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Asylum (2005)



Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 88
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 56

This catastrophic adaptation of Patrick McGrath's novel gets sillier and more implausible as it goes along.


Average Rating: 5.1/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 19

This catastrophic adaptation of Patrick McGrath's novel gets sillier and more implausible as it goes along.



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Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 21,130

My Rating

Movie Info

A woman becomes very curious about one of her psychiatrist husband's inmates, a man who was found guilty in the murder and disfigurement of his former wife.

Jul 6, 2004


Paramount Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (94) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (56) | DVD (4)

Asylum had promise. But it's bad enough to make one wonder just who had the loose screws -- the characters, or the people who filmed them?

September 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Patrick McGrath's screenplay, based on his novel, has moments big and small, delivered in appropriate dollops of awfulness.

September 16, 2005
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a movie you fall for or you don't, and like Stella, I am not ashamed I did.

September 16, 2005
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Once characters' actions lose credibility, it's hard to empathize with them, no matter how well the roles are played.

September 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film, with its uniformly terrific cast, stern Gothic overtones and steady but measured pacing, is a crisp, old-fashioned delight, eschewing cheap tricks for repeated tiny pricks of unease that work up to a continuous gnawing dread.

September 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Asylum is all very formal, detached, and, regrettably, sane.

August 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

offers a bleak vision of the Fifties, where an outbreak of passion or an artistic impulse would be quickly subjected, like any other madness, to containment.

July 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

A little like Jack the Ripper in outer space.

March 26, 2007 Full Review
Long Island Press

Despite a superb cast, artful set design and seductive cinematography, Asylum remains a lovingly lensed missed opportunity.

February 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

There is nothing to Stella's character -- or any of these characters, for that matter -- that you can relate to.

September 15, 2005
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

So obsessed with rendering Patrick McGrath's exquisitely twisted Gothic novel as a refined affair that it forgets less ambitious pursuits, like sussing out a way to keep us awake.

September 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Based on Pat McCabe's moody novel, Asylum has an over-the-top feverishness that suits its premise.

September 15, 2005 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

...oh, look at all the crazy people.

September 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Marton Csokas ... comes across as a hybrid of Russell Crowe and Clive Owen in full-on brooding mode and has a genuine chemistry with Richardson that goes some way to explaining why she stays with him as a long as she does.

September 10, 2005 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

The film wryly wonders whether the lunatics have taken over not just the asylum but the entire world as well.

September 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

A troubling psychological drama about illicit passion leading to tragedy.

September 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's a lost cause.

September 3, 2005 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

The film manages to turn potentially interesting characters into caricatures and potentially heady material into soap-opera melodrama.

September 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

A sort of perverse update of an overwrought Barbara Stanwyck-Bette Davis melodrama...

September 2, 2005
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

The film's great strength is a cast of supporting players who steal scene after scene from their leading lady.

September 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

... one of those terribly restrained psychological dramas that simply drips with prestige -- but too often trips over its own pretensions.

September 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Audience Reviews for Asylum

A very underated film I feel, a very twisted love story of obsession and jealousy.
June 8, 2008

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Asylum" takes place in postwar England when Dr. Max Raphael(Hugh Bonneville) is just starting a new job as a deputy superintendent at a mental hospital in rural England. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Stella(Natasha Richardson), for twelve years and they have a son, Charlie(Gus Lewis). While Max is tending to his job, Stella is left with little to do during the day, having little social interaction with the other wives and less interest in their charities. But her interest is piqued by one of the patients, Edgar Stark(Marton Csokas), who is under the care of Dr. Peter Cleave(Ian McKellen).(Edgar has been repairing a greenhouse on the grounds, befriending Charlie in the process.) At the annual hospital dance, Stella and Edgar dance and later make passionate love in the greenhouse...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Asylum" is a dark and unpredictable psychological drama about the social restrictions in place on people in this time and place. The movie is aided by excellent performances, especially by Natasha Richardson and Ian McKellen, playing an underwritten role with gusto. However, it seemed like there was something missing from the movie which could have shed light on some of the characters' motivations(for example, Stella has been married for twelve years but is reckless in her behavior) which at times seemed murky. [/font]
August 29, 2006
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Compulsions and sexual obsessions are explored as the wife of a top doctor gets involved with a patient at an asylum all according to the schemes of an ambitious lessor doctor. Well acted and directed with abounding interesting metaphors.
December 14, 2009

Super Reviewer

Richardson's husband no longer lusts after her so she shags a mental patient, then they run away, then she goes mad (which makes no sense), then there was some other stuff and then she gets put in the asylum where McKellen falls in love with her and then she kills herself. Evidently, the moral of the tale is do not shag mental patients because you will become mental and then kill yourself.
July 10, 2009

Super Reviewer

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