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Diva (1981)



Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 2

Beineix combines unique cinematography, an intelligent script, and a brilliant soundtrack to make Diva a stylishly memorable film.


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 2

Beineix combines unique cinematography, an intelligent script, and a brilliant soundtrack to make Diva a stylishly memorable film.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 6,179

My Rating

Movie Info

The diva of the title is a famous black opera singer (Wilhelmina Wiggins-Fernandez) who steadfastly refuses to be recorded. The singer is idolized by young French mail-carrier Jules (Frederic Andrei), who sneaks a tape recorder into the theater and records her performance. This is witnessed by a pair of Taiwanese criminals, who unlike Andrei wish to profit from the bootlegged recording. They begin to pursue the boy, as do a couple of home-grown hooligans who believe that Jules is in possession

Oct 28, 1997

Rialto Pictures

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November 1, 2007:
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All Critics (46) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (2) | DVD (9)

The movie's a maelstrom of possibilities touching ethnic relations, high art, fashion and modern morality, not to mention cinema.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As with so many pop moments a quarter-century on, what once looked sexy now smells a little sexist.

February 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Diva, as a lifestyle, a fantasy, a model for alienation and solipsism and eccentricity, has gone deep into all of us.

January 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An elaborate, subtitled exercise in blowing hot air.

January 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A light-headed, fleet-footed French caper, Jean-Jacques Beineix's ultra-stylish Diva stormed the art houses when it was released in 1982, and it's still a lot of fun now -- though its hip patina feels more quaint these days than cool.

January 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I still loved every minute of it.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A topsy-turvy wonderland of stylistic riffs and thematic threads reverberating back on themselves for the sheer, exuberant, sexy hell of it.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Director Jean Jacques-Beineix's pop art pastiche is a glittering mix of artifice and genuine cool with its intricate yet effortless thriller plot enacted by some of the screen's most individual and eccentric characters; its combination of playful sexiness

May 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Windy City Times
Windy City Times

Jean-Jacques Beniex's bold experiment is worth a place of importance in cinematic history.

March 22, 2008 Full Review Source:

...back upon its original 1981 release, it was a true 'wow,' a filmic equivalent of the post-punk new wave music scene that was current.

February 23, 2008 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

--- a drama/thriller that is also quite funny ---this is the first film in which I truly realized the importance of cinematography.

January 14, 2008 Full Review
Kaplan vs. Kaplan

The chase through the Paris Metro tunnels is as fascinating as anything put on celluloid.

January 14, 2008 Full Review
Kaplan vs. Kaplan

Had Wile E. Coyote chased Jean-Luc Godard, the result might have been Diva.

January 11, 2008
San Diego Union-Tribune

Beineix choreographs the actors and the camera into a stunning and stylish cinematic dance... This is not a musical in the strict sense of the word but it certainly feels like one in the way it moves.

January 10, 2008

... Beineix directs with a visual cleverness and a witty playfulness that tells the audience to hang back and have fun.

December 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

One of the most exciting feature debuts, Beineix's film is a rare work, generic yet personal, arty and commercial, an exquisitely shot and edited picture that reminds us why we fell in love with movies in the first place.

December 25, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Diva remains terrific after all this time. The visuals are beautifully composed; the action scenes ... still work; and the performances are all spot-on... .

December 21, 2007
Los Angeles CityBeat

A classic that manages to combine sweet romanticism with upbeat and intellectual humor. A joy to watch.

November 2, 2007
Monsters and Critics

Audience Reviews for Diva

My dad LOVED this. And it was fairly interesting. The last bit was well shot, very pretty and slightly existential.
January 7, 2010
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

On one hand, 'Diva' excels as fast-paced, likably convoluted entertainment; on the other, it's a film made for those who genuinely love and have a fascination for the cinematic medium. What inventive direction from Jean-Jacques Beineix, who seems determined to give every shot a mind of its own. Seriously, this is a fantastic, lively directorial effort from a man who just seems to really love what he's doing. And even by today's standards, 'Diva' looks quite stunning. Everything is bathed in blue light, giving the film this 'techno noir' mood. The narrative has its ups and downs, but you don't notice them too often. You're too enthralled by the film's visuals.
September 20, 2013
Stephen Earnest

Super Reviewer

This was the first foreign language movie I seen. I remember as a 12 year old being captivated by the style and cinematography of the director. The story is tense and exciting and the characters are so rich, that they almost pop out of the screen.
January 10, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Jules: Where are we?
    2. Alba: IN a castle
    3. Jules: What castle?
    4. Alba: Where the witch makes poisoned red apples to advertise the toothpaste movie stars use.
    – Submitted by Gary C (24 months ago)
    1. Le Curé: I don't like cars.
    – Submitted by Gary C (24 months ago)
    1. Le Curé: I don't like Beethoven.
    – Submitted by Gary C (24 months ago)
    1. Gorodish: Some get high on airplane glue... detergents... fancy gimmicks. My satori is this: Zen in the art of buttering bread!
    – Submitted by Gary C (24 months ago)
View all quotes (4)

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  • Diva (DE)
  • Diva (1982) (UK)
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