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critics consensus

Sexy, smart, and darkly humorous, Stranger by the Lake offers rewarding viewing for adult filmgoers in search of thought-provoking drama. Read critic reviews

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Stranger by the Lake Photos

Movie Info

Franck falls in love with Michel, an attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man.

Cast & Crew

Patrick D'Assumçao
Henri
Jérôme Chappatte
Inspecteur Damroder
Gilbert Traina
L'homme du mardi soir
Alain Guiraudie
Screenwriter
Benoît Quainon
Executive Producer
Claire Mathon
Cinematographer
Jean-Christophe Hym
Film Editor
Roy Genty
Art Director
Laurent Lunetta
Art Director
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News & Interviews for Stranger by the Lake

Critic Reviews for Stranger by the Lake

All Critics (97) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (91) | Rotten (6)

  • A stunning minimalist erotic thriller that explores with arresting photography and economical use of dialogue how human identity is defined, and sometimes imprisoned, by our desires, drives, and passions.

    March 14, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Carefully and often brilliantly creates its own Eden-like universe.

    March 6, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • What sets the engrossing "Stranger by the Lake" apart is that its excesses seem to point to a moral purpose beyond shock or entertainment value.

    March 6, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Claire Mathon's brilliant cinematography finds an appositely sinister glare in the shimmering water and sunny skies.

    February 28, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • However you read it, the film is compelling and audaciously candid in its erotic charge, while an ending that literally leaves us in the dark is one of the most haunting sign-offs in recent cinema.

    February 23, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It shimmers with that intoxicating sun-on-the-water allure that might make someone not quite themselves.

    February 21, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Stranger by the Lake

  • Aug 19, 2015
    In this age of instant self-service porn, it is weirdly refreshing to encounter a film that manages to shock you slightly with its direct, clean, erotic charge. This beautifully performed and very intimate thriller makes many mainstream films about sex and violence look very coarse by comparison. The superb sound design emphasizes the setting, a gay cruising beach that acts as a remote and enclosed world where circling loneliness is interrupted by sudden episodes of intense intimacy. A wonderful tale about the dangers of animal attraction and the Faustian pact of love.
    Charles B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 06, 2015
    Going into it I assumed that the homosexuality would be incidental (meaning that it was a erotic thriller that happened to have gay characters), but it's an integral part of the story and the film is all the better for it. Guiraudie moves between scenes of beauty, menace, and passion so slowly that you're never sure what's around the corner. A haunting thriller.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 24, 2014
    Excellent direction by Guiraudie outshines even the spot-on performances by Padu and Deladonchamps. An eerie masterpiece of isolation, loneliness and suspense. Undoubtedly one of the best films of 2013-2014. However, be forewarned that the film is extremely sexually graphic (on the level of "Shortbus"), but not gratuitously so. This would be quite an awkward film to watch with children in the room. But for adults, it's exceptional.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 18, 2014
    Be forewarned, there is an overabundance of peen in this film -- but there is also some tremendous acting and plotting in this slow burning thriller.
    Hayden B Super Reviewer

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