Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
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  1. Reviewed by: Meredith Brody
    Every frame is dense with life, with children and animals running in and out, yet it's not messy. Instead it's highly focused--and something of a small masterpiece.
  2. Vital and alive. Frustration and malaise rumble through every richly textured frame, but behind it all is a restlessness and a desire for something better.
  3. 90
    For better or worse, the filmmaker says nothing directly political about the cruel fate suffered by her people, but the dark poetry of her allusions is powerful.
  4. Martel's sharp observations of the foibles of human nature are expressed perfectly in the telling images of cinematographer Hugo Colace and tight editing of Santiago Ricci.
  5. As La Ciénaga perspires from the screen, it creates a vision of social malaise that feels paradoxically familiar and new.
  6. Reviewed by: Patrick Z. McGavin
    Argentinean filmmaker Lucrecia Martel takes fundamental risks with form and style, and it pays off brilliantly.
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Martel can barely contain her disgust, and like Bunuel before her, she knows just when to cut the laughs and go straight for the throat.
  8. There's a new sensibility at work here, wry yet lushly disaffected, and it will be worth watching what Martel does next.
  9. 80
    Martel's off-the-cuff candor and intelligent eye for the quietly telling detail charts the progressive rot not only of a family, but of an entire social class.
  10. 80
    A veritable Chekhov tragicomedy of provincial life.
  11. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    An atmospheric and cumulatively impressive feature-length debut from Argentine writer-director Lucrecia Martel.
  12. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    The triumph of La Cienaga lies in Martel's way of fashioning the kind of ensemble performance that draws us in by convincing us we're watching behavior, not acting.
  13. 75
    It's better to know going in that you're not expected to be able to fit everything together, that you may lose track of some members of the large cast, that it's like attending a family reunion when it's not your family and your hosts are too drunk to introduce you around.
  14. A fascinating, damning picture of bourgeois boredom that manages to be both epic and intimate at the same time.
  15. Doesn't necessarily make for a crowdpleasing experience, though it is a provocative and uncomfortably authentic one.
  16. The title means "The Swamp," and you may feel you're in one after 103 minutes with such a generally unlikable gang.
  17. 50
    It may take a scorecard to keep track of the complicated relationships in this sorry clan.
  18. It sounds churlish to argue that a movie can have too much integrity for its own good, but that's exactly the problem with La Ciénaga.

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