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Before the Rains (2008)



Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 67
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 34

While lushly photographed and politically suggestive, this soapy melodrama lacks emotional resonance.


Average Rating: 5.2/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 16

While lushly photographed and politically suggestive, this soapy melodrama lacks emotional resonance.



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 1,623

My Rating

Movie Info

Set in 1930s southern India against the backdrop of a growing nationalist movement, "Before the Rains" is the English language debut of acclaimed Indian director Santosh Sivan. An idealistic young Indian man finds himself torn between his ambitions for the future and his loyalty to the past when people in his village learn of an affair between his British boss and a village woman.



Cathy Rabin, Dan Verete

Sep 16, 2008


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Latest News on Before the Rains

May 8, 2008:
Santosh Sivan Goes Home Before the Rains
For Before the Rains, his English-language directorial debut, cinematographer Santosh Sivan went...


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All Critics (70) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (34) | DVD (3)

It's definitely good, definitely a little bit boring.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

India has rarely looked so beautiful onscreen. Against the anguish of his human characters, director Santosh Sivan juxtaposes a tranquil, green world in the hills of the southwestern state of Keralain 1937, 10 years before independence.

June 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

When the rains in Before the Rains finally arrive, there's nothing to cleanse, no real dirt to wash away -- not with history already so neatly packaged and polished to a dull shine.

June 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It might have been more convincing if it had emphasized personalities rather than types.

May 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unfortunately, the parade of consequences brought on by the affair has little emotional substance.

May 23, 2008 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Producer Ismail Merchant died in 2005, but Merchant Ivory's stuffy tradition of quality lives on.

May 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If only the whole thing weren't so pretty.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Mechanical through and through.

January 21, 2011 Full Review Source: House Next Door
House Next Door

Has the moral overtones of an EM Forster story, but is curiously lacking in emotional force.

January 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out Sydney
Time Out Sydney

While not without its merits (the performances of Jennifer Ehle and Rahul Bose are particular highlights), Before the Rains ultimately suffers from a downpour of melodrama.

January 8, 2009 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

The film certainly looks beautiful as it captures the lush beauty of its mountainous, green Indian landscape, but acclaimed cinematographer turned director Santosh Sivan is only partially successful when it comes to the storytelling

December 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Exquisitely photographed but emotionally overwrought and ultimately tedious.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Here is a movie that the late Ismail Merchant would have been happy to have under the Merchant-Ivory banner. James Ivory is very much alive and working, and one assumes he approves as well.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

An unremarkable story beautifully told, and should appeal to the legion of Merchant Ivory fans out there.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

One of the most ravishing and breathtakingly beautiful films to come around in a long time.

October 1, 2008 Full Review Source:

...fails to deliver on the potentially intriguing premise of an interracial romance set in India in 1937, against the backdrop of the Indian independence movement

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Playback:stl

The movie has enough fine acting -- especially by Bose and by Jennifer Ehle as the planter's deceived wife -- and beautiful, razor-sharp cinematography (also by Sivan) to recommend it.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Acting honours go to Bose, his face an eloquently shifting register of shame, calculation and sympathy.

July 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Independent

Feels as though it should be a compelling drama, yet it somehow simmers along rather frustratingly with only a couple of moments of genuine tension.

July 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

The movie is prettily done in a fairly obvious way, but there's little insight into the emerging nationalist movement, which remains at best a shimmering backdrop in soft focus.

July 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

The film is fervently acted and well shot, and Das provides a powerful, emotional force, but there is something a little clanky about the whole project...

July 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian

A brave new chapter in the Merchant Ivory story.

July 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

In another age this Merchant Ivory production would have led the week's reviews. Now it'll be lost to all the superheroes.

July 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Teletext

Given the racy subject matter, this is an oddly chaste and ultimately underwhelming affair, but it's beautifully shot and the performances ensure that it remains watchable.

July 24, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

As a melodramatic period potboiler it works well enough.

July 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for Before the Rains

Things do not end well for a love affair between two different races and casts set in India as colonial rule is ending. The Indian scenery is worth the watch.
July 24, 2010

Super Reviewer

In "Before the Rains," it is 1937 in Kerala, India where Henry Moores(Linus Roache) is a planter who is building a road to help his business, risking everything to finish it before the monsoons start. On the personal side, even though he is married, he is carrying on an affair with Sajani(Nandita Das), the family maid, who is trapped in an abusive marriage. One day, the lovers are noticed in a sacred grove by a pair of boys.

If "Before the Rains" sounds as predictable and obvious as every other doomed romance you have ever heard of, you would be at least partially right.(What was it Anton Chekhov said about guns, again?) What separates this movie from others of its ilk is the lack of sympathy given to its lead English character who has no true regard for India which is also undergoing spasms of independence. That along with lush cinematography combine to provide a sincere feel for a time and place.
July 7, 2009
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Great movie. Good story plot. Here is a movie by Santosh Sivan. This is a movie that captivates you, and it holds such a great interest that you are left feeling intrigued. Great cast- Nandita Das, Linus Roache, and Rahul Bose. Amazing music. Definitely worth seeing.
October 26, 2008
Leo L

Super Reviewer

I liked it, but I would have liked it about the same if everything was cut out except the music and the shots of scenic India.
May 9, 2008

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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