The Saddest Music in the World

Critics Consensus

Guy Maddin perfectly recreates the look and feel of a 1930s in this bizarre picture.



Total Count: 102


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,793
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The Saddest Music in the World Photos

Movie Info

During the Winnipeg depression era, two brothers try to determine the saddest piece of music in the world, as part of an international competition announced by a double-amputee beer baroness Lady Port-Huntly to boost alcohol consumption.

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Critic Reviews for The Saddest Music in the World

All Critics (102) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (81) | Rotten (21)

  • Hilariously odd and prodigiously inventive, it springs from the eccentric mind of Guy Maddin, whose delirious visions have earned this singular Canadian filmmaker an international cult following.

    Mar 13, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • Watch this movie for its imagination, not its logic.

    Jun 18, 2004 | Rating: 3/4
  • Silly, sick and surreal, it's a triumph of style over message or entertainment value.

    Jun 18, 2004 | Rating: 3/5
  • The weirdest movie of the summer. OK, the year.

    Jun 18, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • From time to time during the 99-minute running time, I kept thinking of those old Off Off Broadway impositions on wriggly audiences -- or was it just me who was the transplanted Village square trapped among all the hipsters?

    Jun 6, 2004

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic
  • Provocative title, provocative premise, provocative direction, routine movie.

    Jun 3, 2004 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Saddest Music in the World

  • Sep 19, 2012
    The best Guy Maddin film..which isn't saying much given how much Guy Maddin films give me a headache. This one at least has a unique plot and interesting concepts. If only someone else had directed it.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 19, 2012
    It has a sad, surreal atmosphere that suggests a type of fantasy nostalgia, as if Maddin is lamenting a false version of the past that he desperately wishes was real. The result is a film that's intoxicating to watch. Its also a pretty spot on and rather hilarious satire of perceived cultural identity and America's invasive notion of superiority.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2011
    A legless Canadian beer magnate (Isabella Rosselini) holds a contest during the Great Depression to discover the titular music; the bout attracts a musical family with a very odd and twisted history. Very funny if you can get past the need for everything to make absolute sense; Guy Maddin continues his visual experiments in recreating the look and feel of movies from the 20s and early 30s, yet this may be his most accessible and mainstream story.
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 15, 2011
    A Damn fine slice of Canadiana, centering around a competition in the height of the great depression to determine which nation produces the saddest music in the world. Oddball humour, surrealism and drama ensue. Guy Maddin is a director I've been meaning to check out for awhile now, and I'm glad I've finally made the plunge. I plan on watching the 'auto-biographical' trilogy within the next couple days after really enjoying this. The old tyme style of the film is incredibly genuine and I often had to remind myself that this was filmed in 2003. The humour was really bizarre but really good and I found myself laughing more than I have at a movie in a really long time. Isabella Rossellini was terrific as I had expected. Mark McKinney and Maria de Medeiros were no slouches either. The performances were over the top and kind of cheesy but it fit the overall tone of the movie well in my opinion. Strongly recommended.
    Ed Fucking H Super Reviewer

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