Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Kidman inhabits the lead character of Suzanne Stone (yes, Suzanne Stone) with such sly and delicious zest that we can only wonder why this aspect of her acting has been buried under blonde dramatic ambitions.
  2. 100
    To Die For, sparked by a volcanically sexy and richly comic performance by Kidman that deserves to make her an Oscar favorite, is prime social satire and outrageous fun.
  3. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    100
    Scathingly hilarious...To Die For could be the "Dr. Strangelove" of its genre, a movie that puts even John Waters' somewhat similar "Serial Mom" in the shade.
  4. An irresistible black comedy and a wicked delight. [27 Sept 1995]
  5. 100
    Kidman grabs center stage and never relinquishes the position. Playing mercilessly against her pinup girl image, she's an unforgettable, comic archetype—a more slapsticky corollary to William Hurt's bumbling, handsome newscaster in "Broadcast News."
  6. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    90
    The cast of To Die For is perfect all around, but Kidman trumps them all with a gutsy, uncompromising performance...It's an audacious performance for a movie that dares to be nasty.
  7. Reviewed by: Kathy Fennessey
    90
    Van Sant and crew appear to have had a blast making this film, and I had a blast watching it. The subject matter is very dark and yet it is handled with a very light touch.
  8. The most accurate assault against the media age since "Network," To Die For's killer lines and wicked sensibility are given added poignancy by the off-center, sensitive performance of Joaquin Phoenix, River's younger brother, the only person more deluded about Suzanne than she is about herself.
  9. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    A smart and wicked delight.
  10. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    90
    Brilliantly written by Buck Henry, "To Die For" works on several levels. As a satire on the American obsession with celebrity and fame, the movie is nuanced and haunting. And for the most part, Van Sant keeps the tone chillingly light and ironic.
  11. 88
    Kidman is superb at making Suzanne into someone who is not only stupid, vain and egomaniacal (we've seen that before) but also vulnerably human.
  12. Kidman crafts a characterization of breathtakingly controlled artifice, dead-on timing, dizzyingly precise humor. Her part is a knockout--in every sense of the word. [6 Oct 1995]
  13. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    Not since Tuesday Weld in "Pretty Poison" has an actress so played off her fresh-faced beauty for such pointed black-comic effect.
  14. Giddily impudent in its execution, pummelling in its message, To Die For is finally a comedy black enough for the tabloid television age.
  15. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    80
    Delivers continuous pinpricks of irreverent humor and subversive cultural commentary.
  16. Charting the ruthlessness of an ambitious bimbo telecaster in Little Hope, New Hampshire, this staccato black comedy sustains its brilliant exposition and narration until the plot turns to premeditated murder, complete with hapless and semicoherent teenage accomplices.
  17. A conventional dark comedy with moments of unexpectedly biting wit.
  18. The murder plot is a cheap turn that says nothing about the nature of Suzanne's ambition. Without Suzanne's media-obsession as its focus, To Die For becomes just another fairly good black comedy.
  19. 75
    This movie is no masterpiece, but it is an electric, colorful production that roasts the media and those obsessed by it over an open flame.
  20. The film's most memorable performance is also its most incongruous: As Jimmy, the teen sap who falls hard for Suzanne, Joaquin Phoenix is dead-eyed yet touchingly vulnerable -- a mush-mouthed angel.
  21. Reviewed by: Barbara Shulgasser
    63
    Half snappy, sardonic and incisive and half slow-moving, goofy and dense.
  22. Reviewed by: Harlan Jacobson
    60
    Nicole Kidman does the best work of her career in a character that seems to fit her tighter than pantyhose. Swathed in camera-friendly pastels, she's dead from the neck up (a scene with uncredited George Segal confirms that) but she's got legs like scissors, ambition like a knife, and a will of pure steel.
  23. To Van Sant's credit, let's note that he has evoked more lightness and variety from Kidman, more scrimshaw gesture and inflection than I thought she could muster. [23 Oct 1995]
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. BerthaFox-D.
    Sep 15, 2005
    10
    A hilarious movie. Being from New Hampshire and living through the Pamela Smart trial, this film was a delightful release. It captures the lifestyle of the state and it's class structure in an amazingly accurate way. Remeber, this film was pre-OJ trial! Full Review »
  2. MikeG
    Oct 24, 2005
    2
    A dud. It's a TV movie of the week with a big budget, big stars and larger sets.