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Based on 12 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 50
    Jami Bernard New York Daily News

    A draggy shaggy-dog story about a poor Jewish girl's painfully slow emotional awakening. The movie is 145 minutes long, so by the time Esther's awake, the audience may not be as lucky. show more

  • 50
    David Sterritt Christian Science Monitor

    Desplechin wants to film an adventure of the human spirit in the manner of a Hitchcockian drama, but he doesn't have a solid enough grasp of English culture to equal the complexity of his French productions like "The Sentinel" and "The Life of the Dead." show more

  • 12
    Megan Lehmann New York Post

    How do you inject life into a film whose central character is dull, slow, stupid and grim?If you're Arnaud Desplechin, you don't. show more

  • 80
    Ken Fox TV Guide

    Ranks among the best films ever made about the acting profession. show more

  • 90
    Scott Tobias The A.V. Club

    Summer Phoenix has a screen presence that's simultaneously distancing and transfixing, an inscrutability that makes her seem either mysterious or a complete blank. show more

  • 80
    Kevin Thomas Los Angeles Times

    Begins as a shadowy film that progresses from dark to increasing light. It has been stunningly photographed by Eric Gautier and has a wonderfully expressive score composed by Howard Shore. show more

  • 60
    Manohla Dargis L.A. Weekly

    Brilliantly edited and gorgeously shot, Esther Kahn is a dream to look at and, courtesy of Howard Shore's minor chords and high-strung strings, definitely something to hear. show more

  • 60
    David Ehrenstein New Times (L.A.)

    At 145 minutes it's a bit of a stretch, but the cinematographer is the great Eric Gautier ("Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train," "Pola X") and the score by Howard Shore is far superior to his Oscar-winning "Lord of the Rings." show more

  • 50
    David Edelstein Slate

    It's a charcoal draft of a movie -- magically allusive on some levels and utterly opaque on others, a strange combination of the overexplicit and the unwritten. show more

  • 40
    Dana Stevens The New York Times

    It is also possible that the problem lies not with Mr. Desplechin but with Ms. Phoenix. Her Esther is a fascinating mixture of passivity and ferocity, but it's not clear that she has the range to show both sides of the character. show more

similar movies

  • London River (2009)

  • Wondrous Oblivion (2003)

  • The Tree of Life (2011)

  • Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

  • Such a Long Journey (1998)

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