Looks exquisite at first, upon closer inspection its flaws become all too apparent.
If not for its high-cult pedigree -- from a Henry James novel, adapted by the tony Merchant-Ivory team -- The Golden Bowl would seem the stuff of raging soap opera.
It suffers mightily from its deliberate pacing, pale characterizations, obvious plot and some woeful miscasting. full review
In this movie, all displays of passion feel like gaudy pantomime. full review
It is beautifully, dramatically and grandly long, tedious, boring and slow. full review
Makes the viewer wish that Ivory had cast a more accomplished actress -- Kate Winslet, perhaps, or Cate Blanchett -- who could give dimension to the character and indicate subtext in a way that Thurman can't. full review
Ivory has been away from period literary adaptations, backbone of the Merchant Ivory reputation, for some time. It's good to have him back, but Golden Bowl shows he needs to do some work to reacquire his golden touch. full review
On the whole, though, it's easy to think of this Golden Bowl as half full rather than half empty.
May not be the best film to come from the Ismail Merchant/James Ivory team, but it's certainly one of the most beautiful. full review
It kept me at arm's length, but that is where I am supposed to be; the characters are after all at arm's length from each other, and the tragedy of the story is implied but never spoken aloud. full review
The Golden Bowl is a feast for those who love nuanced conversation, unspoken emotion and guarded looks. full review