Sea of Love - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sea of Love Reviews

Page 1 of 21
½ May 1, 2016
Pretty rad cop noir. There's some great acting in this movie. Pacino and Barkins chemistry is strong, and Pacino and Goodman are a great duo.
February 21, 2016
Pacino and John Goodman plus Ellen Barkin in her prime. A little too much of the titular song but definitely a solid movie.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2015
Harold Becker's gritty sexy urban thriller in which Al Pacino made a stellar career comeback brilliantly playing a weary 20 year veteran New York City police detective named Frank Keller, who going through a mid-life crisis. He is investigating several bizarre murders committed by a serial killer who may be a woman, and as fate will have it he gets involved with and falls in love with a woman named Helen Cruger, played terrificly by Ellen Barkin, who has become the prime suspect in the murder case. Superbly directed by Harold Becker, and expertly written by Richard Price, the story is designed to keep its central characters and the viewer in a state of constant suspicion. Sexually charged, where sparks fly between Pacino and Barkin, their chemistry is intense and their love scenes are some of the hottest of any movie of its decade. It's a riveting whodunit with nail-biting suspense and memorable dialogue. Exceptional supporting performances by John Goodman, Michael Rooker, William Hickley, Richard Jenkins, Paul Calderon, and John Spencer. But this film is a real showcase for the great Al Pacino who delivers a truly superlative turn, and Ellen Barkin who gives one of the best performances of her underrated career, matching Pacino's excellence scene for scene. An engrossing thriller. Highly Recommended.
August 9, 2015
New York City homicide detective Frank Keller (Al Pacino) is a burnt-out alcoholic. His wife left him and remarried one of his colleagues. He is depressed about reaching middle age and his 20th year on the police force. Frank is assigned to investigate the murder of a man in Manhattan, shot dead while face down in his bed, naked, listening to an old 45rpm recording of "Sea of Love". Keller has three clues -- a lipstick-smeared cigarette, a want-ad that the dead man placed in a newspaper, and fingerprints of the perpetrator. A second man dies in the same manner in Queens. Detective Sherman Touhey (John Goodman) from the local precinct suggests that he and Frank collaborate. Both victims had placed rhyming ads in the lonely hearts column of the newspaper, seeking dates. The detectives track down Raymond Brown, the only other man with a rhyming ad. He's a married man and admits placing the ad, but swears on his children's eyes that he threw away all the letters and never saw anyone. Frank gets an idea to place their own rhyming ad in the paper, meet women who respond in a restaurant and take the prints from their drinking glasses. A superior officer thinks Frank is looking for an excuse to go on dates at the department's expense, and does not approve the idea. He changes his mind when Brown also turns up dead in the same manner as the other two murder victims. Frank has dinner with several women, while Sherman - posing as a waiter - puts their glasses into evidence bags. One woman, divorcee Helen Cruger (Ellen Barkin), shows no interest in Frank and leaves before she takes a drink. Frank bumps into her again at a market, but this time she is more friendly. Since they didnīt get her fingerprints Helen becomes the main suspect in the case, but Keller falls in love with her and convinces himself that she isnīt the killer...

