Critics Consensus

Audiences may attend to witness Peter O'Toole's Oscar-worthy performance, but they'll also be treated to a humane, tender exploration of maturing with both dignity and irreverence.



Reviews Counted: 151

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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.6/5

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Movie Info

An aging pair of veteran English actors whose success never quite took hold finds their quiet existence suddenly interrupted by the arrival of one of the men's precocious grandnieces in director Roger Michell's affectionate comedy drama. Maurice (Peter O'Toole) and Ian (Leslie Phillips) may still land the occasional paying gig -- Maurice has recently been cast as a corpse in a popular television drama -- but for the most part, their days are spent cataloging their ailments over meals at their favorite café. Though the arrival of Ian's grandniece Jessie doesn't immediately set so well with her curmudgeonly great uncle, Maurice takes an immediate liking to the girl, and makes it a mission to expose the youngster to some of the bustling capitol's best-known sights. As the newly invigorated septuagenarian does his best to teach the wide-eyed youngster a thing or two about life, he soon comes to realize just how little he truly knows about the subject at such a late point in life.

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News & Interviews for Venus

Critic Reviews for Venus

All Critics (151) | Top Critics (41)

  • O'Toole spent so many years being better than the little material that he was offered that it's heartening to see him sprint toward the finish of his career with such a flourish. If this is his curtain call, it's a glorious one.

    Feb 9, 2007 | Rating: 5/5
  • If only [director] Michell's film actually said something about aging, and didn't feel the need to include Grumpy Old Men shtick and bland bossa nova-inflected pop.

    Feb 3, 2007 | Rating: 2/6 | Full Review…
  • Venus belongs to O'Toole. This is, hands down, my favorite performance of the year, largely because I love the way O'Toole (and the filmmakers) refuse to yield to the all-too-pervasive idea that it's 'icky' for old people to even think about sex.

    Feb 3, 2007
  • Venus is a fine reminder of the wonders we're presented with every day.

    Jan 26, 2007 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • Venus is emotionally affecting, not because O'Toole's Maurice is coping with mortality, but because of the honest way he confronts it.

    Jan 26, 2007 | Rating: 3/4
  • Because it's built around theater people, Kureishi's script offers ample opportunities for amusing repartee, and the performances are strong ...

    Jan 26, 2007 | Rating: B

Audience Reviews for Venus

A beautiful and striking meditation on aging, living and facing mortality with a superb performance by the incomparable Peter O'Toole. Exceptional performances by veteran Phillips and newcomer Whittaker. Excellent performances all around with a uniquely inspiring script. An excellent movie in every way. A film that should not be missed.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

A touching, heartfelt drama as two old semi retired actors lives are turned upside down upon the arrival of the niece of one of them. Peter O'Toole becomes infatuated with her and has a strange friendship with her. A film with a certain charm, if a bit odd at times, but the acting talent on show steals the day.

Dean King
Dean King

Super Reviewer


Not at all what I expected, but that's a good thing since this movie had me laughing almost nonstop. Peter O'Toole had his heart broken again by just missing out on finally winning Best Actor for his role as a dirty old man who falls in love with his best friend's daughter's niece, whom he affectionately calls Venus. Maurice is a veteran actor who is somewhat rapidly dying, though you wouldn't know it from how young Jessie makes his feel. A very good movie with a lot of funny, albeit dirty dialogue.

Derek Daniels
Derek Daniels

Super Reviewer

Venus is the story of how two aging actors (Peter O'Toole and Leslie Philips) lives are turned upside down by a teenager relative of Philip's character Ian. O'Toole plays Maurice, a seventy-something how becomes infatuated with her, but not really to the point of lust. Maurice sees her as a work of art, in some cases perfection and in others a piece that needs to be molded some more. O'Toole's performance is fantastic and dare I say he should have gotten the Oscar for this one. The film isn't on par of Lawrence of Arabia, but his performance certainly is- a haunting look at an actor that's become a legend on stage but has failed in the other aspects of his life. He is a stranger to himself and "Venus" is a means to introduction. In the middle of this veteran cast you have Jodie Whittaker playing Jessie a.k.a. Venus. Whittaker takes the role and runs with it (she was 25 at the time of the film) and her past career has her following in the shadowy footsteps of O'Toole and the other veteran cast members. Even though the script for Venus can be a little ho-hum at times, the acting is what really makes this into a superior film that I would recommend seeing. Is it Peter O'Toole's swan song? I certainly hope not.

Chris Garman
Chris Garman

Super Reviewer

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