Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37

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Critic Reviews

  1. The film is at times harrowing to watch, yet it's also wry and delicate and absorbing. It's infused with the messy excitement of imperfect passion.
  2. 90
    Naomi Watts is a tremendous movie actress. She need only sidle on camera and glance over the terrain to claim the scene. What's her secret? Like the great Isabelle Huppert, Watts doesn't radiate feelings so much as she absorbs them.
  3. 90
    It is worthy of comparison to the lifelike, character-rich films we cherish from that era (1970s), and is certainly one of the finest films to come out this year.
  4. 90
    Easily the best American movie so far this year.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    A revelation. One rarely sees American-made movies that are so unafraid to explore emotional cruelty and portray the consequences without positing easy answers or attaching happy endings.
  6. Director John Curran has masterfully managed to convey flesh and blood within the permutations of the sometimes clinical story. Enhancing the people-next-door nature of this saga were the film's smart technical contributions.
  7. A sense of unease, of incompleteness, is, I think, the appropriate response to this movie. Instead of trying to fill in the blanks, Curran and Gross leave things open and ambiguous. Just like life.
  8. Compassionate though it is, this is not a movie that offers much in the way of solace. It insists that there is no end to human weakness, and not much cure for it either. That's pretty strong stuff.
  9. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Jim Fusilli
    Set ablaze by a startling performance by Laura Dern, it's a stark, often disturbing look at the ramifications of betrayal.
  10. The movie may leave its audience feeling a little battered (some might say betrayed) as well. Still, the film's honesty, along with its refusal to pander to Hollywood happy endings, is well worth the beating.
  11. The film was directed by John Curran who here does fine, close, and intimate "chamber" work. The cinematography by Maryse Alberti is of the most desirable kind: it creates mood and drama without ever being ostentatious about it. But it is the acting that truly realizes the film.
  12. 75
    The film, sometimes talky and overemphatic, is also literate, erotic, brutally funny and touched by brilliance in its quartet of live-wire performances.
  13. Not a deep movie. It is a very honest one, though - there's not a cheap cinematic trick in sight - and it's a graceful one, energizing its small-town story with eloquent camera work and ingenious musical touches.
  14. Usually American marital problems are left to the soap operas; it's nice to see them tackled by experts, piercing personas and peeling open hearts.
  15. All four performances are strong and nuanced, which makes the film oddly compelling. At the same time, all four characters are hard to like, difficult to care about. They're like car-crash victims in a demolition derby of narcissism and lies.
  16. A movie for adults, of a kind that usually isn't made in America,
  17. An absorbing relational Rorschach test masquerading as a domestic drama, a sardonic examination of marriage and friendship that invites the audience to think for itself.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Tony literary material, a fine cast and intelligent script and direction.
  19. 70
    In Curran's hands, what might have seemed like a "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?" redux gets cut into avant-garde pieces, with experimental inserts, sound effects, and wrinkles in time that add to an uneasy mood.
  20. Affecting and sincere in the best sense, which makes up for the whiff of anachronism and the creakiness of some of the big metaphoric moments.
  21. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    This is not a movie to see if you're contemplating tying the knot; it's a hard slog for those of us already entwined.
  22. A pretty spot-on distillation of human weakness, but my god, must they all be so inhumane in the process?
  23. 63
    At heart a rather chilly and clinical portrait of four very selfish people.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 13
  2. Negative: 4 out of 13
  1. Jan 1, 2011
    Good cast but weak and dull storyline ,felt like a terrible waste of talent and effort to make such a pointless movie.Wish I hadn't wasted myGood cast but weak and dull storyline ,felt like a terrible waste of talent and effort to make such a pointless movie.Wish I hadn't wasted my time watching it. Full Review »