Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jul 11, 2014
    100
    Wickedly smart and wickedly playful, Roman Polanski's adaptation of David Ives' Tony-nominated Venus in Fur works on so many levels, it's almost dizzying.
  2. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jul 3, 2014
    90
    It is a caustic, comic, cerebral romp for a long time before it hits you with its best shot — some Polanski-worthy darkness.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jun 17, 2014
    90
    Polanski orchestrates this cat-and-mouse game with devilish delight, dancing around Ives's play as if it were a pagan bonfire, jabbing at it with his figurative pitchfork.
  4. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jun 18, 2014
    83
    Polanski isn’t a miracle worker. Venus In Fur works where the facile "Carnage" largely didn’t because the play itself is something of a delight — a straightforward but sharply comic twofer about roleplaying and control-based relationships (be they artistic, romantic, or otherwise). The casting, too, is impeccable.
  5. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jun 23, 2014
    80
    Miraculously, he (Polanski) brightens the faded material, and conjures his most graceful work in years.
  6. 80
    Venus in Fur is both kinky and can pass as a form of self-flagellation. One additional, not-small thing: It allows him to demonstrate, with a minimum of means, his superb craftsmanship.
  7. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jun 20, 2014
    80
    Above all else, Venus in Fur is a sharp, sexy comedy (adapted by Ives and Polanski from a translation by Abel Gerschenfeld) performed by two superb and superbly in-tune actors, and directed with a sure hand by a filmmaker who’s clearly not cowed by the challenge of blowing up a two-person chamber piece for the screen.
  8. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jun 19, 2014
    80
    What is beyond dispute is the sheer exuberant virtuosity Ms. Seigner and Mr. Amalric bring to the material.
  9. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jun 17, 2014
    80
    Like :Carnage,: it’s a bit of a minor lark until a deliciously grotesque finale pushes it into the realm of such kinkily profound Polanski films as: Cul-de-sac: (1966) and "The Tenant" (1976). By that point, you can’t help but submit to the perversity.
  10. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    May 30, 2014
    80
    As the actors move fluidly between various states, shedding one skin while assuming another, Polanski makes this subversive parlour game matter.
  11. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    May 27, 2013
    80
    There’s a masterfully light touch at work, both from the director and his two wonderful actors. They make this chamber piece lip-smacking entertainment, giving the dense text the semblance of more intellectual heft or sexual transgression than it ultimately contains.
  12. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Jul 11, 2014
    75
    This may not be Roman Polanski’s finest movie; it may not even be his best adaptation of a play. But it’s masterfully done in a way that does justice to its source material.
  13. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jul 10, 2014
    75
    “Venus in Fur,” the 2010 David Ives play that conquered off-Broadway in 2010 and Broadway in 2011, has been thoroughly and maliciously Romanized.
  14. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jul 10, 2014
    75
    Pay attention to the camera, and you will see that Polanski is a clinician. He is in the thrall of no one.
  15. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Jun 20, 2014
    75
    The sexual tension in Venus in Fur acquires a few specifically Polanski-esque layers.
  16. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jun 18, 2014
    75
    It isn’t quite as clever as it thinks. This is one of those man-written feminist parables that looks an awful lot like a Penthouse art director’s idea of a feminist parable.
  17. 75
    As slight as Venus feels, it’s just titillating enough to matter, just twisted enough — Really, casting your wife and a guy who looks like you? — to suggest that even in his 70s, even with virtually no budget, Polanski can deliver a compelling walk on the kinky side.
  18. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Apr 22, 2014
    75
    After years of respectable filmmaking, it's refreshing to witness a reinvigorated Roman Polanski willing to once again delve deep into seedy psychodrama.
  19. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Jun 18, 2014
    70
    Polanski’s direction of Venus In Fur is masterful—a pleasure in and of itself—but Seigner is the star attraction here, giving one of the best performances of her distinguished career.
  20. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Oct 23, 2013
    70
    Despite being very much a “filmed play” it doesn’t come across as too theatrical. Polanski uses plenty of close-ups and keeps the action moving.
  21. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    May 27, 2013
    70
    A delightfully intricate battle of wits and wills in which the question of who’s directing/seducing/torturing whom remains constantly shifting open to interpretation.
  22. Reviewed by: Steve Davis
    Sep 3, 2014
    67
    Casting Seigner in the coveted role of Vanda in this adaptation of David Ives’ Tony-winning play may strike some as nepotistic (she’s married to director Polanski), but her performance stands on its own. It’s deliciously self-conscious.
  23. Reviewed by: Kerry Lengel
    Jul 11, 2014
    60
    The performances are certainly compelling.
  24. Reviewed by: John Bleasdale
    May 30, 2014
    60
    At its very best his Venus in Fur is a clever and often comical two-hander, with Amalric and Seigner both giving tour de force performances.
  25. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    May 26, 2014
    60
    Polanski’s unavoidably stagy adaptation of David Ives’ celebrated Broadway play is an enjoyably witty two-hander, confined to its theatre setting, yet with much to say about gender roles in the world beyond.
  26. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    May 27, 2013
    60
    This is a fun piece of play-acting for as long as it lasts, but it never quite feels like much more. Things may become kinky in front of the lens, but you can sense Polanski lurking behind it throughout, always ready with his safe-word. Cut!
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    May 27, 2013
    60
    Venus In Fur is a playful if occasionally heavy-handed jeu d'ésprit on the subject of sexual role-play, the games we all play, illusion and reality, and directing as a sexual act.
  28. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 5, 2014
    58
    The film has a creepy allure but, as movies featuring full-bore sexual gamesmanship often do, it wears thin.
  29. Reviewed by: Joe McGovern
    Jun 19, 2014
    58
    What is surprising is how little Polanski juices the material with his usual devilish touch.
  30. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Aug 14, 2014
    50
    The exploration of gender politics grows tedious as the gender dynamic between the two leads reverses, and the same points are hammered home again and again.
  31. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Jun 20, 2014
    50
    Too bad it isn't a wickeder, subtler, more imaginative movie.
  32. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    May 27, 2013
    50
    With the themes of this play not exactly subtle or delicate, particularly at the climax, it all becomes a bit grating -- inescapable in its heavy-handedness.
  33. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jun 19, 2014
    20
    Polanski views things so mischievously that the naughtiness is neutered long before sniveling Thomas is tied to a pole. He’s a captive not only to Vanda, but also to all the dull, reductive mind games.
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Aug 28, 2014
    4
    Thomas, played by Mathieu Amalric, is a play writer who cannot find a good director to direct his plays. Hence, he decides to direct his ownThomas, played by Mathieu Amalric, is a play writer who cannot find a good director to direct his plays. Hence, he decides to direct his own play but he becomes frustrated when none of the auditioned actresses is capable of pulling out the main role. Sitting alone late at night in a theater, a new actress, Vanda, played by Emmanuelle Seigner, walks in as he is about to close and leave. Vanda seems to have no idea what the script is about and is old for the role but Thomas auditions her.

