The Mistress of Spices


The Mistress of Spices

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 9


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,007
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The Mistress of Spices Photos

Movie Info

Director Paul Mayeda Berges adapts author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni magic realist tale about an enchanting Indian orphan who has leaned to harness the magical properties of spices. Orphaned by regional strife in her homeland of India, Tilo (Aishwarya Rai) is subsequently kidnapped by a vicious gang of bandits. A daring escape is quick to follow, and soon after washing up on mysterious shores the traumatized girl is sheltered by a benevolent old woman (Zohra Segal) who reveals to her the remarkable powers of common spices. Later, after moving to Oakland, California and opening her own spice shop, Tilo is compelled to follow three strict stipulations is she is to retain her ability to harness these magnificent powers: she must never use the powers for her own gain, she can never venture outside of her store, and she must never make contact with the skin of another person. When a handsome architect (Dylan McDermott) crashes his motorcycle just outside of the shop and the kindly proprietor rushes to his aid, the instant chemistry between the pair soon finds Tilo's resolve put to the ultimate test.


Critic Reviews for The Mistress of Spices

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (1) | Rotten (8)

  • It's such a disappointment that the end result is a bland, feeble fable.

    Oct 20, 2017 | Full Review…

    Anil Sinanan

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • About all that can be said about The Mistress of Spices is that actress Rai manages to retain a straight face while uttering some of the most risible dialogue ever heard in a supposedly serious drama.

    Jul 28, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Emphasizes the pleasures of scent, taste and touch to a remarkably tantalizing degree.

    Jul 28, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • Imagine Like Water for Chocolate without the passion. Such is the premise of Mistress of Spices, Paul Mayeda Berges's film-directing debut.

    May 4, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Beautiful but lifeless, poetic but unelevated.

    Apr 25, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Elley

    Top Critic
  • Despite the ethereal presence of Aishwarya Rai in the title role, unquestionably one of the most beautiful women on the planet, this savory dose of magic realism goes off almost from the start.

    Sep 21, 2005

Audience Reviews for The Mistress of Spices

  • Feb 04, 2011
    Bollywood without the dance numbers. Aishwarya Rai is just so hot!
    Bill C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 27, 2010
    This was an entertaining movie soley because of the fun my friends and I made while ridiculing it. I disliked it immensley. Please don't see.
    Liz < Super Reviewer
  • Aug 29, 2010
    Mistress of Spices is a mythical tale of a woman who at a young age discovers she can see things others could not and uses her power of the spice, to help them. Of course for the spices to work she has to live by significant rules, she is never allowed to step outside her store, never touch another skin, never fall in love and love and live only for the spices. If she breaks these rules punishment is meted out by the powers that are dwelling within those spices and I tell you, they're quite vengeful as horrible things happen. The movie then spins into a tale of forbidden love when she encounters the handsome Dylan McDermott and begins breaking the rules. There's an underlying reminder for Indians based overseas about never forgetting their roots and culture, and to never fall for the enticing decadent lifestyle of the foreigners. The spices and the restrictions for handling them represent the belief that one may not be able to keep their own culture while living in the West, but the end of the story proves it otherwise. Dylan is quite adept at delivering the occasional smoldering look necessary to convey "I'm falling in love" and the ravishing beautiful Rai is luminous, with those huge blue green eyes. Anupam Kher (The Other End of the Line) tries hard with his performance, but fails to add any relevance to the story line.
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 12, 2010
    I watched this a long time ago. It's okay.
    Dead A Super Reviewer

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