Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. 88
    Hartley's debut deserves heralding; he combines a rigorous social conscience with the exuberance of fresh comic thinking.
  2. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    The Unbelievable Truth captivates with its committedly off-center vision of suburban angst.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    It’s drifty, dreamy quality that, contrary to the film’s indie-cool ingredients, makes it eminently watchable and modern.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Brown
    The unbelievable truth about The Unbelievable Truth is that this offbeat, accomplished darkish comedy is the feature film debut of its writer-director-editor-producer Hal Hartley, and lead actors Adrienne Shelly and Robert Burke.
  5. 75
    What makes the film fun is the deadpan, tongue-in-cheek humor that undermines the seemingly sincere dramatic scenes.
  6. As an antic romantic comedy it's fresh and actually gets somewhere. [17 Aug 1990]
  7. Reviewed by: Caryn James
    Mr. Hartley and his director of photography, Michael Spiller, have made a film that is visually and verbally much richer than its low budget.
  8. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    The Unbelievable Truth is a promising, reasonably engaging first feature of the art school film variety. Very consciously designed and stylized in all departments, pic has a minor-key feel to it.
  9. 70
    A jumble of subplots and suppositions, The Unbelievable Truth ultimately comes together as suburban farce in a door-banging conclusion to all the wild speculation.
  10. The Unbelievable Truth is just that - epistemology served up with pop panache and a comic twist. [27 Jul 1990]
  11. The unvarnished quality of some of the acting limits this effort in spots, but the quirky originality of the story, characters, and filmmaking keeps one alert and curious.
  12. Reviewed by: Stephen Hunter
    Hartley is grasping at, and only fitfully achieving, an overall tone of mordancy - formally called "black humor" - rather than believability. [25 Oct 1990]
  13. 50
    If the film's diffidence is its greatest charm, it is also, in the end, its greatest limitation-it's a movie that seems afraid to declare itself, to make the big move that might propel it from the pleasant to the memorable. [03 Aug 1990]
  14. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    While Hartley, who made this movie on a shoestring budget, has avant on his mind, he's not nuanced enough to quite pull it off. [03 Aug 1990]

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