    As they read more of the play, Vanda's talent shows up. She incrementally gains control over her performance, stage, and even Thomas, who is the director and ultimate arbiter. As the audition progresses, the line between reality and the theatrical performance blurs out. The events in the play find ties to the events in the real life of Thomas and he hands over control of the stage to Vanda who emerges as goddess.

    Toward the end of the movie, Thomas finds a change to gain the control back and drive the audition (and his real life which is completely intermingled with the play at this point) but Vanda cunningly flips the role and retain the control.

    The power dynamics between Vanda and Thomas are interesting subjects to ponder on but the movie does not give any clue on what they mean. Deciphering of hidden messages in the movie is left completely to the viewer. Questions about this movie can linger in your mind for days after watching it.

    Performances in Venus in Fur are great and the blurring of reality and fantasy is interesting but the movie is lofty for the general audience and pointless for the critics. I cannot imagine what type of audience may enjoy this movie.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 8, 2014
    8
    It's wonderful to see a film that knows exactly what it wants to be with no pretensions towards greatness. VENUS IN FUR is pure adultIt's wonderful to see a film that knows exactly what it wants to be with no pretensions towards greatness. VENUS IN FUR is pure adult entertainment that takes total pleasure in the magnificence of acting. Emmanuelle Seigner is so delicious, loopy, sexy, funny, mean that it hurts (pun intended). Although created for the New York stage, director Roman Polanski totally inserts himself into the action via actor Mathieu Amalric who once again delivers a wonderful screen performance to match Seigner's. The play attempts to take on more than it can chew at the end as the explanations fly but actually the film is much better than that. The point is clear. No explanation needed. It is all overt enough. There is no real depth to VENUS IN FUR, it's about the magic of acting and the world we create around ourselves. Full Review »
  3. Jul 6, 2014
    8
    With so many films feeling so flat and homogenized, it's refreshing to experience a film with such energetic and complex performances. MathieuWith so many films feeling so flat and homogenized, it's refreshing to experience a film with such energetic and complex performances. Mathieu Amalric and especially, Emmanuelle Seigner are so engaging, you almost forget that you are essentially watching a filmed play. Full Review »