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Woman on Top (2000)


Average Rating: 4.7/10
Reviews Counted: 97
Fresh: 33
Rotten: 64

Critics Consensus: Despite Penelope Cruz's beauty and charm, the movie is too tepid to be a romance and too silly to be believable. And the movie is too eager to please with an ending that seems more like a cop out.

Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 9
Rotten: 21

Critics Consensus: Despite Penelope Cruz's beauty and charm, the movie is too tepid to be a romance and too silly to be believable. And the movie is too eager to please with an ending that seems more like a cop out.


Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 8,008



Movie Info

Love, sex, and food combine in this sensuous romantic comedy. Isabella (Penelope Cruz) is a master chef who suffers from severe motion sickness, requiring her to be in control of her movements at all times. This need extends to the bedroom, but her husband Tonino (Murilo Benicio), who owns the restaurant where she works, doesn't like to make love in the fashion suggested by the title. This is hardly the only thing about their relationship that she finds stifling, and when Isabella discovers … More

R (for strong sexuality and language)
Drama , Romance , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Vera Blasi
In Theaters:
Dec 18, 2001
Box Office:
Fox Searchlight - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Woman on Top

All Critics (114) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (64) | DVD (11)

Short and sweet, it's suitable for a date night that includes both a movie and dinner.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

A romantic fairy tale that's light and in several ways seductive, if not exactly filling. Still, there's always something enticing for the eye.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Cruz is bewitching all through the movie, but her beauty and charm have to pull a heavy train of cliches and inevitable developments.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Penelope Cruz and little else in this so-so comedy

Full Review… | January 2, 2011
Common Sense Media

"Woman On Top" is a chick flick with so much colorfully spicy Brazilian food being passed around as a shared aphrodisiac, that audience couples will be running out the cinema for food and bed.

Full Review… | May 16, 2009

Cruz smolders with sexuality.

Full Review… | September 16, 2007
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Wildly mediocre.

Full Review… | September 23, 2006

May remind you of Like Water For Chocolate without the tragedy and subtitles.

Full Review… | July 1, 2004

How is it possible for a movie about two hot Latin lovers and spicy South American food, to be so bland?

Full Review… | December 30, 2003
Three Movie Buffs

For a film whose title implies female empowerment, Woman On Top is really about motion sickness.

Full Review… | September 12, 2002
Lawrence Journal-World

Magical realism spins out of control in 'Woman on Top.'

Full Review… | August 2, 2002
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Woman on Top es una divertida fábula acerca del poder del Amor. Simplona...pero romántica.

July 28, 2002

Does nothing for gender or culture politics, but it's peppy and colorful, so you might enjoy parts even if you really shouldn't.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
Film Journal International

Everything might come together, too, were it not for terrible writing, marginal acting, some bewildering lapses of logic, and a fatal smugness.

January 1, 2000
New Times

Deeply bogus stuff, from a filmmaker who knows better (Celestial Mechanics), and an actress who is too talented to let herself be exploited like this.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Vera Blasi's thin script comes across as more silly than magical.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Internet Reviews

A more mature screenplay that delved into relationships, magical or not, would have helped.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Reeling Reviews

A Like Water for Chocolate wannabe that isn't.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Reeling Reviews

Woman on Top is a film that quite literally cooks -- but only when Penélope Cruz is in the kitchen.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Its whimsicality is forced, its attempts at cross-cultural humor are tired, and some of the acting is flat-out terrible.

January 1, 2000

This picture has no spirit, no soul and no magic.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

This has nothing but the lamest romantic notions of kitchen sex.

January 1, 2000
San Francisco Examiner

Audience Reviews for Woman on Top

A cook moves from Brazil to San Francisco after she catches her husband cheating.
Motifs of sex, food, and voodoo comprise the plots of this light-hearted fairy tale. Penelope Cruz plays a woman who is so prone to motion sickness that she can only enjoy sex if she is on top, which drives her husband into the arms of another woman. The only way such a plot is remotely believable is if one suspends all disbelief. My brain is capable of such deceptive gymnastics. Instead, I found the film's light-hearted whimsy annoying and worthy of more than one eyeroll.
Cruz is sexy and fun, but into the second act, I felt that she had ceased to care as much as I.
Overall, unless foolish farce is your thing, stay the hell away from this film.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Other than crazy sexy Penelope Cruz, I think Harold Perrineau was my favorite part! Sassy crossdresser. Fab! However, I think the story kinda lacked and shouldn't have ended like it did (she went back to the jerk who cheated on her?! Really?!) ... BUT! I did like the fairytale aspect of it (I'm such a sucker for that kind of stuff) and it was pretty sexy.

Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

It was alright.

Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

FUCK!!!! Damn stupid film! It was going brilliantly: Penelope falls in love with Mr. handsome, slick and smooth, he treats her like crap, so she leaves and then thanks to a nifty witchcraft subplot has her love for him taken away. She goes to America where she's a success - getting her own cooking show, but husband follows and tries everything to get her back. Meanwhile she meets another guy who's genuinely decent and infinitely more likeable, but instead of bringing out "the passion" in him (this movie is all about "passion"), she undoes the spell and goes back to her ex!! Sure, to start with he lets her go on top, and doesn't shove her away in the kitchen anymore, but he never really changes and you don't believe that within a few weeks he won't be cheating on her again. All through the film I found myself wishing he would get hit by a tram (this being set in San Francisco), but no. Penelope Cruz is good in this and it does feel a tad biographical: woman goes to America to make the most of her talents but everyone just wants to see her breasts.

In my head I'm going to imagine that she didn't go back with the greasy latin crooner, but as that's only in my head this film only deserves two stars.

Marcus Woolcott

Super Reviewer

Woman on Top Quotes

Toninho Oliveira:
I love you.
– Submitted by Annie I (2 years ago)

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