The performers are as beautiful to look at here as they are intriguing to watch.
Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 2015-03-26
Funny how there are fans of Jennifer Lawrence who will never see her in "Serena." It's not her best film, but it contains one of her best performances, in a role that challenges her more than any other.
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, 2015-03-26
Lawrence is the hottest actress in Hollywood and she and Cooper share six Oscar nominations, and one win, between them. But "Serena" uses muscles the costars of "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle" stars don't often get to flex.
Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News, 2015-03-26
Densely packed and gorgeously expressionist, the old-fashioned tragedy is very nearly a satisfying experience despite its various shortcomings.
Inkoo Kang, TheWrap, 2015-03-26
Absolutely nothing works. No one seems to understand the place or the people. And the only thing gleaned from the lumber industry is that you can build an entire movie from performances made of wood.
Wesley Morris, Grantland, 2015-04-09
In other words, a lot of people realized they had an epic clunker on their hands.
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times, 2015-03-27
Given these unpromising circumstances, I was expecting something truly awful, and perhaps that might have been more fun to watch than this lugubrious period piece. The production values and the costumes are the true stars.
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor, 2015-03-27
The actors don't just look uncomfortable in their period duds, they also look uneasy in their own skins, which is a feat for two such natural, physically confident screen performers.
Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 2015-03-26
It's reassuring, really, to be reminded that top-tier Hollywood stars can make lousy choices just like the rest of us.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2015-03-26
What were Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence thinking? Seriously?
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2015-03-26
Beating a dead horse barely begins to describe the task of writing about "Serena"; it's more like playing coroner.
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal, 2015-03-26
Although the film got stuck in editing limbo for two years, no amount of cutting could rid the project of a diseased premise. Nor is it erotic or violent enough to be an effective critique of human nature.
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2015-03-26
It's painful to watch all that talent get wasted.
Stephanie Merry, Washington Post, 2015-03-26
Left for dead since 2012, Serena would better serve its stars by burial, not resurrection.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, 2015-03-26
There's simply not that much to see in the performances.
Vadim Rizov, AV Club, 2015-03-26
Into each life some rain eventually falls, and in a bomb called Serena, golden couple Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, united for the third time onscreen, arrive soaking wet.
Rex Reed, New York Observer, 2015-03-25
By making Serena ornamental, Bier diminishes her power, and Lawrence plays her as a petulant Lady Macbeth wannabe. Worse is Bradley Cooper, whose Pemberton comes off like an entitled scion, not a clear-cut timber king.
Serena Donadoni, Village Voice, 2015-03-24
The film is haunted by a sense that something was overlooked in translation from the book.
Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News, 2015-03-24
Both actors, gracefully dressed and lightly anguished, draw deep on their professional aplomb in a bid to keep a straight face; the credible, bulked-up pain that Cooper brought to "American Sniper" seems a world away.
Anthony Lane, New Yorker, 2015-03-23
Filmed in 2012 and finally limping into theaters like a glamorous zombie, the movie has star wattage but zero emotional voltage.
Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine, 2015-03-19