Universal Pictures | Release Date: September 15, 1989 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Generally favorable reviews based on 18 Critic Reviews
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St. Louis Post-DispatchHarper Barnes
Sea of Love is a tough, sexy thriller, one of the most exciting suspense movies of the year, and undoubtedly the funniest. Al Pacino and John Goodman are terrific as detectives teamed up to catch a serial killer who apparently is choosing victims from personal ads in a New York weekly. [17 Sep 1989, p.11F]
VarietyStaff (Not Credited)
Sea of Love is a suspenseful film noir boasting a superlative performance by Al Pacino as a burned-out Gotham cop. Handsome production benefits from a witty screenplay limning the bittersweet tale of a 20-year veteran NYC cop assigned to a case tracking down the serial killer of men who've made dates through the personal columns.
Although the film is full of the sensory jolts common to this genre, it also has more humor than most, thanks to Richard Rice's tough, witty script. [15 Sep 1989, p.37]
Moment by moment, Sea of Love holds you in a tight grip. It's a stylish diversion, though it never gets much below its self-consciously "hot" surface. [18 Sep 1989, p.81]
Pacino is the only real attraction. His character feels ancient, used-up, bone-tired -- vulnerable, maybe, but numb. We need to see this in his face, and Pacino can use his the way Triple-A uses maps. That face is still one of the great instruments of modern movies. [15 Sep 1989, p.G5]
Neither Price nor director Harold Becker can decide whether they're after a conventional mystery or a trenchant sexual-psychological study a la Last Tango in Paris. Like so many current movies, Love falters in the pay-off; despite lots of bull's-eye moments in the early going, it seems vaguely silly. [15 Sep 1989, p.4D]
While there isn't much mystery to this mystery - only a handful of suspects are interviewed - there is a compelling sense of helplessness underscoring the lives of all its characters. In that sense, Sea of Love is a gender bender Looking for Mr. Goodbar, a disturbing allegory for the '80s when the fear of AIDS and sexual violence only deters a percentage of the singles population from making its appointed meat-market rounds. [15 Sep 1989, p.6]
Sea Of Love has got a lot of things going for it: it's got two strong lead performances; it's got some down-and-dirty dialogue and a few sexy scenes and a couple of yuks and a nifty title tune. What it ain't got is plot, and thus suspense, and thus thrills. [15 Sep 1989]