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Tess

Tess (1979)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

77

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 6,089

My Rating

Movie Info

In Roman Polanski's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Nastassja Kinski plays Tess, a poor British peasant girl sent to live with her distant and wealthy relatives, the D'Urbervilles. Though Tess' father had hoped that the girl would be permitted a portion of the D'Urberville riches, he is in for a major disappointment: Tess' new housemates are not D'Urbervilles at all, but a social-climbing family that has bought the name. Tess won three Oscars, including a "Best

PG,

Drama

Sep 28, 2004

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Latest News on Tess

September 29, 2005:
Critical Consensus: "Blue" Sinks, "Violence" Kills, "Serenity" Soars
This week at the movies, we have sexy divers ("Into the Blue"), secretive family men...

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All Critics (21) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (3) | DVD (8)

Tess is a sensitive, intelligent screen treatment of a literary masterwork.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tess tells one rather more about its director's much publicised preoccupations than about Hardy's themes.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a wonderful film.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Without Mr. Polanski's name in the credits, this lush and scenic Tess could even be mistaken for the work of David Lean.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

een in the context of Roman Polanski's career it becomes something rich and strange, shaded into terror by the naturalistic absurdism that is the basis of Polanski's style.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Roman Polanski is one of those men who, despite his icky treatment of women in real life, manages to create strong and compelling female characters for the screen.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

This is Kinski's show and she flat out steals it.

March 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The film, like its source, is filled with pessimistic fatalism, but it spares no pity for the instruments of fate [...] What, if anything, this meant to Polanski remains unknowable.

February 25, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

Unexciting.

February 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Insufferably long, but very good in parts.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Visually, Tess is a masterpiece, capturing in amazing detail the scenery and atmosphere of the England of yore. The film's chief drawback, however, is its lack of vitality.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Though not one of Polanski's best features, this adaptation of Thomas Hardy's challenging novel, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, is intelligent if flawed, but it's nice to look at due to excellent production values, particularly cinematography.

January 8, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Polanski is entitled to one monstrously overlong period piece, and in Tess he acquits himself satisfactorily, though the film isn't nearly the equal of its counterparts

October 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Tess conveys the bleak determinism that makes this young woman's life so anguished.

January 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Gorgeous, sumptuous, and quietly intense masterpiece.

October 15, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Not a high point in Polanski's career but not without its merits.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Audience Reviews for Tess

Beautiful to look at, not just the scenery but the art direction as well but overlong and somewhat ponderous. Director Polanski's silent tribute to his late wife Sharon Tate at the end of the opening credits with a simple "To Sharon" after his credit is quite moving. She had left the Hardy novel with a note that she thought he would make a fine film of it when she headed back to the states just before her death.
April 12, 2013
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

A resonant and visually stunning period piece about a beautiful but unfortunate young woman born in an ungrateful time and divided between two men who are bound to abuse her. Even if the film may feel too long, the cinematography and art direction are a marvel to behold.
October 17, 2012
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

The mean and downward day by day of a gorgeous peasant girl. beautifully adapted to the screen by Roman Polanski. A film dedicated to his wife Sharon Tate.
May 27, 2007
pier007

Super Reviewer

A not quite traditional take on Thomas Hardy's book, Polanski nonetheless breathes some fresh air on the material and makes it very intriguing.
April 29, 2014
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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