Tabu (2012)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Acclaimed director Miguel Gomes returns with a sumptuous, eccentric two-part tale centered on Aurora, shown first as an impulsive, cantankerous elderly woman in present-day Lisbon. When Aurora is hospitalized, she sends her neighbor, Pilar, to pass word of her grave condition to Gian Luca, a man of which no one has ever heard her speak. Pilar's quest to fulfill her friend's wish transports us to Africa fifty years earlier, before the start of the Portuguese Colonial War. We see Aurora again, this time as the gorgeous, smoldering wife of a wealthy young farmer, involved in a forbidden love affair with Gian Luca, her husband's best friend. Their moving, poetic tale is conveyed through the older Gian Luca's suave voiceover, combined with the lush, melodious sounds of its heady, tropical setting, peppered with a soundtrack of Phil Spector songs. -- (C) Official Site
Drama , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for Tabu

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (15)

It takes a while to get to the meat of the movie, but it's well worth the wait.

Full Review… | April 5, 2013
Washington Post
Top Critic

It almost seems a parody of willfully obscure art-house fare. Yet it has an undertow that sucks you in as often as it strands you back on shore.

Full Review… | February 14, 2013
Boston Globe
Top Critic

A kind of jigsaw puzzle, spiced up with references to "White Mischief," "Out of Africa" and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," that will frustrate some audiences and fascinate others.

February 7, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The audience is left to imagine much of the story, though it is clear it involves love, betrayal, guilt, regret and a recurring crocodile.

Full Review… | January 24, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Portuguese director Miguel Gomes' latest film moves through different styles and eras, and proves that shooting in black and white is as versatile as it ever was.

Full Review… | December 27, 2012
New York Post
Top Critic

Few films are this smart about subtly couching their allegorical aspirations within more straightforward narratives; fewer still are able to do so with such energetically inventive virtuoso style.

Full Review… | December 27, 2012
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Tabu


Tabu succeeds as a documentary, but not so much as a drama because its visuals are fantastic with a mesmerizing scenery and gorgeous black-and-white photography and it has its heart and charm, but it is unfortunately too slow and at times boring and its first part is so unnecessary and so inferior to the second one. All of those reasons led to this Portuguese film being a slow, but still an original and unique experience.

David Lazovic
David Lazovic

With a gorgeous black-and-white cinematography and an impressive thematic rigor, this is a welcome surprise of tremendous poetry, a film that confronts frustration and memory in a lyrical homage to silent movies accompanied by an extremely haunting narration.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

After a lonely old woman dies in Lisbon, her ex-lover tells of their tempestuous affair in colonial Africa in a dialogue-free flashback. The second half of the film is a stylistically appealing melodrama, but the first hour is slow, emotionally flat, and basically unnecessary.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

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