Death and the Maiden (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This taut, psychological thriller begins in an unnamed South American country at a performance of Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" attended by a married couple; the music deeply troubles the woman. The story moves to a lonely beach house on a storm-tossed night. Therein Paulina prepares supper for her soon-to-return husband Gerardo. Shortly after hearing a disturbing radio broadcast concerning her husband, the electricity and the phone lines fail. Eventually her husband returns with Dr. … More

Rating: R
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Rafael Yglesias, Ariel Dorfman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 3, 2003
Fine Line Features



as Paulina Escobar

as Dr. Roberto Miranda

as Gerardo Escobar

as Dr. Miranda's Wife

as String Quartet Playe...

as Dr. Miranda's Son

as Dr. Miranda's Son
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Death and the Maiden

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (11)

Polanski certainly gets the maximum voltage and precision out of his story and actors, keeping us preternaturally alert to shifting power relationships and delayed revelations.

Full Review… | February 19, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Kingsley shrewdly tantalizes the viewer about his identity, and gets to deliver the text's most riveting monologue at the end. The lesser-known Wilson may be the first among equals, impressing strongly as the equivocating husband.

Full Review… | May 26, 2008
Top Critic

Polanski wisely never opens out the action from the remote clifftop house. In keeping things claustrophobic, close-up and ambivalent, he heightens the suspense (not to mention the sexual tension).

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Polanski treads lightly on the clumsier lines, and sustains tension by creating an elegant, unobtrusive dance with the camera.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Death and the Maiden forces the audience to confront questions about torture and punishment.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Polanski keeps the situation ambiguous to provoke questions of guilt and responsibility.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Death and the Maiden

During a dictatorship in an unnamed latin american country, Paulina (Sigourney Weaver) was a dissident activist who was tortured in horrible ways and kept alive in order to confess the names of her comrades. Many years later, her husband arrives with a new friend, and she seems to recognize the stranger's voice as the man who inflicted her all that suffering.

Gripping stage bound psychological thriller that grows in intensity with each passing minute and conveys all the agony, anxiety, fear and thirst for revenge of a martyr who's now having her turn on the reins.

Excellent triad of actor.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

An excellent drama. Sigourney Weaver plays a disturbed, paranoid ex-political prisoner in an unnamed South American country, married to a lawyer (Stuart Wilson) heading an investigation into allegations of torture under the old regime. She believes she recognises a chance visitor to their home (Ben Kingsley) as a man who raped and tortured her during her incarceration. A fascinating game with constantly shifting alliances ensues as she attempts to extract a confession of guilt from her captive 'guest'. All three lead performances are superb but Stuart Wilson excels, oozing flawed dignity as the idealistic but cowardly husband.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer

A raw and rough character-driven piece. Sigourney Weaver is wonderfully powerful as the woman turning the tables by taking hostage the man who raped and tortured her (Ben Kingsley). It doesn't get too nasty. The situation is very interesting.

Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

Death and the Maiden Quotes

– Submitted by myint z (3 years ago)

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