Critics Consensus

Naomi Watts and Robin Wright give it their all, but they can't quite make Adore's trashy, absurd plot believable.



Total Count: 75


Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,610
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Movie Info

Set in an Australian seaside town of otherworldly beauty and shot in lush 35mm Cinemascope, ADORE establishes an aura of fable as it follows two women's plunge into uncharted waters. Watts and Wright fearlessly engage with both the physical and psychological components of the story, capturing the complex emotions and powerful desires driving their characters. Strong performances from relative newcomers Xavier Samuel (THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE) and James Frecheville (ANIMAL KINGDOM) complement Watts and Wright's and add another layer of intricacy to the story. Under the precise gaze of Fontaine's camera, ADORE radiates with intoxicating sensuality while exploring the intricacies of love, family, morality and passion.

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Critic Reviews for Adore

All Critics (75) | Top Critics (30)

  • With its soap-operatic performances, bonkbuster plotline and sparkling seafront setting, all 'Adore' really lacks is a cameo from Alf Stewart

    Oct 10, 2013 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • Would Fontaine have made this film if the mothers looked like and were as old as Barbra Streisand and Kathy Bates and the sons weren't built like surfers? Of course not.

    Oct 4, 2013 | Full Review…
  • This isn't an Oedipus complex. This is a Preposterous complex.

    Sep 19, 2013 | Rating: 1/4
  • Cast actresses with the skills that Naomi Watts and Robin Wright bring, give their obliviously icky story some arthouse visual lyricism, and you've got "Adore."

    Sep 12, 2013 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

    Tom Russo

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Adore is, as my late mother would say in describing Sidney Sheldon novels, good trash.

    Sep 7, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • An exceedingly silly, sun-baked sex movie, the kind of import that adds just enough brains to its genitals to get into U.S. arthouses. (In the '70s, the mothers would have been played by Laura Antonelli and Sylvia Kristel.)

