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Teorema (Theorem)

Teorema (Theorem) (1968)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 3,932

My Rating

Movie Info

Terence Stamp is known only as "The Visitor" in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Teorema. The mysterious stranger insinuates himself into the home of a wealthy Italian family, where he exerts a curious, sensual spirituality over everyone in the household. He then proceeds to seduce everyone in the family (male and female) including the maid, which gives each person some sort of unique epiphany. Because he reveals so little about his innermost thoughts, "The Visitor" becomes all things to all people. What

Oct 4, 2005

Continental Motion Pictures

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (2) | DVD (4)

The narrative, almost silent in the first half, is unusually clear for a film by Pasolini. Performance by all members of the cast are praiseworthy, though Stamp dominates the first half and Betti, the second.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What would be pretentious and strained in the hands of most directors, with Pasolini takes on an intense air of magical revelation.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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The movie itself is the message, a series of cool, beautiful, often enigmatic scenes that flow one into another with the rhythm of blank verse.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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I don't feel ready to write about this mysterious film; perhaps, a week from now, I'll decide it is very bad, a failure. But perhaps it is the most brilliant work yet by that strange director, Pier Paolo Pasolini.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Apart from his final feature, Salo, this is probably Pier Paolo Pasolini's most controversial film, and to my mind one of his very best.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Arguably Pasolini's most finely wrought work, an allegory bringing together his central preoccupations with politics, sexuality, society, art and the irredeemable inauthenticity of bourgeois life.

April 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The film, made in 1968, was provocative then and remains so now. But it doesn't elucidate its ambivalent moral secrets easily.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

It is as if Pasolini has imagined how Italy's bland, complacent, stagnant governing class could be blown wide open: like putting a hundredweight of dynamite in the San Andreas fault.

April 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian

Pasolini creates an ethereal mood - and Stamp, smiling ineffably,has never been better.

April 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Whichever of the various interpretations you ascribe to this socio-political parody, the quality is undeniable.

April 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A heavily symbolic and highly intellectual look at the bourgeois milieu and the effect that a mysterious visitor, Stamp, has on one specific family.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

You'll either find it brilliant, or maddening. And neither response would be wrong.

April 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Highly regarded in some quarters, Pier Paulo Pasolini's Teorema is basically a film about Terence Stamp's crotch.

October 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

earnest experiment, but it's simply too obtuse to be a success, and too undercooked (not to mention sloppily put together) to make much of an impact

October 4, 2005 Full Review Source:

A magical lyrical work about the improbable.

January 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A fascinating, infuriating, cryptic allegory featuring a performance from Terence Stamp as memorable as his brilliant blue stare.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for Teorema (Theorem)

Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Teorema" had me dumbfounded! It was one of those rare instances where I was unable to formulate a clear opinion of what I thought about it. For one, this minimalist picture from the controversial filmmaker has "art-house" written all over it. Yes, there is extreme minimalism, very little dialog (it seems the number of actual spoken words in the film is about 923!). This almost silent film is allegorical...rife with symbolism and religious connotations, and may not be a very interesting subject matter for those looking at mainstream cinema, that is for sure!

Terence Stamp is "The Visitor", a mysterious stranger who once visits the mansion of a rich family of four. The man of the house is Paolo, a rich businessman who owns a factory, and then there's his awkward son, a daughter, a beautiful wife who is sexually repressed and a scary-looking maid. In the next few days that pass, this visitor has sexual encounters with each of the inhabitants of the house! In a way, he "seduces" them. And almost as suddenly as he appears, he soon takes leave of them, leaving them in a state like never before! All of these people he "touched" exhibit marked changes in their lives, of a different level altogether!


The "consequences" forms the crux of this strange film and paves way for detailed discussion! What makes Pasolini's film so important is the daring concept that Pasolini presents to his viewers with a script set in the contemporary world. From what I understand, The visitor is supposed to be a God-send or an angel who influences the members of the house in one way or another. Why "sexually" is a good question, but that depends on how you see it. Is it the touch of God, or the Devil's seduction? Perhaps it is symbolic of a "close encounter with God"?

