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Lorna's Silence (2008)

tomatometer

86

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

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

93

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

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

audience

69

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 4,589

My Rating

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

May 20, 2008

Sony Pictures Classics

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

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

September 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

September 3, 2009 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop 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.

August 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop 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 IconTop 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.

August 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop 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.

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

August 29, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Redemption drama loses the plot.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: sbs.com.au
sbs.com.au

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

January 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Seanax.com
Seanax.com

a moving portrait of emotional and social awakening

January 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
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.

December 31, 2009 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze
NewsBlaze

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

November 25, 2009 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

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.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

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

November 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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?

October 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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

October 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

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.

October 6, 2009 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

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

October 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Lorna's Silence speaks volumes.

September 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
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.

September 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum | Comment (1)
Entertainment Spectrum

Offers powerful emotional impact at unexpected moments.

September 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

Lorna's Silence echoes long after the movie ends.

September 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
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.

September 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

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

September 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

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

September 3, 2009 Full Review Source: SpoutBlog
SpoutBlog

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.
October 11, 2013
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.
February 27, 2010
neverteaseaweasel
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.
August 3, 2009
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.
May 3, 2009
gor41
Gordon A

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Lornas Schweigen (DE)
  • The Silence of Lorna (Le Silence de Lorna) (UK)
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