Up at the Villa


Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31

Critic Reviews

  1. 60
    Impressive supporting cast---, in character parts both expanded and invented, enrich the enterprise.
  2. 60
    The Haases, whose previous films ("Angels and Insects," "The Music of Chance") evinced a remote, unfussy sensibility, are a poor fit for the melodramatic contortions that the story demands.
  3. 60
    Despite his natty wardrobe and calculated sangfroid, Penn doesn't summon up quite the right image.
  4. 60
    Despite the prestigious talents involved, this is strictly "Minor Piece Theatre."
  5. Moderately pleasing adaptation of the W. Somerset Maugham novella.
  6. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    If you're paying close attention, there is reason enough to find Up at the Villa a fascinating experience, almost an experiment in some ways, but it's not a fully realized work of cinema.
  7. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    Somewhere around the beginning of Hour Two, the narrative loses momentum, and Pino Donaggio's molasses-thick score begins to drag everything down with it. The ending also lacks the surprise twist that seems to be promised .
  8. The surprise is how tame and passionless it all seems, particularly after director Philip Haas's fevered "Angels and Insects."
  9. The characters are so conventional that the movie has nowhere interesting to go, even when a corpse complicates affairs.
  10. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    For novelty value, you can do worse than seeing Sean Penn in a rare chance to don evening-wear on screen, but this isn't a sight to sustain a two-hour haul.
  11. Rolling Stone
    Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    It's fun to see Sean Penn portray a playboy, like Bogart in "Casablanca," who hides his true heart behind a layer of cynicism.
  12. 50
    Genteel but ultimately unnecessary entertainment.
  13. It reminds us that Italy is beautiful, that Fascism was a dreadful nuisance and that Sean Penn is a great actor, deserving of better vehicles than this vintage lemon.
  14. 50
    There are a few interesting moments, but basically Up at the Villa is dangerously short of sympathetic characters.
  15. 50
    For all its handsome decor, tasteful restraint and old-fashioned look-and-feel, is a stiff, lacking tension, sizzle, drama, energy, appeal and, finally, purpose.
  16. Politics is almost an afterthought in this balky, attenuated film.
  17. 40
    The plot is more convenient than intriguing, the characters more cartoonish than iconic--especially the heroine, who grapples with feminism in a way that should have been fascinating.
  18. The melodrama of the Maugham original is too simplistic to involve, and the places the film's plot goes are so obvious that even the presence of quality actors can't create sufficient interest.

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