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Solyaris (Solaris)

Solyaris (Solaris) (1976)



Average Rating: 8.4/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 2

Solaris is a haunting, meditative film that uses sci-fi to raise complex questions about humanity and existence.


Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 1

Solaris is a haunting, meditative film that uses sci-fi to raise complex questions about humanity and existence.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 25,167

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem, Solaris centers on widowed psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donata Banionis), who is sent to a space station orbiting a water-dominated planet called Solaris to investigate the mysterious death of a doctor, as well as the mental problems plaguing the dwindling number of cosmonauts on the station. Finding the remaining crew to be behaving oddly and aloof, Kelvin is more than surprised when he meets his seven-years-dead wife Khari (Natalya Bondarchuk) on the station. It

Nov 26, 2002

Kino International

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All Critics (45) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (2) | DVD (17)

The effects are scanty, the drama gloomy, the philosophy of the film thick as a cloud of ozone. The plot is not all that original either.

May 23, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comments (8)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Andrei Tarkovsky spins a strange, slow but absorbing parable on life and love in the guise of a sci-fi theme.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

More an exploration of inner than of outer space, Tarkovsky's eerie mystic parable is given substance by the filmmaker's boldly original grasp of film language and the remarkable performances by all the principals.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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It's a smart response to the superficial excesses of the sci-fi genre.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This complex and sometimes very beautiful film is about humanity but hardly at all about politics.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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There was so much to think about afterward, and so much that remained in my memory.

January 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris, we have made contact with the aliens, and they want you to call your mom.

June 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Proves the yin to Kubrick's yang, not out of contrarian longing, but because that was the form best suited for the content Tarkovsky wanted to explore.

May 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Its discussion of passion and obsession, regret and reconciliation is consistently challenging and offers few easy answers.

May 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Haunting, provocative, beautifully shot and infused with an irresistable, tender sadness, this is sci-fi, and indeed cinema, at its most powerful and mysterious.

May 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4

...addictive, serenely maddening

May 19, 2011 Full Review Source:

Make sure to see the long version (167 minutes) of Tarkovsky's provocative sci-fi, one of the best of its genre

December 3, 2010 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

A brilliantly imaginative work of art.

November 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Slow, but ravishingly beautiful and charged with a real poignancy.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Once you accustom yourself to its pace -- it takes probably the first hour -- it's a hypnotic experience.

April 9, 2007 Full Review Source:

It's unique: a sci-fi feature wherein most of the exploration is done within the human soul, a kind of obverse of what we usually expect from the genre.

October 10, 2005 Full Review Source: F5 (Wichita, KS)

The larger theme of Solaris is communication itself, particularly the failure of communication between people.

October 20, 2003 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Meditative cinema.

October 15, 2003 Full Review Source:

Draggy, but compelling, if you've read the book.

June 11, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

A million light years removed from the pseudo-religious grandstanding of Kubrick's acid-trip space odyssey, this takes Kelvin -- and us -- on a journey into the uncharted depths of inner space.

February 18, 2003 Full Review Source: BBC

...[Tarkovsky's] camera lingers oppressively on things that mean absolutely nothing.

February 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (25)
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Solyaris (Solaris)

You really have to be in the right mood and frame of mind to watch this and get all the way through. That doesn't mean you need to be high, but that might make things a little more interesting. The comparisons to 2001 are warranted, but only to an extent. Thematically, this movie has more in common with something like Vertigo. If you can handle long, slow, "heavy" art films with a loose plot, then this is for you. I'm not a huge fan of films like this, but I was able to get through this without much effort, which is amazing. Brilliant, poetic, visually stunning, and more like an experience than anything else. If you want something different, check this out.
January 21, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A laboriously long science-fiction film gives time for deep meditation about human existence and its perplexing themes. A bit tad too long, but it must be, in all its mystery. Its haunting, and has me rooted to my own life and thinking..
May 28, 2012
Adriel Lim

Super Reviewer

Evolutionary philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme recently hosted an enlightening PBS program called "Journey of the Universe". In it, Swimme postulates that there exists an awareness or sentience to energy "that is more than what takes place in elementary particles but less than (our) human consciousness". There is a primitive discernment, he says, made by even the simplest cells due to what is suggested to be the "self-organizing dynamics of the universe". When a cell encounters a molecule, the cell must decide whether to incorporate it or not. On a celestial level, our Earth has developed a symbiotic relationship with the sun, "Earth's systems attune to the sun, changing molecular structures to absorb the sun's energy". What motivates life to stay living? Why is existing so important for unconscious energy? 99% of the human body is made up of only 6 chemical elements (oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus), and these elements come from the residue of stars exploded billions of years ago. Somehow, through some natural progression, we've come to exist from the dust of stars. It can almost be suggested from all this that life is the driving force of the universe. That the will to progress, evolve and *live* overcomes any other movitating power.

In "Solaris" (both the film and the 1961 novel by Stanislaw Lem), mankind encounters a lifeform it cannot comprehend. A "living ocean" on the planet Solaris that seems to cause mysterious hallucinations to the astronauts investigating it. The Solaris Project has spent decades orbiting the planet in a space station, trying to make contact with the alien lifeform, but rather than enlightenment, the project only seems to get further mired in confusion. So, psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent up to the space station to investigate the matter and see if the project might need to be permanently closed. Kelvin is highly skeptical of the supernatural nature of the phenomenon occurring on the station, dismissing them as mere hallucinations, but almost from the moment he arrives there, he's sucked into their existence by the appearance of his dead wife. The scientists believe the alien consciousness ("the ocean") is creating neutrino-based lifeforms from their own repressed memories. Well, the word "lifeforms" might be contested, as some of the scientists believe they are living and others believe them to be just physical hallucinations that exist only as a part of their mind. The manifestation of Kelvin's wife knows she's not the original wife and doesn't share the same memories. She is composed only of what Kelvin believed his wife to be. But given these parameters, she accepts and functions and exists in her "state". By whatever definition you choose for "life", she lives, but is still not human.

Director Andrei Tarkovsky's languidly ponderous film isn't about space aliens or body snatchers, but the nature of life and humanity's fundamentally willful isolation in the universe. We don't understand because we choose not to. We fail to make contact because we don't comprehend what we're looking at or looking for. This explains why the planet Solaris' motivation for creating life from the astronauts memories is never learned or even suggested. As the closing scene of the movie suggests, we grasp at things to understand them, but are left fundamentally alone in the universe.
January 8, 2012
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Solaris poses the question, "does the capacity for logic and emotion conceive Humanity?" A source of mysterious energy, Solaris is a fictional ether that renders hallucinations to a group of scientists aboard a laboratory in space. A science fiction feature aware of the world from which conceived, Solaris, in simple terms, is profound and sophisticated. Brilliant.
September 9, 2011
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

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