Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 32
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 32
  3. Negative: 0 out of 32

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Told with wit, genuine poignancy and all kinds of humor, Venus charts the unlikely relationship between a man in his 70s and a young woman more than half a century his junior.
  2. 100
    A sublime meditation that is one of this year's wisest, warmest and funniest films.
  3. 100
    Venus is a magnificent tribute to actors by filmmakers who know they are the essential human material of theater and the screen.
  4. 91
    A man can be a treasure just as a work of art can be, and O'Toole is one of the handful of living film actors worthy of a museum of his own. Venus would make a brilliant final exhibit.
  5. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    A heartbreaking comedy that is simultaneously funny and sad, raunchy and sweet, funky and elegiac. These fresh, unexpected juxtapositions are a specialty of the writer Hanif Kureishi ("My Beautiful Laundrette"), a sworn enemy of cliché.
  6. 90
    Venus may be a leering male fantasy, but it is also, improbably but persuasively, a love story as tender as it is transgressive. It's a wry celebration of the tyranny of beauty, and the tragicomic way in which desire outruns the betrayals of dying flesh.
  7. 90
    Venus belongs to O'Toole. This is, hands down, my favorite performance of the year, largely because I love the way O'Toole (and the filmmakers) refuse to yield to the all-too-pervasive idea that it's "icky" for old people to even think about sex.
  8. 89
    The quiet respect Venus displays toward lions in winter, defanged though they may be, is rare enough; the film's respect for unfinessed lionesses-to-be is rarer still. Wherever they're going, no one here is going quietly.
  9. Peter O'Toole, looking frail beyond his 74 years, gives what may be his farewell performance as a leading movie actor in Roger Michell's Venus. It's one for the books - and maybe the Oscars, too.
  10. Peter O'Toole, still a British cinematic lion at 74, performs another movie miracle in the Roger Michell-Hanif Kureishi film Venus.
  11. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Venus is rollickingly funny at times -- but there's an undercurrent of extraordinarily clear-eyed sadness.
  12. The great thing about Venus - apart from its sharp eye for the daily routines and drab details of senior citizenry in a buzzing metropolis - is that it isn't soppy, or sentimental.
  13. The screenplay is by Hanif Kureishi, who wrote "The Mother" for Michell and also scripted the classic "My Beautiful Laundrette." He has a feeling for outsiders.
  14. 83
    O'Toole is frail and probably won't make many more movies. So Venus is pitched partly as a fond farewell to a beloved artist, and his whole beautiful generation.
  15. Venus is the second film from director Roger Michell and writer Hanif Kureishi to explore the sexual lives of folk that the movies treat as sexless -- the elderly. But where "The Mother" was a cold film of sexual greed and emotional pettiness, this robust yet delicate comic drama finds a kind of dignity in the old lothario whose vital life force struggles against a failing body.
  16. 80
    Maurice, the protagonist of Venus, is a suit lovingly tailored to O'Toole's ravaged but commanding frame.
  17. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Awash in terrific performances.
  18. 80
    Since the movie is about desire -- not so much for sex as for the vitality and surprise that sex can provide -- it is also about power. Few writers can match Mr. Kureishi's knowing wit on this subject, or his skill at dissecting the shifting dynamics of longing and domination.
  19. Director Roger Michell and writer Hanif Kureishi take a deeper, edifying interest in the moral ambiguities that arise between Maurice and Jessie. And thanks to our warm investment in both characters, we're more than willing to sign up for this existential ride. We allow this relationship -- and the movie -- to take us places we'd never usually go.
  20. This comedy drama is an exercise in self-indulgence for O'Toole, but an enjoyable and touching one.
  21. Reviewed by: Alan Morrison
    A screen-acting showcase by a man whose best days, many thought, were behind him. There's life in the old dog yet.
  22. 80
    The amazing thing about Venus is that it's brutally honest about all this but at the same time funny as hell.
  23. 75
    O'Toole gives a staggering performance -- fearless, defiantly untamed and in its own way a work of art.
  24. 75
    This is a brave movie because it addresses a subject Hollywood feels uncomfortable about.
  25. Though O'Toole, whose ruined beauty Michell emphasizes in frequent and tight close-ups, and newcomer Whittaker have a striking rapport, the film's most haunting moments pair him with Vanessa Redgrave -- amazingly, this is their first movie together -- as his ex-wife. They evoke a lifetime of love, betrayal, regret and forgiveness in the space of a few lines, then move on without missing a beat.
  26. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Peter O'Toole's tour-de-force performance makes Venus a movie not to be missed.
  27. The suggestion that Peter O'Toole is playing some version of his real self in Venus adds a bittersweet poignancy to this quietly affecting British drama.
  28. Like similar English comedies, it also teeters on the mawkish.
  29. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Genuinely funny, randy and moving by turns, breezily enjoyable throughout.
  30. Venus is worth seeing for the scenes between O’Toole and Vanessa Redgrave as the woman he abandoned--the mother of his children.
  31. Venus has a swank pedigree, but in this case that doesn't mean it's much more than a quaint machine to elicit tears and awards.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. LindaL.
    Jun 5, 2007
    I was braced for something sad and a little icky. Yes and yes, but "Venus" also is wise and touching and funny. It really makes you think I was braced for something sad and a little icky. Yes and yes, but "Venus" also is wise and touching and funny. It really makes you think about what's important in life. Also I want to mention the soundtrack -- the music of Corinne Bailey Rae is wonderfully enjoyable. Full Review »
  2. SuzanneA.
    Feb 10, 2007
    Deeply touching, beautifully written, magnificently acted.
  3. AnnC.
    Jan 28, 2007
    A delight, funny, poignant, film, a master class in acting.