A Short Film About Love

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 21

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,843
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Movie Info

In this ironic Polish seriocomedy, Tomek (Olaf Lubaszenko), a young shy postal worker, worships Magda (Grazyna Szapolowska) from afar -- literally, peering at her through spyglasses. She shatters his illusions about pure, ideal love by stating matter-of-factly that she believes only in sex. Despondent, he tries to forget her, and when this fails, he attempts to kill himself. Upon recovering from his botched suicide, Tomek is amazed to learn that Magda has become hopelessly infatuated with him. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for A Short Film About Love

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (6)

  • For most of the movie, you'll think Tomik is a pretty sick puppy. But Kieslowski's skill as a spare, cerebral film maker is to turn your perceptions around.

    Apr 5, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • There is more real feeling in this brief feature than in a hundred full-length Hollywood romantic comedies.

    Jun 10, 2008 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Well aware that Hitchcock and Michael Powell have been down these streets before him, Kieslowski turns in an absolutely masterly movie that yields equal parts of humour and wry emotional truth.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Tony Rayns

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Its picture of a world where people spy on one another reverberates with a post-cold-war paranoia, evoking the chilling notion that privacy, like love, may also be just an illusion.

    Aug 30, 2004 | Full Review…
  • A remarkable 1988 Polish feature expanded by Krzysztof Kieslowski from his film The Decalogue.

    Aug 7, 2004 | Full Review…
  • It's well-crafted and satisfying, even if it lacks the depth of Red.

    Aug 7, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Short Film About Love

  • Aug 12, 2013
    <i>"Thou shalt not commit adultery."</i> There is an impossibility to relate to what doesn't belong to us; everything is an irrational impulse, originated, in this case, by the illusion of having similarities with another lost person, but the impossibility is meant to become evident at some point, and hence Tomek's harmful decision near the conclusion out of shame when his opportunity physically came without being able to handle it. The "opposites attract" law does not exist, but "similar persons attract" is not a law either; the intertwining personality coincidences will sooner or later collide negatively. Here we have two nude souls seeking for something that hasn't been even determined by them, because love is undetermined and therefore nonexistent: she says that love does not exist; he says he loves her when love implies so much more. The ending is once again a proof that Kieslowski's boldness is a constant; he always tackled difficult human issues. The film could have explored its brilliant themes more deeply if a longer running time had been used, and I know Kieslowski would have treated them well: - How obsession can be turned the other way around. - How intelligent the "crying over spilled milk" metaphor came to be... literally. - The reflexive conclusion. Extra points go for the mother though! She handled the situation brilliantly, not allowing herself to be dominated by emotional impulse. Maybe if she had provided a thought-provoking lecture to the woman, points would have gone up! Message? All you need is love. Absolutely, love is a need given the human condition. 82/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2011
    Compelling, beautiful, affecting. Krzysztof Kieslowski's difficult and resonant meditation on all the effects that love has (guilt, manipulation, shame, remorse ect.). The cinematography is typically expressive and the performances are typically gut wrenching. Kieslowski never ceased to move his audiences in the most unique and unexpected ways.
    Steven C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2009
    A well-acted, sensitively directed film, but it's hard to get past the unlikelihood of a woman being actually *touched* by her stalker's obsession. Additional note: I really don't agree with the AllMovie synopsis posted above. Tomek knew Magda "spread it around" from the beginning, so her belief in empty sex wasn't particularly shattering for him. I'd say his suicide attempt was more about shame -- being so unable to connect with others that he couldn't physically couple with the woman when she finally offered herself. Saying he "tries to forget her" doesn't ring true either, nor do the "amazed" or "hopelessly infatuated" descriptions. Did the reviewer even see the film?
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 18, 2009
    Kieslowski crafts voyeuristic obsession into a visceral odyssey, illustrating that a flame can indeed be drawn to a moth.
    Randy T Super Reviewer

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