Critic Reviews



Based on 15 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The film is worthwhile primarily for the fun, breezy first hour. After that, it's a case of watching to find out how things turn out.
Director Griffin Dunne's adaptation of Dirk Wittenborn's fiercely personal novel ambles pleasantly through coming-of-age movie territory, then takes a jarring Agatha Christie detour.
Whenever Sutherland comes on scene, any inadequacies in the film's depiction of the well-to-do become irrelevant.
Village Voice
Whereas most of the injustices suffered by "Nanny's" nanny are of the skin-deep variety, the hopelessly reductive Fierce People ups the ante.
The A.V. Club
Fierce People's first hour is dominated by brittle social satire, but in its third act, the film takes a jarring turn toward tremblingly sincere melodrama it can't pull off.
When F. Scott Fitzgerald remarked that the rich “are different from you and me,” he might have been thinking of someone like the moody billionaire from Fierce People.
Not even the always reliable Diane Lane can save this one.
What might have read as a dense allegory comparing the rituals of the super-rich with the tribal customs of the violent Ishkanani tribe in the Amazon becomes a tedious, over-ripe soap opera on screen.
Dunne and Wittenborn, who adapted his book, work too hard at stressing just how ruthless the unspoken standards of the stinking rich can be, leading to a story-pivoting act of brutality toward Finn that careens the movie into a tonal wilderness that it never recovers from.
Chicago Tribune
The idea that rich people are an alien tribe is just one of many that get lost in Wittenborn’s distracted script. Instead of exploring the concept, he throws out random incidents until he hits one that sends the film into a dark, grotesque spiral.

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