The Tenant

1976

The Tenant

Critics Consensus

A rough-edged thriller that lacks the precision of Polanski's best work, but makes up for it with its skillful mounting of paranoia, dread, and dark themes.

88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 32

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,268
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Movie Info

Director Roman Polanski casts himself in the lead of the psychological thriller The Tenant. Trelkovsky (Polanski) rents an apartment in a spooky old residential building, where his neighbors -- mostly old recluses -- eye him with suspicious contempt. Upon discovering that the apartment's previous tenant, a beautiful young woman, jumped from the window in a suicide attempt, Trelkovsky begins obsessing over the dead woman. Growing increasingly paranoid, Trelkovsky convinces himself that his neighbors plan to kill him. He even comes to the conclusion that Stella (Isabel Adjani), the woman he has fallen in love with, is in on the "plot." Ultimately, Polanski assumes the identity of the suicide victim -- and inherits her self-destructive urges. Some critics found the movie tedious and overdone; others compared it to Polanski's early breakthrough, Repulsion. The film was based on Le Locataire Chimerique, a novel by Roland Topor. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast

Roman Polanski
as Trelkovsky
Melvyn Douglas
as Monsieur Zy
Lila Kedrova
as Mme. Gaderian
Shelley Winters
as Madame Dioz
Rufus
as Badar
Jacques Monod
as Cafe Proprietor
Michel Blanc
as Scope's Neighbor
Jacky Cohen
as Stella's Friend
Gérard Jugnot
as Office Clerk
Héléna Manson
as Head Nurse
Eva Ionesco
as Mme. Gaderian's Daughter
Andre Penvern
as Cafe Waiter
Dominique Poulange
as Simone Choule
Serge Spira
as Philippe
Jacques Rosny
as JeanClaude
Francois Viaur
as Police Sergeant
Jo Van Fleet
as Madame Dioz
View All

News & Interviews for The Tenant

Critic Reviews for The Tenant

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (4)

Audience Reviews for The Tenant

  • Mar 25, 2014
    Polanski's The Tenant is his final film in the Apartment Trilogy, I still have to watch Repulsion, but Rosemary's Baby is in my top ten. The Tenantalso covers paranoia, where Polanski himself plays the paranoiac. After he moves into an apartment where the last tenant killed herself, he gets surrounded by bizarre and often evil tenants. The movie effectively covers how perception changes reality for the paranoid mind, and how the unconscious blames the outside world for the actions of the own man. The ending is predictable, in fact I didn't even have to watch more than ten minutes to understand what will come. Before so there are a few tense instances, and the film can be slightly disturbing. Polanski is no Mia Farrow, and The Tenant is no Rosemary's Baby, but it remains a decent psychological thriller. 
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Jul 12, 2013
    Though it's slow--and doesn't come near the brilliance of the classic Rosemary's Baby or the cinematic masterpiece that was Polanski's Macbeth--it is a successfully spooky mystery/thriller with a solid performance from Polanski and a well-filmed, hair-raising climax.
    Matthew Samuel M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2013
    The last of Roman Polanski's apartment trilogy offered more surprises than you would have expected. A psychological/supernatural thriller that explored the themes of cycle, paranoia, hostility and mental illness. It's a bit long in terms of running time but the tension was able to build up gradually. Definitely not Polanski's finest work but it's quite interesting to watch.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • May 12, 2011
    Let's just say that the rating is somewhere between 3.5-4, and that the grade is around a strong B to a B+. Part of Polanski's "Apartment Trilogy", this is a surreal psychological horror/suspense thriller about a timid and quiet file clerk named Trelkovsky whose life starts to go downhill after moving into a new apartment. He is told that the previous tenant went mad and took a swan dive out a window. Trelkovsky himself starts to feel that his neighbors all have something against him and are trying to get him to follow the same path taken by the previous tenant. Is this really the truth though, or is it all just in his head? The set up is great, and I love how Polanski plays with ambiguity here, all the way through. It's also funny how he plays the lead role, but isn't even listed in the credits, something that is both odd and cool. This is a psychological horror/suspense thriller, but it is also rather funny at times, albeit the comedy is of the really dark variety. Like I said, I love the set up, but the film isn't perfect. The biggest issue is that it is just way too drawn out. I really don't think it needed to be 125 minutes long. It could have been way condensed. However, haviing a long running time does allow for a tremendous amount of mood, tone, and atmosphere to be really expanded upon, even if it does start to become a tad much. The cast is international, and they are all great. Polanski does a great job in the lead, and it is a shame he really doesn't act too much. He's pretty talented in this department. Isabelle Adjani is great with her frilly hair and oh so 70s glasses, but probably my favorite is Shelley Winters as the concierge. She's a hoot. All in all, a mostly pretty satisfying film. The soundtrack is nice, the cinematography top notch, and the storyline wonderfully Kafkaesque. Give this one a shot.
    Chris W Super Reviewer

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