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Viceroy's House brings a balanced perspective to its worthy, historically grounded story while taking care to enliven the details with absorbing drama.
All Critics (76)
| Top Critics (17)
| Fresh (55)
| Rotten (21)
It's handsome, important, and moving in places, but it just isn't enough movie for the subject matter.
There's something pleasantly old-fashioned about "Viceroy's House." It feels like a Merchant Ivory period piece posing cultural questions within a safely cushioned environment. There are no guessing games, but also very little subtext.
"Viceroy's House" works, but mainly as a historical refresher on the 70th anniversary of Indian independence. As drama, it's a reminder that truth is sometimes more affecting than fiction.
Ultimately, Viceroy's House might be worth a visit just for certain tasty details.
And so we're offered, on the 70th anniversary of the Partition (give or take a couple of weeks), another film about how brown suffering makes nice white people sad. The cynicism is well-earned.
The formula is a bit too neat and the dialogue is often painfully expository, but there are some fine performances ...
There are definitely sentimental and predictable moments but it is enjoyable.
Despite some significantly weird moments, Viceroy's House delivers a powerful, political and deeply personal story of a country being slowly split in two.
Still, Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham) deftly manages to capture the frantic mood of the times and the politicking that went on, not least by the British, and the settings are magnificent.
"Viceroy's House" is appropriately somber. It feels like the wheels of history had been put in motion long ago, and a few well-meaning people on all sides aren't enough to stop them.
Those of us who had the good fortune to watch the TV series The Jewel in the Crown or Ivory's Indian films will learn to miss them with this film: something is something. [Full review in Spanish]
Richard Attenborough's multiple Oscar-winning masterpiece comes repeatedly to mind, and while Viceroy's House doesn't have the epic sweep of Gandhi, it's shorter, less demanding and more entertaining.
Viceroy's House is a fine history lesson mashed in with a so-so romantic drama. Gambon is the actor's gold standard and Anderson really outshines a lackluster turn by Bonneville. The transition to a free India from the Brits reflected that religion seems to be the fly in the ointment for a peaceful transfer. (9-8-17)
This exceptionally fine docudrama explains the partition along religious lines of colonial India in 1947, into the modern states of India and Pakistan. The producer/director is the granddaughter of one of the 14 million refugees who were displaced. She is also a master of cinematic art. The intense series of events takes place over a period of weeks, during which the British colonial powers negotiated with the religious leaders, and Gandhi, and the British parliament ruled for partition. To say the least, the process was highly complex politically, tactically and emotionally. The film is a keen and astute observer. It enables you to follow logically what happened, without apparently losing key points or sophistication. These scenes are performed by a cast of British and Asian actors sans pareil, with consummate ease and precision. The other side of the story is the heart rending tale of two lovers, who fall on opposite sides of the new divide. These roles are played exquisitely, with a depth of sensual warmth and sincerity that we rarely see, and the scenes are like classics: watch for the woman's blind father, when he realises her situation - no words are necessary, yet the acting is full of meaning. The film is unstinting when it shows the suffering of the refugees, without descending into sensationalism. This is the kind of film that provides a lot of learning along with first rate cinema. You can recommend it to your high school board or college professor, for the curriculum. Maybe if your kids are heading to Asia for a holiday, they would be interested in more than a couple of web pages or Insta shots. In that case, you have this excellent piece. Not to be missed.
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