(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]
100
Wall Street Journal
Mr. Frears is as good with the small touches as he is with the big ones - and that means they're great. [24 Jan 1991, p.A8(E)]
88
Chicago Tribune
Huston gives one of her very best performances as a strong lady who can con almost everyone but herself. Her manner on the screen in this picture and in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors'' marks Huston as the one contemporary actress who comes closest to having the power of classic female dramatic stars of years past. [25 Jan 1991]
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.
75
Christian Science Monitor
It's a picture marked by competence, not the boiling-over intensity that Frears and Thompson fans have anticipated. [30 Nov 1990]
63
USA Today
More than anything, The Grifters isn't dramatically shot; black-and-white would have made a huge difference. [5 Dec 1990]
60
The simmering implication of incestuous emotions between Lili and Roy, leading to the shocking denouement, is badly underdeveloped and mishandled, leaving a lingering sense of anti-climax.

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