Critics Consensus

This compassionate work of social criticism is also luminous, due to both its lyrical imagery and cast.



Reviews Counted: 92

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User Ratings: 44,546


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Reviews Count: 0
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Average Rating: 3.9/5

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Movie Info

The film examines the plight of a group of widows forced into poverty at a temple in the holy city of Varanasi. It focuses on a relationship between one of the widows, who wants to escape the social restrictions imposed on widows, and a man who is from the highest caste and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi.

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Critic Reviews for Water

All Critics (92) | Top Critics (34)

Quite possibly the best picture of the year thus far, with no fewer than three of the most luminous female performances I have ever seen onscreen.

Jul 19, 2006
Top Critic

Mehta prevailed, and this scandalous, beautiful and very moving tale of repression, hope and a tragedy is her triumph, and Hindu India's shame.

Jul 7, 2006 | Rating: 5/5

Unfolds with the clean, simple lines of a fairy tale, and if the characters initially seem to be too black-or-white to be believable, the moral complexity of the story reveals itself in a gradual, subtle manner.

May 19, 2006 | Rating: 3/4

Ebbs and flows with devastating truths and profound insights into the hypocrisy of extremism in any religion.

May 18, 2006 | Rating: B

Mehta's film is courageous and reticent, a shout masquerading as a whisper.

May 12, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Reminds us that Mehta is a filmmaker of courage -- she refused to abandon this film even after fundamentalist protestors shut down the production in India -- and singular style, telling stories that have never been told on screen.

May 12, 2006 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Water


There's few movies that can ride on purely beautiful cinematography in order to tell a story, but this certainly does. The message of this movie is so well told through its images that it quite possibly could have been utterly silent and still effective. Now the basic story and characters are okay, but they wouldn't be half as effective if they weren't given such a great backdrop. The issue is important, but not something an American audience would necessarily need a feature length to understand. For a two hour movie that essentially deals with one sole issue, it can be a bit lengthy and unevenly paced, but I would never go as far as to say that it was bad or boring. It also has quite possibly one of the most oddly humorous moments ever brought onscreen concerning a fart joke and a child stomping on a fat woman's back.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

Ooooooooh. This is a most WONDERFUL movie! The setting is beautiful. The story is amazing and very moving. The acting superb. This is my idea of a PERFECT film. This movie was nominated for a 2007 Academy Award. I dont understand why this movie wouldnt have won hands down. Truly, truly wonderful.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


Heart braking and fascinating look at the terrible life of widows in India.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith

Super Reviewer

An important film to see if not all that good, just barely socially conscious and iconoclastic enough to overcome its lack of a coherent story. This is very sensitive filmmaking and the acting (particularly the child actor Sarala) is quite good, but the film is hard to watch due to its incredibly slow pacing. Stick with it, the second half is good (until the cop-out ending which I won't spoil), but there's just not enough there to overcome the excessive "build-up" of the first half. A letdown, overall.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

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