The Pumpkin Eater

1964

The Pumpkin Eater

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 15

72%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 479

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Movie Info

Anne Bancroft stars as a restless, twice-married British woman with six children, whose third husband is a fledgling screenwriter (Peter Finch). When success spins Finch's head around, he begins to dally with women other than his wife. Meanwhile, Bancroft is forced to stay home and play "domestic goddess", a role for which she is utterly unsuited. After suffering a nervous breakdown, Bancroft wanders the streets of London in a vain search for a sympathetic ear. She eventually comes to grips with the situation at hand--but as in most of playwright Harold Pinter's works, the characters of The Pumpkin Eater are just as unfulfilled in the last scene as they were in the first. Anne Bancroft won a Cannes Film Festival award for her performance in this film. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Pumpkin Eater

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (5)

  • It might make for valid drama if Mr. Pinter had done a half‐way job of establishing this insecure woman on firm psychological ground.

    August 1, 2015 | Full Review…
  • In this slow, strong, incisive film version of the book, the ironing out of a well-kept wife's unkempt psyche is portrayed with harrowing perception by Anne Bancroft.

    August 1, 2015 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Anne Bancroft is exceptionally good... The role may sound conventional enough, but not as played by Bancroft; she adds a depth and understanding which puts it on a higher plane.

    February 13, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Fine performances notwithstanding, the world of the Hampstead soap opera now seems so far away as to almost rate as science fiction.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • There are no easy answers here, no inadvertent banality, nothing off-key. Anne Bancroft gives a flawless performance.

    March 16, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Miss Bancroft's performance is in a class few besides Garbo and Ingrid Bergman have ever achieved on the screen.

    January 24, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Pumpkin Eater

  • Feb 12, 2014
    Terribly depressing which may have influenced my review of the film..but likely not. I give it a middle grade.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 03, 2013
    Jack Clayton ("Room at the Top," "The Innocents") directed this Harold Pinter script, crafting a somber portrait of a sham household. Jo (thirty-something Anne Bancroft, playing a jaded, older woman just as she did in "The Graduate") is stuck in her third loveless marriage, trying to fill the void with an abundance of children (presumably, the film's title is a reference to a pregnant woman's shape). Her current husband (Peter Finch) is a famous screenwriter whose work compels him to spend ample time away from home. She stays behind to weather the chaos of six energetic kids, but is prone to dark moods. Admirably, the story avoids cheap sentimentality and offers no easy solutions. The young Maggie Smith has a brief role as a sexy house guest.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    This is a good melodramatic movie, I don't usually like that genre, but I got into this one, it was engaging. I should watch it again sometime.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2009
    Agreed that this is an underrated movie. Brilliant performances by Anne Bancroft and Peter Finch.
    Ameeta . Super Reviewer

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