The English Patient 1996

Critics score:
84 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune: With its fine acting, sumptuous visuals and levels of intrigue, The English Patient boasts the elements of something greater than a love story. Too bad it devotes them to something less than a great love story. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: The English Patient captivates as only the grandest and most consuming passions can. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: It's the sort of solemn production that is often mentioned as an Academy Award contender.This says less about the quality of the film than it does about its self-consciously lofty tone and its sense of self-importance. Read more

Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times: Could this possibly be the Casablanca of the late 20th century? Read more

Susan Stark, Detroit News: Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: For all the film's effectiveness as a love story, I often felt I was being hurried through a busy itinerary. Read more

John Krewson, AV Club: It's a tragically lovely story about the cruel devastation of selfish and ungoverned love. It's also one of the best movies in a long, long time. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: An elegant, accomplished piece of high modernist filmmaking. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Out of each of these uprooted characters are spun stories of love, loyalty and betrayal. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: The triumph of the film lies not just in the force and range of the performances, but in Minghella's creation of an intimate epic: vast landscapes mingle with the minute details of desire, and the combination is transfixing. Read more

Dave Kehr, New York Daily News: The film is a smashing success on its own terms, though as a transcendent love story it lacks the firm foundation in human reality that characterizes Lars Von Trier's superior Breaking the Waves. Read more

Janet Maslin, New York Times: A stunning feat of literary adaptation as well as a purely cinematic triumph. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: This is one of the year's most unabashed and powerful love stories, using flawless performances, intelligent dialogue, crisp camera work, and loaded glances to attain a level of eroticism and emotional connection that many similar films miss. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: This poetic, evocative film version of the famous novel by Michael Ondaatje circles down through layers of mystery until all of the puzzles in the story have been solved, and only the great wound of a doomed love remains. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Get ready for the great romance of the movie year. Read more

Gary Kamiya, The English Patient, the superb new film by Anthony Minghella, is that rarest of things: a film based on a great contemporary novel. Read more

Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle: Torrid, witty, passionate and intelligent. Read more

Sarah Kerr, Slate: The whole film is permeated with tenderness for its hurt characters, whom Minghella sees as just a small slice in the fellowship of people who love and suffer. Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: It took a filmmaker with Anthony Minghella's vision to even attempt an adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. And it took a filmmaker with Minghella's talent to pull it off. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The cast is superb: Binoche, with her thin, seraphic smile; Scott Thomas, aware of the spell she casts but not flaunting it; Fiennes, especially, radiating sexy mystery, threat shrouded in hauteur. Doom and drive rarely have so much stately star quality. Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: Needless to say, the performances are flawless; more surprising is the fluency, poetry and scale of Minghella's direction. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: A respectable, intelligent but less than stirring adaptation of an imposingly dense and layered novel. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: This is a movie to lose yourself in. Read more

Rita Kempley, Washington Post: The result is completely intoxicating. Read more