51 user 26 critic

The Comfort of Strangers (1990)

R | | Drama, Thriller | April 1991 (USA)
An English couple holiday in Venice to sort out their relationship. There is some friction and distance between them, and we also sense they are being watched. One evening, they lose their ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
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Complete credited cast:
Manfredi Aliquo ...
David Ford ...
Rossana Canghiari ...
Hotel Maid
Fabrezio Sergenti Castellani ...
Bar Manager (as Fabrizio Castellani)
Mario Cotone ...
Giancarlo Previati ...
First Policeman
Antonio Serrano ...
Second Policeman


An English couple holiday in Venice to sort out their relationship. There is some friction and distance between them, and we also sense they are being watched. One evening, they lose their way looking for a restaurant, and a stranger invites them to accompany him. He plies them with wine and grotesque stories from his childhood. They leave disoriented, physically ill, and morally repelled. But, next day, when the stranger sees them in the piazza, they accept an invitation to his sumptuous flat. After this visit, the pair find the depth to face questions about each other, only to be drawn back into the mysterious and menacing fantasies of the stranger and his mate. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The appearance of innocence. The heat of desire... See more »


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for obsessive and perverse sexuality | See all certifications »



| |


Release Date:

April 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cortesie per gli ospiti  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,244,381 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Robert: Let me tell you something: My father was a very big man. And all his life he wore a black mustache. When it was no longer black, he used a small brush, such as ladies use for their eyes. Mascara.
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References The Sheltering Sky (1990) See more »


by Betty Curtis
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User Reviews

Wrong Place, Wrong Time
4 February 1999 | by (Lucas Buck, NC) – See all my reviews

So much is written in Hollywood about a character's ‘redemptive arc'-it is rare that anything redemptive crosses our path in a Paul Schrader movie, and we wouldn't want it any other way.

Let's talk about real life, life ala Schrader and Pinter---rarely redemptive, where a dismantled woman (Natasha Richardson) in her late twenties, divorced, burdened with child and confusion, looking ahead to 40 years of loneliness, seeks solace in one of the few options left available to her: the younger, good-looking, yet far too effeminate suitor (Rupert Everett).

Their pairing, unsettling at most every juncture, can only be upstaged by a spectacular Chris Walken performance as Robert, a predator of confusing lineage who smells blood in the water faster than OJ can smell the first tee.

It is the character Robert on whom the SNL parody `The Continental' is likely based, and Walken plays him so flawlessly that we may sometimes believe he has something but the basest on his mind, which of course, he has not.

Helen Mirren is perfect as Robert's co-dependent compadre.

Ignorance is never bliss in this day and age, and our story of a young couple indeed destined to suffer the consequences of their needless existence twists and turns tautly in their ill-timed venture to Venice.

Looking for fun? Next time, kids, try Disneyland.

13 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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