Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by
Slant Magazine
The film is an awkward mix of swashbuckling love story and polemic, painted in very broad strokes.
Bitter Harvest never amounts to more than a colorful misfire, a picture with much of the pageant of the period, but little of the roiling passions that dominate politics in the Breadbasket of Europe, even today.
As the film darkens, it intensifies its focus on tragedy and atrocity and begins to do some justice to one of the largest and least known genocides in history.
Even if it weren’t about an atrocity, this training-wheels Doctor Zhivago would still be lame.
Village Voice
A subject like the Holodomor demands something more than a TV-movie aesthetic and pitched battle scenes featuring a couple dozen combatants.
This forgotten chapter of history deserves to be better told.
Bitter Harvest, bless its low-budget heart, means well. But George Mendeluk’s film, about the Holodomor, the forced famine and starvation that killed between 7 and 10 million Ukrainians, falls well short of its ambitions.
Despite the stakes, Mendeluk can’t scare up any particular urgency, largely because everything is so contrived and inauthentic.
There ought to be no lack of firepower in telling this shameful tale. Too often, however, Bitter Harvest is guilty of overkill.
It’s a history lesson wrapped up in a romance, gallows grim but far too often unnecessarily heavy-handed in a way that drives home the factual historical horrors it portrays while somehow managing to feel like a sizably budgeted but no less maladroit television movie of the week.

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