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Sita Sings the Blues (2008)



Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 0

A tour de force for filmmaker Nina Paley, Sita Sings the Blues gives the Ramayana its animated due with a visually vibrant, dazzlingly imaginative triumph.


Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 0

A tour de force for filmmaker Nina Paley, Sita Sings the Blues gives the Ramayana its animated due with a visually vibrant, dazzlingly imaginative triumph.



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User Ratings: 2,735

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Movie Info

In the Indian legend, Sita is given to Prince Rama in marriage after Rama conquers the other princely suitors for her hand. No sooner is Rama appointed crown prince than he falls victim of a plot that sends him into banishment for fourteen years. Sita accompanies her husband, but is abducted shortly afterwards. With the aid of friendly gods, Rama sets off in pursuit and, following a dangerous struggle, succeeds in freeing her. Rama and Sita return to their home where Rama is made king. But soon


Animation, Romance, Musical & Performing Arts

Nina Paley

Jul 28, 2009

Shadow Distribution - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (33) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (0) | DVD (1)

Charming indie animated film that doesn't insult anyone's intelligence.

December 31, 2009
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

And the ingenuity of Sita -- which evokes painting, collage, underground comic books, Mumbai musicals and "Yellow Submarine" (for starters) - is dazzling. Not busy, or overwhelming, or eye-popping. Just affecting, surprising and a lot of fun.

December 28, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Paley's beguiling, consistently inventive visuals and sly yet melancholy tone are about as warm and winning as heartbreak-fueled empowerment gets.

December 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This colorful, cranium-bursting film isn't about one specific tale so much as the endless ways you can present narratives; it's nothing less than a kitchen-sink deconstruction on the art of storytelling.

December 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Nina Paley's animated marvel mixes a personal tale of romantic woe with a fabulous, often hilarious, recounting of the Sanskrit epic fable The Ramayana.

June 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Captivating, mesmerizing, spellbinding -- I'll throw everything in the movie-critic book at this animated feature by Nina Paley

June 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A spellbinding film that charms with its quirkiness in almost every sequence.

February 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

This is the kind of personal filmmaking that could only have come together through a chance set of inspirations. Maybe you could call it fate.

February 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out Chicago
Time Out Chicago

The more love changes the more it stays the same. History itself falls prey to love in this delightful retelling of the Ramayana.

May 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

... beautiful and often densely detailed images ...

April 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Brand X
Brand X

The brilliance of Paley's achievement is both graphic and structural-she has not only given Sita the visual specificity of a museum-grade gallery painting but also the intricate and inimitable voice of a classic Modernist novel.

April 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

A very creative and poignant animated film about the heartbreaks experienced by a Hindu goddess and a contemporary woman who share the universal pain and sadness that accompany the end of an intimate relationship.

April 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It's akin to watching creativity just explode onscreen -- part abstract, part musical, part improvisation-style comedy, and, most compellingly, all inspired by real-life pain.

April 15, 2010 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The story makes little sense to those unfamiliar with Indian culture and literary traditions, but it is made accessible for westerners by the use of a kind of Greek Chorus of shadow puppets who help interpret the story.

January 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

[Filmmaker Nina] Paley adapts the original 1922 story, The Ramayana, by Valmiki and, wearing many hats, produces a work that is fun, entertaining, educational, colorful and imaginative.

January 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews | Comments (2)
Reeling Reviews

Romantic breakups have provided inspiration to artists through the ages, but never have lemons been made into such a sparkling lemonade as Paley's done here.

December 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

The story shifts effortlessly between the two-dimensional collage style of the narrator segments, the classical artistic design of the Rama-Sita story, the pencil sketch style of the modern story, and finally Hanshaw's musical numbers in a two-dimensional

December 6, 2009 Full Review Source:

An infectious, dazzling and poignant story about love and loyalty in both mythical India and modern America, and perfect proof that animation can work for adults.

November 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Screenwize

Even if its audience will be about 0.01 percent of that of Coraline and Up, Nina Paley's hilarious, effortlessly cross-cultural and utterly original animated feature should be considered with the same lofty regard.

July 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Audience Reviews for Sita Sings the Blues

An oddly cute and unorthodox film utilizing hilarious shadow puppets and really nice cross-cutting blues music with Annette Hanshaw. I got to learn a little bit about Indian religion, experienced a real-life breakup semi-familiar to me, enjoyed some soothing music, and sometimes laughed my head off.
April 7, 2009

Super Reviewer

A delightful little animation, unfortunately stuck in litigious limbo for the time being on account of its unlicensed jazz soundtrack, which is a great pity because it is enormous fun and deserves to reach the widest possible audience. I cannot say I knew anything about the Ramayana before watching Sita Sings the Blues. However, not the least of its achievements, the film is remarkably educational with respect to its sources, somehow managing to be simultaneously reverent and humorously critical.

There are several component parts to the narrative, each with its own individual style of animation. Wonderfully voiced, with an almost improvisational feel, a trio of shadow puppets set the scene, introducing the characters and discussing the events of the Ramayana before we watch them unfold. In addition, writer/director Nina Paley contrasts the turbulent relationship of Rama and his wife Sita with her own autobiographical tale of marital break-up. Finally, interspersed throughout are the Twenties jazz songs of Annette Hanshaw, as lip-synched by Sita. What with kidnap, banishment, single motherhood and trial by fire among her woes, there's little wonder she's singing the blues, poor girl! Women, dump your men and get a cat! "That's all" :D
March 4, 2009

Super Reviewer

absolutely adorable! yes, it's a flash-animated version of the ramayana set to 1920's jazz music!! it's completely enchanting, gorgeous and hilarious and u can watch it here:
February 27, 2009
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

In the 14th century(almost definitely B.C.), Rama is in line for the throne. But that is derailed by a promise by the current king that causes Rama to be exiled for 14 years. His true love, Sita, joins him in exile. Not soon after, she is kidnapped by Ravana.

In modern day San Francisco, Nina and Dave live a life of contentment together with their cat. One day, he gets a six-month job offer in India which he accepts.

"Sita Sings the Blues" is a mesmerizing and immensely entertaining movie that mixes a wide variety of animation styles in the service of the neat trick of pulling the epic Ramayana(which sounds familiar) into the modern day by injecting it alongside a possibly autobiographical storyline. Plus, we get commentary on the ancient text that is as playful as it is thought provoking. Even the intermission is fun. And then there are the blues songs which fit into the narrative perfectly, all in a positively feminist way.
July 18, 2012
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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