(1990)

Critic Reviews

86

Metascore

Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Chicago Sun-Times
The performances are all insidiously powerful.
100
Entertainment Weekly
The movie is pulp, yet it attains a surprising emotional power-especially when Anjelica Huston's Lilly, a survivor who'll do whatever it takes to master her surroundings, is on-screen.
100
San Francisco Chronicle
[Frears] has not only captured the bleak qualities of the old film noir melodramas but supplied an undercurrent that is as sly as it is unsettling. [25 Jan 1991]
90
If Frears and screenwriter Donald E. Westlake (who scripted "The Stepfather") are light on substance, they're satisfyingly heavy on nuance. Grifters may not blow you away afterward but it keeps your attention riveted during.
88
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Indeed, as the film unreels to its extraordinary climax - a scene that will make your skin crawl - Frears has the larger target right in his sights and, bang, pulls the thematic trigger, taking no prisoners.
80
Westlake's screenplay has the right combination of vivid characters, mordant wit and avaricious savagery which distinguishes the best noir.
80
[Huston] brings a vital conviction to her scenes; they're scorchingly immediate, and her ability to get in sync with what Lily's feeling is what gives the movie weight. She may be the best we have.
70
Time
Best to savor The Grifters for its handsome design -- the picture looks as clean as a Hockney landscape -- and its juicy performances. [11 Feb 1991]
60
Variety
A curiously uneven movie.
50
Chicago Reader
While the filmmakers manage to keep things interesting (sexy, kinky, and ambiguous) much of the time, the self-conscious piety that Frears lavishes on this material places it in an uncertain netherworld that prevents it from ever becoming fully convincing, even as a stylistic exercise.

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