Comfort of Strangers (1997)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

In this erotic thriller, a young English couple on vacation in Venice find themselves seduced by a mysterious older couple. Mary (Natasha Richardson) and Colin (Rupert Everett) have come to Italy to chart the future of their troubled relationship. They soon meet Robert (Christopher Walken), the enigmatic owner of a picturesque watering hole. He entertains them with copious vino and colorful stories of a childhood spent with a brutal, domineering father. Later, drunk and lost in the maze-like city, the couple once again encounter Robert, who puts them up at his gorgeous villa. They also meet his wife, Caroline (Helen Mirren), who suffers from crippling back pain and obvious emotional instability. Fascinated by the glamorous older couple but disturbed by their dysfunctions, Colin and Mary find themselves slowly drawn into sexual and emotional games that culminate in sudden violence. Directed by Paul Schrader, The Comfort of Strangers was adapted by playwright Harold Pinter from the novel by Ian McEwan. Richardson previously starred in Patty Hearst, Schrader's portrait of the newspaper heiress-turned-terrorist.
R (nudity, violence)
Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Madacy Home Video


Helen Mirren
as Caroline
Manfredi Aliquo
as Concierge
Fabrizio Castellani
as Bar Manager
Mario Catone
as Detective
David Ford
as Waiter
Daniel Franco
as Waiter
Giancarlo Previati
as First Policeman
Antonio Serrano
as Second Policeman
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Critic Reviews for Comfort of Strangers

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (3)

Ineffective adaptation of Ian McEwan's intriguing novel

June 29, 2005

Languidly traverses a climate of moral ambiguity and emotional torpor without spilling any vino on the palazzo's floor.

Full Review… | December 23, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A compelling and macabre psychological thriller

Full Review… | July 19, 2003
Spirituality and Practice

Odd, unsettling and rather pointless

October 4, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Quote not available.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Quote not available.

September 22, 2006

Audience Reviews for Comfort of Strangers


"The Comfort of Strangers" is hardly groundbreaking. In fact most of the film is so insignificant that without the intriguing ending the film would have simply floated away. Thankfully the acting is top notch (Natasha Richardson, Rupert Everett, Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren) are all well suited to the material. They are skilled actors who do well with Harold Pinter's dialogue. In fact, "The Comfort of Strangers" would make a good companion piece to Pinter's older screenplay "The Servant." This picture is rather easy to read, simply put it's about the death of beauty but it's competently made and has an interesting ending making it worth at least one viewing.

Steven Carrier
Steven Carrier

Super Reviewer

The synopsis of this film makes it sound much more interesting than it actually is. A bizarre story that just never seems to lift into anything remotely exciting, instead a slow, dull watch hoping for a glimpse of excitement, which never appears

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer


A study of how a director can control performances, tone, editing and cinematography to create an overwhelming mood of menace.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

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