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Lorna's Silence (2008)


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 93
Fresh: 80
Rotten: 13

Critics Consensus: Subtle and emotionally bleak, this gripping thriller features the Dardenne brothers' recognizable penchant for realism and very strong performances.

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 29
Fresh: 27
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Subtle and emotionally bleak, this gripping thriller features the Dardenne brothers' recognizable penchant for realism and very strong performances.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 4,596


Movie Info

An Albanian woman living in Belgium finds her dreams of opening a snack bar with her boyfriend leading to tragedy after she agrees to marry a Russian Mafioso in order to gain citizenship. All Lorna wanted was to start a small business with her loving boyfriend, but in order to make that happen she would first have to gain citizenship. Local mobster Fabio claims that he can make that happen if Lorna agrees to a sham marriage with a man named Claudy. After gaining Belgian citizenship, Lorna … More

R (for brief sexuality/nudity, and language)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Jean-Pierre Dardenne , Luc Dardenne
In Theaters:
May 20, 2008
Sony Pictures Classics


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Critic Reviews for Lorna's Silence

All Critics (95) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (80) | Rotten (13) | DVD (1)

Lorna's Silence doesn't work, but it's a beautiful misfire.

Full Review… | September 3, 2009
Miami Herald
Top Critic

As filmmakers, the Dardennes are more concerned with probing the causes of crime than in glamorizing it.

Full Review… | September 3, 2009
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

In casting the previously unknown Dobroshi, the brothers approach greatness with their lean portrait of simple humanity tested by desire and driven desperate by circumstances.

Full Review… | August 28, 2009
Toronto Star
Top Critic

The story within Lorna's Silence is built on tiny increments of tantalizing details, meted out in penurious droplets and with chest-tightening tension that suggests that what the brothers wanted to be when they grew up were boa constrictors.

August 28, 2009
Washington Post
Top Critic

The Dardennes are masters of their brand of realist cinema. Over the years, the brothers' move from documentaries to narrative features has been handsomely rewarded.

Full Review… | August 28, 2009
Denver Post
Top Critic

Dobroshi, a dark-browed beauty, has an arresting stillness - never smiling (except for one brief, unguarded moment with Sokol), never letting down her guard. It's a slice of a life nobody would want, and a portrait that's not easy to forget.

Full Review… | August 27, 2009
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Heaven on earth for the Dardenne Bros., the poets of European mercantile desolation.

Full Review… | August 29, 2011
East Bay Express

Redemption drama loses the plot.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010

It's a classic Dardennes morality tale set in the grim, hard-scrabble world between working class hardship and black market hustle...

Full Review… | January 9, 2010

a moving portrait of emotional and social awakening

Full Review… | January 7, 2010
Q Network Film Desk

This masterfully crafted tale of muted female survival in a quietly brutal world, the film unfolds petal by petal, as it stirringly reveals mere inklings of the character's haunting inner emotional and psychological turmoil.

Full Review… | December 31, 2009

Once again brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne explore the moral predicaments that arise from economic desperation.

Full Review… | November 25, 2009

It's Lorna's evolution (charted through Dobroshi's uncompromising performance) that makes "Lorna's Silence" worth seeing. But the Dardennes shouldn't have been so deliberately stingy with the details of her story.

Full Review… | November 13, 2009
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

...less a character study than the apparent breaking-in of a camera crew on a sad and sordid life.

Full Review… | November 7, 2009
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

By scorning accessibility, the filmmakers unwittingly throw out the baby with the bathwater. After all, what's authentically human, if not high drama?

Full Review… | October 15, 2009
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Mirthless and deliberately paced, there's still enough in the well-acted Lorna's Silence to make it worth listening to.

Full Review… | October 9, 2009

The Dardennes have once again captured the harsh reality of the modern underclass while also injecting a note of moral hopefulness into what might have been a bleak and heartless tale.

Full Review… | October 6, 2009
One Guy's Opinion

Money -- not love or family -- is the (literal) currency that motivates social behavior; human relationships are reduced to financial transactions.

Full Review… | October 2, 2009
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Lorna's Silence speaks volumes.

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
Baltimore Sun

A unique filmmaking style that resembles near-documentary realism. If you were not aware that this was a movie, you would think you were watching surveillance footage recorded by a sophisticated private investigation firm.

Full Review… | September 18, 2009
Entertainment Spectrum

Offers powerful emotional impact at unexpected moments.

Full Review… | September 17, 2009
Las Vegas Weekly

Lorna's Silence echoes long after the movie ends.

Full Review… | September 11, 2009
Austin Chronicle

With a more linear plot and steadier camerawork than previous efforts, Lorna's Silence is among the Dardennes' more accessible films, despite a drawn-out finale that still doesn't quite satisfy.

Full Review… | September 11, 2009

In a just world, the Dardenne brothers would be as well known as the Coens; outside the United States they probably are already.

Full Review… | September 4, 2009

More entertaining on a base level than a Belgian film about poor people has any right to be.

Full Review… | September 3, 2009

Audience Reviews for Lorna's Silence

A cold, bleak Belgian film that gives equal importance both to what is not seen and heard and what is. "Lorna's Silence" is a rigid character study by the Dardenne brothers that will be challenging to many. The goal here was seemingly to reflect on the power of absence and silence, and while this focus makes it feel weightless and even pointless at times, these are intentional design choices that offer up food for thought with varying degrees of success.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

I haven't seen a movie quite like Lorna's Silence for a long time. I really do love these films that are just so pretentious, exadurated, and melodramatic, yet strangly plausible. For the most part the audience has to figure out what is going on for themselves. This really works well, especially since the plot is relatively simple. At the same time it is thoroughly engrossing to watch. I have no idea if the whole citizenship underground/espionage actually exists, but it is fasinating on-screen. Lorna's Silence does absolutely everything you would expect from a film of its prestige and style; and to top it off, its really rather good.

Jake ....

Super Reviewer


"Lorna's Silence," the new film from Belgium's Dardenne brothers, effectively creates a frightening vision of a world filled with people almost completely lacking empathy. But the story drags in the second half, and the film has an almost polemical edge that weakens its power. The characters start to seem like artificial fabrications meant to drive home the Dardennes' socio-political critiques.

The protagonists are Albanians who have built an elaborate scam to benefit Russians and other Easterners trying to get citizenship in the European Union. Deeply disturbing is the cold, matter-of-fact way they put value on the lives of others. Lorna, the main character, is the only woman in the group. I don't want to reveal all the details, so let's just say that Lorna sees this lack of empathy for others most vividly. Her central dilemma is whether to continue in this life or make some changes. Her struggle is profound, and the lives of several others hang in the balance.

My problem is that the Albanians' complete amorality starts to seem phony. European filmmakers frequently try to fit life into their theories, rather than trying to build theories that match life. Here I felt the Dardennes were driven to convey a message about contemporary society, and they developed arch caricatures of people to drive that message home. But I wouldn't push this criticism too far. "Lorna's Silence" is still an important and very good film and should be seen by anyone who appreciates serious cinema. Just don't watch it when you're feeling fragile. The film does have the power to be deeply disturbing despite the fact that there's not one iota of on-screen violence. Its power to disturb is far more subtle.

Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer


Moving portrayal of a woman's struggle for financial security in a shady world of unscrupulous men. Dobroshi gives a wonderfully understated but nuanced performance as Lorna's detached facade cracks and her emotions win through.

Gordon A

Super Reviewer

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