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To Die For (1995)

tomatometer

93

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

65

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 34,070

My Rating

Movie Info

The price of fame is murder -- or at least it is in the mind of one woman in New Hampshire. Suzanne Stone (Nicole Kidman) has spent most of her life wanting to be famous; she's attractive, speaks well, and imagines herself to be intelligent ("imagines" is the key word here), so she has set her sights on becoming a TV anchorwoman. However, opportunities for female broadcasters are hard to come by in Little Hope, New Hampshire, and she's convinced that her husband, the once handsome but now flabby

R,

Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy

Joyce Maynard, Buck Henry

Aug 7, 2001

Columbia Pictures

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All Critics (54) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (7) | DVD (7)

As Jimmy, the teen sap who falls hard for Suzanne, Joaquin Phoenix is dead-eyed yet touchingly vulnerable -- a mush-mouthed angel.

February 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If, like me, you find things to admire in all of Gus Van Sant's early films, you may be especially gratified by what he's done with a satirical anti-TV script by Buck Henry.

February 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A smart and wicked delight

February 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's highly recommended.

February 12, 2008 Full Review Source: CNN.com
CNN.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you've hitherto failed to respond to the laid-back oddball appeal of Van Sant's movies, fear not: this is a sharp, consistently funny blend of black comedy and satire on the deleterious effects of television.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An irresistible black comedy and a wicked delight.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A grotesque black comedy.

April 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Like Roseanne, Gus Van Sant refuses to compromise his trademark smarty-pants assault on storybook America.

February 12, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A mean-spirited satire, told in mock-tabloid style, this film features the best performance of Nicole Kidman to date (better than The Hours for which she won an Oscar), as an amoral small-town girl obsessed with becoming a TV star.

January 9, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Gus Van Sant directed this sharp black comedy about the obsession with television and celebrity culture.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Wicked, Wonderful and Wonderously performed

March 11, 2006
Moviehole

Exquisite media satire, as good as "Network" in its way.

November 10, 2005
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

razor sharp

April 6, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

A vicious pitch black satire on the public's fascination with violent crime.

January 13, 2004 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

Great black comedy featuring Kidman's best performance

July 25, 2003
Lawrence Journal-World

Wickedly funny and cleverly told.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

This film is witty and smart and funny. That's a rare combination these days.

April 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

If only this was nearly as funny as it thinks it is.

January 8, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The script is very smart and cynical.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Black comedy that charts the exploits of a heartless woman obsessed with becoming a major television star.

August 30, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for To Die For

This movie features what is by far the best performance that Nicole has given in her career. It's such a shame that she didn't get an Oscar for this. She is brilliant as the icy, determined, manipulative, intimidating, and sexy woman who will do anything to be famous. She's not likable, but there is some humor with her character, albeit very dark. The rest of the cast is also very awesome, especially a young Joaquin Phoenix, and a very snide Illeana Douglas. The script is very biting and witty, and satirical to the max. This film is extremely dark, yet extremely humorous at the same time. The subject matter is at times very uncomfortable, but there are still laughs...just very uncomfortable ones. As an added plus, the soundtrack is good, Van Sant's direction is well done, and David Cronenberg has a nice cameo. One of the best films of the 90's.

The above paragraph is my old review written in the summer of 2008. The previous sentence, this one, and all that follow are from summer 2013. I now realize that I forgot to mention the plot in my old review. Well, here it is: A New Hampshire housewife with delusions of grandeur dreams of making it famous as a TV news anchor. This type of job isn't all that easy to come by in her small, humble town, but she's determined to make it anyway. All that seems to be standing in her way is her going nowhere bum of a husband. Well, that's nothing a little murder can't take care of, right?

In all honesty, I can't remember all the details of my initial (and so far only) viewing of this movie. It's obvious I really liked it. I mean, I called it one of the best films of the 90s. That might be an overstatement. Maybe not. It's easily one of the most underrated films of that decade, that's for sure. Anyways, I do think that the film is wonderfully darkly comedic, and the performances are dynamite, so yeah, give it a watch.
June 13, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

'To Die For'. Nicole Kidman exudes sexiness and manipulation in an unforgettable performance as she takes us through the fame-obsessed journey and mind of Suzanne Stone.

Joaquin Phoenix is wonderfully creepy, and Gus Van Sant's twisted look at fame, recognition and television still has relevance today.
August 31, 2012
c0up
c0up  

Super Reviewer

Just rewatched this after a few years of having not seen it, and still think it is a fantastic film. I find I do have *some* sympathy for Suzanne Stone. Okay, she's manipulative and does something inexcusable, but I could literally feel her frustration at being stuck in a small town, in a family that didn't accept or understand her, and a husband who, though sweet, was not truly compatible. So she wanted bigger things for her life than a family in suburbia, is that such a crime really?!
Obviously what she goes on to do is pretty bad, and surely divorce would have been the logical step, but then we wouldn't have much of a movie, and this really is a dark, funny little film. Nicole Kidman is perfect as Suzanne and Joaquin Phoenix and Alison Folland just right as Lydia and Jimmy.
Great black comedy.
July 30, 2010
romy861

Super Reviewer

    1. Lydia Mertz: [about Jimmy] He says that he needs to see you and that he's dying of love.
    – Submitted by Lea L (3 years ago)
    1. Suzanne Stone Maretto: [to Lydia about Russell and Jimmy] It's their word against mine. Who are they? Bunch of 16-year-old losers who grew up in trailers whose parents sit around drinking and screwing their cousins! [laughs] I'm a professional person, for Christ's sake. I come from a good home. Who do you think a jury would believe?
    – Submitted by Lea L (3 years ago)
    1. Suzanne Stone Maretto: I think if you wanted a babysitter, you should marry Mary Poppins
    – Submitted by Lea L (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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