The Sheltering Sky Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ April 2, 2008
The worst!!! When its finally over you find yourself asking, how can so many talented people make something this pretentious and odious.
Super Reviewer
August 10, 2007
I would feel like I was overlooking some considerable flaws if I called this movie perfect, but I am perfectly okay with saying that I loved it. Bertolucci's direction is as powerful as ever, controlling tone and atmosphere with the precision we expect from him. This is among his most visually beautiful work, with Vittorio Storaro's cinematography providing aesthetic poetry in almost every scene. Peculiarly constructed and sometimes confusing, I found this film's debatable narrative faults to be conducive to its overall effect. John Malkovich and Debra Winger are outstanding, and there are plenty of strong supporting performances as well. A beautiful, unnerving epic drama.
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2008
A painfully long movie...
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2008
Bertolucci's worst film. I would rather tear my eyes out than see this again.
November 24, 2010
I haven't read the book, but I think this movie gets way too much hate. Yet another hit from Bertolucci.
½ June 5, 2010
I want that 2 hours and 19 minutes back!

Some books shouldn't be made into movies. And this movie/novel falls in that category. Granted, I haven't read the book but I'm positive it's going to be ten times better than the movie. In a book you can sorta withstand a character study and lots of introspection...but in a movie...watching characters agonize over life decisions while the movie's soundtrack plays is well...agonizing.

There is a scene where Winger and Malkovich's characters engage in a sexual act (not that the movie is short on them...another painful thing to watch in this one. Read: Malkovich's full monty) and all the while they have a discussion about their relationship? Huh?

It's a bad movie simply put. If you've read the book and just gotta see it, don't say you weren't warned!
December 29, 2009
Visually, it is quite remarkable. The location filming and cinematography are excellent. Dramatically it?s good, but a bit of a disappointment. It?s too long and sometimes painfully slow moving. It is still a rewarding film to watch, the professionalism involved makes it worthwhile. Nicely acted, excellent score.
March 16, 2008
Too long, too empty and too pointless. A famous novel about three self-absorbed Americans finding deeper meaning about life and themselves, Bertolucci fails to communicate any growth in these characters, making them seem merely spoiled, immature kooks. Very disappointing, coming from the man who made The Last Emperor.
February 17, 2008
ambitious, gorgeously filmed, but falling short on the adaption to film from the novel and poorly cast.
i don't like any of the actors and the feminine is lost, that being the survival and transformation of Winger's character hardly does justice to the novel's character.
April 28, 2007
Malkovich and Deborah Ringer indulge in a Bertolucci magical project. Very exotic and fine. Not for everybody.
Super Reviewer
½ February 27, 2007
I enjoyed watching it. I'm not sure what Bertolucci was trying to say with this one, and I'm pretty sure I disagree with him.
½ June 13, 2006
I love the book so had to see the movie...especially after I landed on it on the tv during the scene where the guy is ummm...pleasuring the woman with his mouth. Made me go "What is this????" and when I saw the name of the film...remembered the book. Finally rented the movie and it is definitely worth a view. The cinematography is beautiful and the story is all about desperation and tragic endings.
½ August 4, 2015
mais de 2 horas entre o tédio e o deslumbre visual; ou: uma combinação entre a 'National Geographic' e o sopro melodramático de um casal em crise.
March 12, 2015
It is based on Paul Bowles' novel having the same title. It is a little difficult to get the meanings of the story. Is it a satire on the rich and decadent life style or just an expression of existentialism? Images including scenery of Morocco and music are very beautiful. Performances of John and Debra are great.
December 19, 2014
Can we say for all reviews of all films in the future that books are not movies? If you read a book and expect the movie to recreate the experience of reading it, you are almost always disappointed. They are radically different art forms, and each has to be judged on its merits. Then we can eliminate many needlessly negative reviews. I haven't read the book yet. This movie, though, was beautiful and psychologically resonant for me. Some scenes don't come off as well as they should, but the theme (of the movie) came through clearly for me anyway. Recommended only for people who like serious films.
June 15, 2011
Dying is probably more fun than watching this movie. It is without a doubt the most boring movie of all time.
½ August 16, 2011
Enchanting visuals, engaging relationships, but at some point, the feature seems to be directed by another person, as if this were two films in one. There is some choppiness to the narration, and it may be difficult to figure out the travels and the events here. The love story is reminiscent of a Fitzgerald novel, and the characterization of a Kafka... if that is possible. I enjoyed this film, but have added the novel to my reading list, because I think as hard as Bertolucci may have tried, this is a story about feelings and not about stunning landscapes.
July 13, 2011
I saw Debra Winger's lady region more than I would've cared to but other than that, a real bummer. Just the kind of movie I like.
March 31, 2011
A great movie for the traveler at heart...
February 13, 2011
2.5 Stars out of 4

I felt The Sheltering Sky exploited too much of its erotic themes and did not protrude it at the right times. Director Bernardo Bertolucci (1900, Last Tango In Paris) has transcended the difficulty of sexuality and its tendency to act as a barrier to certain will power. The Sheltering Sky is the opposite approach to Bertolucci's classic "love story". What happens is travellers Kit (Debra Winger) and Port (John Malkovich) Moresby are on an expedition through North Africa (in 1947) just after the World War, where Mussolini had occupied parts of the continent.

Oh, I should note: For the Moresby's the difference between a tourist and a traveller is a tourist thinks about going home the minute they arrive to their destination. A traveller may never consider going back. Interesting contrast, much of the Moresby's relationship is infected with the tourist - just "love" itself is not fulfilling enough and it is always looking back the other way.

The Moresby's try to fulfill their fantasies and copulate (literally) on the precipice of their marriage. As a terrible calamity occurs half way through the film, it is Debra Winger who pulls through as the frayed, tarnished, but indefatigable Kit, who develops the feminine grandeur of a T.E. Lawrence.

The film itself, based off the 1949 work by Paul Bowles, does not fulfill the requirements of his text. The Sheltering Sky has difficulty pointing out the transformations and amidst all its glorious cinematography (it was all done on location), you could not help but feel the film got the look down, just not the lyricism. When the film concludes on the voice of the estranged narrator, we feel confounded not riveted. The use of the supporting roles, such as Timothy Spall and Campbell Scott seems more like a luxury to the blank spaces than a tactic to generate emotion.
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