Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 85% based on reviews from 126 critics. On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 83 out of 100, based on 35 reviews.
It was mentioned in the 2002 Sight & Sound Poll by Amy Taubin, who ranked it at 10th
During a Q&A session at the Kodak Lecture Series in May 2005, Cronenberg revealed that neither he, nor Fiennes, nor Richardson, nor the producers received any sort of salary during the shooting of the film. All chose to waive their salaries, so the money could be used to bankroll the under-funded production.
The film premiered at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and enjoyed some media buzz; however, it was released in only a few cinemas at the year's end by distributor Sony Pictures Classics. Nonetheless, the film enjoyed much acclaim by critics and especially by Cronenberg enthusiasts. The film garnered a Best Director award at the Canadian Genie Awards. The stars of the film, Ralph Fiennes and particularly Miranda Richardson, received several awards for their work in the film.
man this is such a strange movie 2 watch, but it is such a fantastic movie 2 watch,.....its got a good cast throughout this movie, man this is such a really complex movie 2 watch, but it is so really well directed/written/acted movie 2 watch I think that this is such a fantastic movie 2 watch.......WARNING THIS MOVIE CONTAINS STROBE LIGHTNING EFFECTS THROUGHOUT SOME SCENES THORUGHOUT THIS MOVIE......
This was a fascinating view into the psychosis of a man trapped in a childhood trauma. Ralph Fiennes is such a brilliant actor that his character needn't utter a single word in order to convey his emotional state; you can see the mental torture he's character, Spider, was going through by the way Fiennes contorted his body. He was just amazing to watch. Gabriel Byrne who played Spider father and Miranda Richardson who played his mother were equally brilliant, especially the contrast between Richardson's mother and mistress personas. I wasn't sure what to expect from this film but with a stellar cast like this, I was certain the film wouldn't disappoint and it didn't.