Critics Consensus

Jindabyne's disparate themes may not quite cohere, but the film features fine performances from Linney and Byrne.



Total Count: 100


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,158
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Movie Info

Stewart Kane, an Irishman living in the Australian town of Jindabyne, is on a fishing trip in isolated hill country with three other men when they discover the body of a murdered girl in the river. Rather than return to the town immediately, they continue fishing and report their gruesome find days later. Stewart's wife Claire is the last to find out. Deeply disturbed by her husband's actions, her faith in her relationship with Stewart is shaken to the core. She wants to understand and tries to make things right. In her determination to help the victim's family Claire sets herself not only against her own family and friends but also those of the dead girl. Her marriage is taken to the brink and her peaceful life with Stewart and their young son hangs in the balance.

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Critic Reviews for Jindabyne

All Critics (100) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (65) | Rotten (35)

  • The movie's remaining revelations build slowly into a set of surprisingly powerful emotional beats.

    Jun 20, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A fish tale worth telling and worth hearing.

    Jun 8, 2007 | Rating: 3/5
  • The frustration here is that none of this leads anywhere. Perhaps that is the point, that some mysteries are never solved, but Jindabyne could give us a little more to work with.

    Jun 7, 2007 | Rating: 3/5
  • The movie is beautifully shot, and succeeds in being deeply disturbing and mysterious, with richly achieved nuances of characterisation. I have seen it two or three times now, and each time it gets better.

    Jun 2, 2007 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • This kind of maturity and intelligence is all too infrequent in mainstream cinema -- let's hope it's not another six years until [director] Lawrence's next film.

    Jun 2, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Clearly, in his bid to repurpose Carver's story, Lawrence misses the writer's prevailing ethos: the sense of self-contained internal misery and that haunting quality of being hopelessly human.

    May 25, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Jindabyne

  • May 27, 2009
    This is a difficult movie to watch. Understanding Stewart's and Claire's relationship isn't easy. The story is not really about the girl's murder, yet we keep seeing the murderer weave in and out of the movie. I will have to watch it a second time to try to understand it I thought I had seen this movie before, but it was part of the movie 'Short Cuts' I remembered (based on the same short story by Raymond Carver).
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • May 21, 2009
    What do you do when you discover that the man you thought you knew and loved is not guided by the same moral compass as you? What if your mental stability is questioned because of a previous bout with severe post-partum depression? How do you engage your significant other and get him to explain his actions to you? That, in a nutshell, is Jindabyne. Claire (Laura Linney) is trying to understand how Stewart (Gabriel Byrne) and his buddies could blythely go on fishing with the dead body of a young woman tethered in the stream. The interplay between these two characters, their friends, and their disapproving neighbors form the core of this highly emotional film. A subtext concerns the man who killed the girl and may be a serial killer. This subtext, however, was kept on the very fringe. The real meat of the film was in Stewart's inability to admit to any wrongdoing and Claire's need to atone for what she perceived was a great moral failure. Interesting interaction with the aboriginal culture and a taste of the racial tension that exists in the land down under. Great cast, heartbreaking story, starkly beautiful scenery, and a couple of heartpounding moments combine to make this a winner that is still, at times, tough to watch.
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2008
    I understand why people find Jindabyne intriguing, but I thought that the story was slow and boring. It's realistic though, and I usually like that, but I didn't like that they were over dramatizing everything. The ending was very weak as well. So despite strong performances from Linney and Byrne I can't give it a higher grade than 2/5.
    Stefan P Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2008
    here is a case of an intimate film that tries to encompass too much. A simple morality tale; of not doing what society will have you believe to be the "right thing" and the conseqences of not only your actions, but the mores society places on you. The film attempts to instill a sense of displacement; all of the charactors are trying to make the best of things, even though they are clinging to symbolic gestures and icons of attachment to time, place, and the people around them. In truth, an almost existential tone pervades this effort, and as such, it could have held its ground; but the spiritual overtones are devisive and distracting. The impetus of the film comes from four fishing buddies who discover a recently dead body while on their much anticipated yearly fishing trip. Rather than make the day hike out of the canyon to report the body, they spend the weekend as they normally would, and only report the incident after leaving at their normal time. The truth eventually comes out and the community and family are outraged by their callous insensitivity; ignoring that the girl was already dead so it would make no difference to her (and in such a remote location it wasn't as if the delay would have made any difference in potentially catching the killer - and at this point no-one has any idea of how she died). The fisherman believe they've done enough by simply tying her to a tree limb so her body wouldn't float downstream and over a waterfall, and it is ironic that this bow to "humanity" leads to the discovery of their "insensitivity" and sets off a chain reaction of hate. Of course the real issue is that the dead girl was an Aboriginie, so their neglect appears to be racial (when it was really just a snap reaction to having to waste their only time off in order to report their findings). Laura Linney, as one of the wives of the fisherman, then goes on a Quixonic quest to appease her own sense of self as much as appeasing the Aboriginal population. This takes her to the Aboriginal "funeral", a sequence that goes on way too long and is ackward - perhaps by intention. The undercurrent to all this surface action is the sense of disenfrancisement - even the city itself, Jindabyne, was moved from its original location because it was in the way of a new reservoir. There are plenty of scenes of the children facing the dangers of the unknown swimming and playing in and around the reservoir, many of which seem to interupt the narrative, and serving the sole purpose of reminding the viewer that we're all just fish out of water. I admire the vision, but felt that the execution could have been tighter.
    paul s Super Reviewer

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