shocked to laugh--you know you're in Maddinville when individual cackles detonate at unexpected intervals.
  5. Too much of this fantasy is filled out with artsy folderol, but it's a movie like no other--except, maybe, one by Guy Maddin.
  6. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    70
    I am casting no aspersions on the director when I say that The Saddest Music in the World is a work of manic depression. The mania is there in the frenzied editing, the inability to concentrate on a detail for more than a few seconds; and the depression is there in the forcible lowering of spirits. [10 May 2004, p. 107]
  7. 40
    The visual originality of The Saddest Music is deceiving: Narratively and spiritually, the movie is bankrupt, even though it's so packed with stuff (including a set of shapely prosthetic glass legs filled with dazzling, fizzy beer) that you can hardly bring yourself to believe that it all adds up to nothing.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 4 out of 13
  1. ChadS.
    Nov 4, 2005
    9
    "The Saddest Music in the World" just might be the most quotable comedy since "This is Spinal Tap". You won't get any spoilers from me. "The Saddest Music in the World" just might be the most quotable comedy since "This is Spinal Tap". You won't get any spoilers from me. See this film and enjoy them firsthand. Director Guy Maddin is a visual genius, but then again, maybe he just seems so because there's nobody else replicating the thirties-era films we ignore on Turner Classic Movies to compare him with. Serbia, in a modern context, isn't a funny country to poke fun at, but this film is set in the early-thirties, so the sight of the entire world collaborating with America against a sad cello-playing Serb is hillarious because he's so deliciously pathetic in his black mourning clothes. Because the film is absurdist, it's okay to laugh at his pickled dead son's heart in a jar of self-shedded tears, and yet it still manages a level of poignancy. That same aggregate of comedy and tragedy also applies to the relationship between Lady Port-Hurtly(Isabella Rossellini) and Chester's father, whose invention is so boombastic, it would make a pimp want to cut off his own legs. "The Saddest Music in the World" will take your breath away. Maddin makes Tarrantino seem conventional. Expand
  2. SpongeeeK.
    Dec 15, 2005
    9
    Unique film to say the least. Cinematography was crafty and the dark comedy and social satire were just right. I think you either get this Unique film to say the least. Cinematography was crafty and the dark comedy and social satire were just right. I think you either get this film or you dont. Sorry for those who didnt get it...youre missing out on a classic. Expand

See all 13 User Reviews

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