This was Al Pacinoīs comeback after a 4 year hiatus and it rendered him so really good reviews while "Sea Of Love" is a suspense cop thriller that we've seen countless times before and I would say after "Sea Of Love". The Washington Post stated that if the film "were able to get it all, it would be a great movie. As it is, it's stirring and messy and hints at more than it is capable of delivering." Roger Ebert thought "the ending of "Sea of Love" cheats by bringing in a character from left field at the last moment. Part of the fun in a movie like this is guessing the identity of the killer, and part of the problem with "Sea of Love" is that the audience is not fairly treated. Technically, I suppose, the plot can be justified. But I felt cheated. I had good feelings for the characters and their relationships, but I walked out feeling the plot played fast and loose with the rules of whodunits." When seeing it today I personally donīt think thereīs major sparks between Pacino and Barkin. Thereīs chemistry and you believe their somewhat unbalanced relation, but I wouldnīt say thereīs sparks and the sex scenes arenīt that sexy. For being 1989 maybe, but not in 2015. I have never really liked Ellen Barkin that much, and despite her being praised for her performance in this movie, I think she did a better job in Walter Hillīs classic "Johnny Handsome". The plotline is quite standard and thereīs only suspense in certain scenes not throughout the whole movie which would be of course the ideal situation. And the plot holes are all over the place creating a less dynamic film. John Goodman is a good support and he creates a balance with Pacinoīs down and out alcoholic cop. The funny thing is that when you see it today, the minute Michael Rooker appears you know that he is involved in the killings. He is such a typecast bad guy it goes through the screen and I reckon we knew that already in 1989. Hence the revealing of the killer in the end is hardly a surprise. "Sea Of Love" is a said quite standard in my eyes and if it wouldnīt be for Pacinoīs participation it would drown amongst other films in the genre from that time period.
July 25, 2015
theres not really a whole lot of thrills going on but Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin are great together
plus the case solving does pay off in the long run along with a killer of a finale
keep in mind that the content here is very adult for its caliber
June 28, 2015
Average movie when you watch it now. But for those times it may have been very good. The movie keeps the interest till the end and provides a surprise factor at the end. Rating - 3/5
½ June 13, 2015
I didn't know Ellen Barkin can be as hot as that.
½ June 5, 2015
Any movie that opens with a murder ensnared in the throes of sexual passion is immediately intriguing. Not intriguing in a wet dream kind of way; intriguing like what kind of monster could commit such a crime? "Basic Instinct", an underrated neo-noir, contrasted the silkiness of a Hermes scarf and a femme fatale's voluptuous body with the sudden stab of an ice pick. "Sea of Love", on the other hand, doesn't distract with full-on sexuality; it instead chooses to obscure the body of the supposed woman committing the dirty work. When the quick gunshot to the head of her partner arrives, we find ourselves so shocked that we figure we may as well keep watching the movie to figure out who did it.
Things get even saucier when murders continue in the exact same fashion. The killer, thought to be a woman, answers Lonely Heart ads and shoots her dates during intercourse. Assigned to the case is Detective Frank Keller (Al Pacino), suffering from a recent divorce and sometimes crippling alcoholism. The police department is dumbfounded. Eventually, and desperately, they decide the best way to nab the culprit is by placing Frank himself in an ad. After dinner, they swipe the fingerprints of the women. Most don't make an impression. But when Helen Cruger (Ellen Barkin), a sexy single mother, shows up, complications arise. There is much evidence to suggest that she is, in fact, responsible for the crimes, and Frank, against all odds, finds himself seriously attracted to her. So the two embark on a twisted, dangerous affair, with Frank never completely sure if this woman will be the one who kills him.
"Sea of Love" is a convincing thriller, making use of its naturalistic dialogue instead of only focusing on its more erotic moments. And the film is superiorly erotic; it just doesn't dwell on it so much that it obscures the material. Pacino is effective as a man so much a hazard to himself that partaking in a possibly lethal affair doesn't seem all too surprising; Barkin is tough and likable as a woman who very well could be in possession of secrets that could spell death to her male counterparts.
"Sea of Love"'s issues don't arrive with Pacino and Barkin; they come with doubt, doubt so strong that the entire premise slowly but surely caves in on itself. Only for a little while does it seem possible that Helen is the killer. As it becomes clear that she isn't quite Catherine Tramell, that the film is too smart to announce her as the bad guy, the relentless menace dwindles until everything crashes into a highly unsatisfying ending. "Sea of Love" was most likely doomed from the start; of course Helen isn't the murderer, but the film spends so much time trying to trick us into thinking that she is that any conclusion that doesn't find her guilty won't be rewarding. But "Sea of Love", for the most part, is smart entertainment with a shaky basis. It's entertaining, all right, but it doesn't offer much that we haven't already seen.
½ May 1, 2015
Haunting part thriller mainly drama with jazzy soundtrack and outstanding performance by Pacino.
½ January 25, 2015
Welcomed return of Pacino with of in itself is worth the watch but little else.
Robbanflix
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2015
Great performance by Al Pacino once again in this thriller about a killer on the loose. John Goodman had a decent role altho im more use to see him in comedies. There is not much to say more then if u like Al Pacino and thrillers this one wont fail u. Enjoy
½ November 20, 2014
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
November 16, 2014
Sea of love is one of the best thrillers of my pick. I could watch this movie a million time and never get tired of it.
June 21, 2014
Nice atmosphere for a thriller. Ellen Barkin really is something..
April 2, 2014
Al Pacino is a cop, and with partner John Goodman, are investigating a serial
killer whose victims answer dating ads in the newspaper. They go undercover, and Al meets the beautiful, very sexy Ellen Barkin. This movie is very touching in its perspective about the many lonely hearts in the world. It is also a suspenseful mystery with a plot twist, and much more than the dangerous love story movie of that era.
½ February 25, 2014
As always a powerful performance by Pacino made this film a tense and thrilling ride.
½ February 16, 2014
hate that i just now am seeing this film..very underrated Pacino flick..has a Hitchcock/noirish feel to it...very suspenseful..great performance from Pacino as well as John Goodman
February 9, 2014
Sea of Love was a fun film to watch. Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin are fantastically paired.
January 15, 2014
Sometimes, good writing, strong performances and capable directing can be enough to lift a standard plot and make it something special. The story behind "Sea of Love" is your basic serial killer potboiler, but it is elevated and greatly enhanced by a trio of strong lead performances, a smart script and Harold Becker's masterful work behind the camera.

Al Pacino rebounds nicely after a string of flops in the mid 80's, going back to the gritty work that made him such a star in the previous decade. He's terrific, with only a few of his trademark oddball moments, and John Goodman provides just the right amount of comic relief as his partner. In reality, though, Ellen Barkin is the real star here, building on the attention she garnered with "The Big Easy" a few years earlier. It's a sultry, delightfully playful performance, and the fact that her star never rose any higher than it did at this point in her career is an absolute shame.

Becker is a talented director, creating a lot of genuine suspense utilizing the "is she or isn't she" technique that was also used a few years back in "Jagged Edge". The resolution comes out of left field but seems plausible enough given the few details about it that we're given to work with. Maybe the less we know the better off we are.

As an entertainment pure and simple, "Sea of Love" is quite successful. It's great fun watching these terrific actors work this script, so much so that the vaguely familiar story seems fresh and invigorating all over again. It's a true testament to what talent and experience can make up for.
½ January 7, 2014
Neither the beautiful and hot presence of Ellen Barkin or the good performance of Al Pacino cant save this bad and predictable movie.
Page 1 of 21