So what exactly does God do to these bourgeois individuals? Apparently he makes them see beyond their pretentious cocooned life. They all go through a self-realization phase, which they all confess one by one to the Visitor when it is time for him to leave. But he isn't there to see the changes. Are these changes always positive? Does being "blessed" always lead to happiness? Or is there another side to it? Pasolini, through his seemingly simple yet highly complex allegory poses these ambiguous questions, which likely polarized his audiences, based on their religious beliefs! Being an atheist I wasn't particularly offended or overwhelmed with the subject, but I was definitely intrigued by how drastically different this film and its viewpoint is! Pasolini's technique of story-telling is poetic! It is almost like Pasolini deliberately chose the visual style as exists in the film to give it a meditative form. Long takes, solitude, mostly gentle atmosphere, intermittent random scenes of a vast empty desert, the presence of a radiant light just before the visitor appears, all tactfully done! The visuals are also enchanting, the cinematography is beautiful, with the colours changing from sepia (in the beginning during the introduction of the characters, perhaps to show their 'ordinary' life?) to vividly colourful (a marked change with the introduction of the "visitor"?). It is then, mostly on the technical front and the handling of the film with its layered theme that makes "Teorema" most watchable.


Where it falters is in some (only a couple or three) haphazard sequences here and there, and in the tepid acting from the actors playing the son and the daughter. I don't know if it was intentional but the daughter, Odetta (Anne Wiazemsky) who also appeared in Robert Bresson's "Au Hasard Balthazar" delivers what could be one of the most wooden acting performances I've seen! At one point it even becomes slightly apparent that she is reading her lines from cue cards!! The son, Pietro is played by Andrés José Cruz Soublette also seems somewhat awkward, but maybe his acting reflects his character who behaves like that owing to being a closeted homosexual!

The finest acting then comes from Terence Stamp, even though he doesn't have much to do except give mysterious smiles once in a while and appear compassionate! A close second best actor in the film is the beautiful Silvana Magnano, the lady of the house. Her Lucia's perplexed state of mind is wonderfully portrayed by the actress. Also impressive is Laura Betti as Emilia, the maid. Laura looks and acts the weird Emilia quite earnestly.


But how does one eventually evaluate and rate something as flummoxing as "Teorema"? Why is it even called that anyway? ('Teorema' means 'Theorem') There are views that the structure of the film itself and the psychological transformation of all characters follow a single formulaic structure! The film doesn't boast of great acting, neither is it an intimate character portrait. Not all characters are dug deep into. The subject matter is not what one would fall in love with, but it sure is extremely interesting! But in spite of this, there is something about "Teorema" that makes it worthwhile. While the visuals and the characters haunt your memory long after the film is over, the happenings in the narrative will give you something to ponder about. It is not a film one may go ga-ga about, but can one ever forget having watched "Teorema"? Hell, no!

Score: 8/10.
August 1, 2013
Aditya Gokhale
Aditya Gokhale

Super Reviewer

A mysterious young buck visits a wealthy household, makes love to the father, son, mother, wife, and housekeeper and then leaves; all of them are lost without him and fall into separate strange tragedies. Another dry and dull, and inexplicably influential, experiment from Italian masochist Pier Paolo Passolini.
January 15, 2013
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Arresting and profound! The film begins with the ending. Stamp acts as an awakener to the pseudo-existence of the bourgeoisie. Stamp's character can be summarized by a Nick Cave lyric: I found god and all of his devils inside h(im). The second half of the film, or upon Stamp's departure, is lingeringly complex. Upon initial viewing and at a cursory level, I find each character reacting to their a...wakening or crisis of the spirit, through means of the physical, insanity, art, sexuality, misguided spirituality, or stripped naked of materialism, possibly lost in the horror of recognition. I know there is a statement in this film about society, the spirit, and its relation to the human condition and experience: I just don't know what to think of it yet.
January 5, 2012

Super Reviewer

A very Christian rumination: what is the meaning of life? Pasolini poetically, lyrically offers the Book of Ecclessiates by Solomon (" ... everything is vanity ") for consideration. Made in the Sixties it reflects some of the counter- cultural ideas that were sweeping through the affluent West at that time.
July 30, 2011

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Teorema - Geometrie der Liebe (DE)
  • Teorema (1968) (UK)
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