The Lunchbox (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Lunchbox (2014)

The Lunchbox



Critic Consensus: Warm, affectionate, and sweet but not cloying, The Lunchbox is a clever crowd-pleaser from first-time director Ritesh Batra.

The Lunchbox Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes that this new recipe will finally arouse some kind of reaction from her neglectful husband. She prepares a special lunchbox to be delivered to him at work, but, unbeknownst to her, it is mistakenly delivered to another office worker, Saajan, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, Ila puts a little note in the following day's lunchbox, in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the mystery. This begins a series of lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila, and the mere comfort of communicating with a stranger anonymously soon evolves into an unexpected friendship. Gradually, their notes become little confessions about their loneliness, memories, regrets, fears, and even small joys. They each discover a new sense of self and find an anchor to hold on to in the big city of Mumbai that so often crushes hopes and dreams. Still strangers physically, Ila and Saajan become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities. (C) Sony Classicsmore
Rating: PG (for thematic material and smoking)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Ritesh Batra
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 1, 2014
Box Office: $4.2M
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


Irrfan Khan
as Saajan Fernandes
Irfan Khan
as Saajan Fernandes
Bharati Achrekar
as Mrs. Deshpande
Denzil Smith
as Mr. Shroff
Bharati Achreker
as Mrs. Deshpande
Nakul Vaid
as Rajeev
Lillete Dubey
as Ila's Mother
Shruti Bapna
as Mehrunnisa
Akash Sinha
as Himself
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Lunchbox

Critic Reviews for The Lunchbox

All Critics (94) | Top Critics (26)

The perfect date film, guaranteed.

Full Review… | October 16, 2014

Batra allows Ila and Sajaan's relationship to develop slowly and subtly, like an old photograph, and the tender humor adds exactly the right amount of spice to what is already a delicious mix of melancholy and hope.

Full Review… | September 10, 2014
Willamette Week

It dragged for me a tiny bit towards the end but, generally, I really enjoyed it.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014
At the Movies (Australia)

Somewhere in [its] moments of joy, lies the film's optimistic message about life, and how it should be lived. Which sounds syrupy, but it's far from it. It's magical.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014
At the Movies (Australia)

Though this much-touted, cuter-than-cute, try-hard romantic film from India has been showered with festival glory and glowing reviews from across the world, it unspools as a likeable but pretty unexceptional little confection.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014

The subtle performances of the leads, the remarkable Irrfan Khan and the engaging Nimrat Kaur, make 'The Lunchbox' a pleasure to watch.

Full Review… | July 16, 2014
Leonard Maltin's Picks

Audience Reviews for The Lunchbox


A warm, melancholy drama that enchants and moves all the more thanks to the way that its three-dimensional characters reveal so much about themselves between the lines - and it is only a pity though that it drags a bit in the third act and ends in a rather frustrating conclusion.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer


A neglected housewife starts a correspondence with a widowed accountant nearing retirement when he is mistakenly delivered the special lunch she made to impress her distant husband. More interesting to Westerners for its peek at the lives and customs of average residents of modern day Mumbai than it is for its ordinary (though well-acted) drama. If this story was set in (say) Seattle, it would be a hopeless bore.

Greg S

Super Reviewer


For a movie that relies heavily on the seductive qualities of food, The Lunchbox rarely dwells on the culinary delights prepared. It's hard not to think the filmmakers missed a golden opportunity to seduce the audience with the wonders of Indian cuisine. After all, in this parable food speaks louder than words ever could. What we do get is a nice romance that unfolds in a very delicate and deliberate manner. Ila is melancholy but radiant. Saajan is a stoic sourpuss. Both mature as a result of knowing each other. There's real drama in their interaction. At times it's so subtle and precious, we have to fill in the blanks as to what people are feeling. This translates into what they ultimately do. I won't spoil the conclusion, but it's as if the screenwriters think a tidy resolution is too predictable. Still, there's a lot to love, particularly the sensitive relationship that evolves among the principals. It's just that the desultory ending is a serious letdown after such a promising buildup. I found it frustratingly unsatisfying. The finish left me hungry for more.

Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

The Lunchbox Quotes

Saajan Fernandes: You are young. You can dream. And for some time you let me into your dreams. And I want to thank you for that.
– Submitted by laurajane s (15 months ago)
Saajan Fernandes: But I had two bananas after lunch....I think it will be good for the motion.
– Submitted by N F (23 months ago)
Saajan Fernandes: Dear Illa the food was very salty today.
– Submitted by N F (23 months ago)
Shaikh: "The wrong train can take you to the right station."
– Submitted by Dante P (24 months ago)

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