Critics Consensus

Though it's lengthy and doesn't always walk the line between schlock and kitschy homage successfully, Viva's lovely visuals and knowing humor are undeniable.



Total Count: 48


Audience Score

User Ratings: 343
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Movie Info

Writer and director Anna Biller takes a swingin' look back at sexploitation cinema of the '70s in this candy-colored comedy drama. Barbi (Anna Biller) is a beautiful but blasé suburban housewife whose handsome mate, Rick (Chad England), is more interested in his career than in quenching his wife's sensual thirsts. When up-and-coming actor Mark (Jared Sanford) and his open-minded wife, Sheila (Bridget Brno), move in next door, Barbi discovers they're more than willing to help her find the thrills she's been missing. Before long, Mark and Sheila part company, and when Rick finds out about Barbi's extramarital dalliances, he walks out on her. Free to do as she pleases, Barbi changes her name to Viva and teams up with Sheila to join the front lines of the sexual revolution, enjoying assignations with a dizzying variety of partners, including hipster artist Clyde (Marcus DeAnda), psychedelic naturalist Elmer (Paolo Davanza), experimental theater advocate Arthur (John Klemantaski), glamorous lesbian model Agnes (Robbin Ryan), and sexually ambiguous hair stylist Sherman (Barry Morse). But will Viva's appetite for the ecstatic lead her into dangerous and unexpected places? Viva received the "Best of Fest" award at the 2007 Boston Underground Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Viva

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (19)

  • Anna Biller's 1970s-styled sexploitation parody Viva may at times come too close to the real thing, but there's a welcome delight in the film's unapologetic and total submersion into cheap thrills.

    Mar 30, 2016 | Full Review…
  • The movie wears out its welcome long before it meanders to a close at 121 minutes. But as a kinky costume party it's watchable, if only for the smutty sex scenes and Biller's bold pop-art decor.

    Mar 30, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Reported parallels with the Marquis de Sade's Justine just don't wash. It's more like Russ Meyer, except the jugs on view aren't as big.

    May 16, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • At an epic two hours the stilted dialogue and eye-scorchingly oversaturated film stock threaten to test the patience. But as a self-conscious exercise in kitsch graverobbing, 'Viva' succeeds.

    May 15, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It's the sort of attention to detail that would be admirable in a short film. But in a film that plays out at two hours it's unendurable. Paying ironic homage to bad cinema doesn't suddenly make it good.

    May 15, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Where her film lets itself down, though, is it's simply not funny; you assume that a certain kind of hipster audience may be tickled by all this, but the laughs will be as forced as those that bray out of the screen at all too regular intervals.

    May 15, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Andrew Pulver

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Viva

  • Jan 26, 2010
    This movie is fucking brilliant. It was the most perfect homage to late sixties/early seventies sexploitation flicks I've ever seen. Had I not known that it was made two years ago I would never in a million years have thought that it wasn't the real thing. Everything, right down to the film stock, looked authentic. You can't really be sure whether the characters are played by extremely bad actors or extremely good actors pretending to be bad actors. Either way it's great. Not only that, but none of the actors looked like they belonged in this century. They look more like the casting agent set the way back machine for the early seventies and just cast people from the era. The sets were dead on, the dialogue is completely ridiculous and laced with blatant sexual innuendos, and the nudity? I don't think word abundant does it justice. Anna Biller may be one of my new heroes (and unlike most of my heroes I can think naughty thoughts about this one). Viva is a funny, stylistic, and extremely fucking hot achievement. Oh, and did I mention that there's a hippie nudist jam session?
    Shane D Super Reviewer

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