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A Dry White Season

A Dry White Season (1989)

tomatometer

75

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 2,467

My Rating

Movie Info

Schoolteacher Ben du Toit (Donald Sutherland) has been insulated all his life from the horrors of apartheid in his native South Africa. Perhaps he really didn't want to know. When the son of his black gardener is arrested and beaten as a result of a schoolboy protest in Soweto, at first he imagines the police must have had their reasons. However, the boy is picked up again, and this time he doesn't come back. Ben promises his servant that he will look into the incident, and discovers that the

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Nov 8, 2005

MGM

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All Critics (22) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (3) | DVD (4)

The relentless plot is effectively set up and expertly pursued, and Hugh Masekela makes some striking contributions to Dave Grusin's musical score.

October 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's filled with obvious, earnest performances--Marlon Brando's ironic and subtle one is the only exception--and unresonant writing.

October 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A wrenching picture about South Africa that makes no expedient compromises with feel-good entertainment values, A Dry White Season displays riveting performances and visceral style.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Whites debating racial injustice: fine for a book published in Afrikaans a decade ago, but a poor premise for a message movie.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Brando appears only briefly and is badly missed. His character takes the whole film a notch above where it might otherwise go.

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

"A Dry White Season" bursts through your door and beats you senseless; it seems perverse to question its technique and only days later can you question its logic.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A polemic against South African apartheid, this may not meet criteria for "great" filmmaking, but director Euzhan Palcy's film succeeds in being significant.

October 7, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A thumpingly didactic script, but Palcy has crafted a watchable - if not particularly important, given its competition - one.

October 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Tells about the political awakenings in 1976 to apartheid in South Africa.

May 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...a powerful examination of the effects of Apartheid on a privileged white man.

November 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Late career Brando is so-so drama.

June 15, 2005
Video-Reviewmaster.com

Depicts one Afrikaner's journey toward moral responsibility in South Africa.

July 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It's not Cry Freedom, nor is it A World Apart, but there are some fine performances, particularly from Brando as the world-weary lawyer prosecuting the killer.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

A heavy-handed but effective condemnation of Apartheid justice. Brando, who worked for free on this one, is great as an opposition lawyer.

March 14, 2003
Nitrate Online

a provocative topic makes for a mundane drama

July 29, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

There is much to admire here, and on the whole, if the film doesn't quite satisfy, it does get its point across well enough to make it worth a look.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for A Dry White Season

It's too bad that such a well-intentioned movie is so mediocre. Cliche-riddled, convoluted writing and often haphazard choices made by director Euzhan Palcy are too blatant too be ignored. Donald Sutherland is a convincing but uncompelling lead, and Susan Sarandon's vocal work is laughable. In a shamefully small amount of screen time, Marlon Brando leaves a stronger impression than anyone else in the movie.
April 26, 2009
michaelcorleone

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Foreign Titles

  • A Dry White Season (Une Saison blanche et seche) (DE)
  • A Dry White Season (Une Saison blanche et seche) (UK)
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