    Sep 6, 2013 | Full Review…

    Alonso Duralde

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Adore

  • Oct 28, 2014
    Very hard movie to review, this one. Reading that it is a French production does go part of the way to explain it - definitely this style of movie and storyline is something I would expect from a French movie. Coming from Australia, it was a bit of a surprise! First of all, have to say the movie looks great with the seaside setting. Cast were also all good. While I wouldn't say I liked the story exactly, it certainly did keep me watching to see how much worse it could get. These four people really did live in their own little world. I'm not sure it could happen exactly like this in real life - I could imagine one of the boys going for an older woman, but both?! And the women being like second mums to each boy made it that step harder to believe. Some random who looks good for her age, sure - someone who probably changed your nappy at one stage? Not so much.... And then to actually BE one of these boys mums and know what your son was up to with your best friend. Sure, they struggle with that, for about 10 minutes before shrugging it off as " well, I'm doing it too". Would that seriously happen? I felt really sorry for the wives at the end and the kids, but I think it ended how it should. Beautifully filmed and paced and well worth a watch, but I don't think it will be for everyone.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 15, 2014
    An insufferably dull film that is so moralistic it is embarrassing, and it lacks any sense of direction or real conflict beyond an awkward, preposterous premise, proving to be so completely clueless about its purpose that it doesn't even care to offer a proper end to the story.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 21, 2014
    A Story About Common Interests. Decent Film! ADORE could have turned out really cheesy, but the very real characters, along with a nice blend of funny and sad moods, fitting soundtrack, and pretty Australian beach scenery keep it from becoming so. Fine performances by all the major players. Though more character and conflict development may seem needed at first, we get to know everyone and everything gradually, and the fact that they are all just fairly "normal" people is pivotal. Not the greatest script, but it's nothing if not realistic. But the tone of the film, as it unfolds, seems to almost turn it into a morality tale, suggesting these women brought difficulties and grief on themselves through their indulgent behavior. They experience joy for a time, but it comes at a great cost. Most women don't take up with their best friend's son for very good reasons. Yes it's predictable and fairly generic, but honestly I'd say it's quite hard to exactly hit generic these days, and this film does it. In short, you'll like it if you like softcore romance novels. Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) are two lifelong friends, having grown up together as neighbors in an idyllic beach town. As adults, their sons have developed a friendship as strong as that which binds their mothers. One summer, all four are confronted by simmering emotions that have been mounting between them, and each find unexpected happiness in relationships that cross the bounds of convention.
    Manu G Super Reviewer
  • Feb 20, 2014
    "Until the end of time, I'll be there four you; you own my heart and mind; I truly adore you!" Yeah, Prince would probably get stuck in my head more often if his high vocals weren't so blasted annoying, but, in all seriousness, the Aussies and the French have finally come together for one production, so, of course, I keep wanting to say "Amour". I suppose the fact that the French are still riding high after a film called "Amour" makes the title seem lazy, but as it stands, as "Adore", there's even more laziness, as if it's supposed to say more. Of course, I might just feel that way because this film has, like, a couple hundred alternate titles, all of which, come to think of it, are kind of lazy, including something like "Two Mothers", "Perfect Mothers" and, well, "Ador[u]artion[/u]". Man, with all of this adoring going on, maybe this film really isn't that lazy, as it appears to have quite a bit of passion to it, although if it was really all that passionate about getting people interested through its title, then it would have scrapped all of the "Adore" and "The Mothers" nonsense, and kept the original title from Doris Lessing's inspiring novella, "The [u]Grand[/u]mothers". Oh no, I don't mean that this film could sell you on a premise about young men being involved in affairs with women who are all-out old, because it's creepy enough when the women are supposed to be middle-aged, I mean that I'd be interested in seeing a film called "The Grandmothers" because I'd be curious to see how Naomi Watts could be bought as an old woman. She really is in her 40s, and still look too young to have a 19-year-old son, or rather, Xavier Samuel trying to look 19, but hey, it's a good thing that she's a convincing enough actress to get the job sold, even if this film isn't quite as consistent with having you buy into its narrative. This film's subject matter sounds too minimalist to warrant a runtime of almost two hours, and sure enough, the final product is bloated something fierce, not so much with excess material, but with excess filler that often even devolves into nothingness, made all the more distancing by misfires in thoughtful storytelling. Director Anne Fontaine's steady approach to the telling of a shallow tale limits the sentimentality that could have cheesed up the final product as glaringly lacking in genuineness, yet at the same time, given that material is so limited in minimalist, but overlong drama, thoughtfulness dulls things down, making the unreasonably length hard to deny. This narrative's path is bland, not only because it's near-tiringly overdrawn, but because it's just so familiar, being plagued with clichés that would be easier to forgive if they weren't tropes lifted from a traditional story that is bland enough in concept. I've gone on about how problematic it is that this story concept sees an overdrawn execution, and the reason for that is, of course, this story concept's really not being very momentous, being rather shallow, and not even believable. Time and again, the narrative, or at least important heights in the narrative, hits histrionics, some of which are simply questionable, and some of which are all but seriously distancing in their manufactured-feeling portrayal of intriguing themes on a family's getting too close for comfort, and the eventual collapse of life-long friendships. Potential is limited, and it still finds itself betrayed, by most anything from an excessive length and conventions, to melodrama, thus making for a drama that, for all its serviceably inspired attributes, falls short, maybe almost flat. Regardless, the film gets by, sometimes about as well as it can, on the back of its strengths, even the lighter ones. On top of eventually becoming underplayed as the film reaches a second half that, for whatever reason, really dries up, Christopher Gordon's and Antony Partos' score is too conventional and minimalist to be all that outstanding, yet it's nonetheless near-haunting in its delicate interpretation of the tonal layers of this drama, whether when it's tender or when it's subtly intense. Just as beautiful of a compliment to this film is, of all things, the scenery of this drama, which is primarily set in a North South Wales beach, complete with a vibrant landscape behind rich lighting that cinematographer Christophe Beaucarne celebrates with enough immersion value to catch your eyes, even when the film's narrative isn't quite catching your investment. The story is rather shallow and histrionic in concept, and its execution is draggy and generic, and yet, there's still something juicy about this story of a long-standing friendships' being tested when sexuality, if not love between them and each other's sons, and such juice is often soaked up pretty well by directorial highlights. Storytelling is kind of limp in a lot of ways, but blandness is mostly the fault of Christopher Hampton's scripted plotting, as Anne Fontaine's thoughtful approach to this subject matter, while sometimes dry, has a certain endearing confidence that keeps the drama's depths from superficializing too much, and sometimes impacts. Sexual tension, tender resonance and certain other dramatic highlights are among the tonal layers captured by effective moments in storytelling, of which there are only so many, but enough to get you by, though not without the help of a talented cast. Leads Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville share a layered chemistry that sells the depths of this ensemble character study more organically than the storytelling, and the individual performers also do a fine job of projecting lustful and emotional heat that drives this drama. The strengths are generally subtle, with only so many highlights, but they consistently endear, and no matter how recurring missteps are, the endearing aspects are enough to carry the final product as pretty decent, even if it is also pretty underwhelming. In conclusion, under the pressure of the overdrawn, often dry, and formulaic telling of a shallow and histrionic story, the final product collapses, almost into mediocrity, but through lovely score work and scenery, and a reasonably intriguing story that is done justice by thoughtful directorial highlights and solid performances by leads Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, James Frecheville and Xavier Samuel, "Adore", or "Adoration", "Perfect Mothers", or "Two Mothers", or "Amor Sem Pecado", or "Tage am Strand", or "Dos madres perfectas", or... whatever stands as a fair affair, with effective moments, through all of the flat areas. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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