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Want to think really, REALLY deeply about A Month in the Country? Read this 34-page analysis of the novel and film by Rosemarie McGerr, a medieval scholar and professor of literature, in Criticism. Click here...

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A Month in the Country has one of those stories where the action above is the tip of an iceberg. FULL REVIEW
— Michael Wilmington
LOS ANGELES TIMES (U.S.)

Before long, a mood of subtle eroticism has begun to develop among the members of this strange romantic triangle.   FULL REVIEW
— Doug Brode
SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD (U.S.)

There is a great deal of emotion just beneath the surface of A Month in the Country... That definitely includes the constantly frustrated sexual triangle that is one of the two driving forces for the plot. FULL REVIEW
— Harper Barnes
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH (U.S.)

Firth and Branagh are able to suggest the nervous intimacy, the homoerotic shadows that hover over the two. FULL REVIEW
— Michael Wilmington
LOS ANGELES TIMES (U.S.)

Birkin falls for the beautiful wife of the uncharitable vicar, and Moon falls for Birkin. Neither gets what he wants... FULL REVIEW
TIME OUT (U.K.)

The movie is partly about the power of religion to alter lives. FULL REVIEW
—John Hartl
SEATTLE TIMES (U.S.)

A Month in the Country questions the role of religion in a world in which war and disease cruelly snuff out lives... The view in A Month in the Country is that art — not religion, and certainly not war — is at the base of civilization.  FULL REVIEW
— Rob Edelman
NEW HAVEN REGISTER (U.S.)

...O’Connor and the excellent cast suggest some of the terror and mystery of art and life, the gods that can lie buried beneath an overcoat of paint. FULL REVIEW
— Michael Wilmington
LOS ANGELES TIMES (U.S.)

Essentially, the movie is the story of recovery; recovery of two war-traumatized veterans, and recovery of art and architect. FULL REVIEW
— Joan Vadeboncoeur
SYRACUSE HERALD-JOURNAL (U.S.)

As the craftsman begins revealing the picture, the meticulous process becomes a metaphor for uncovering the village’s unpleasant past. FULL REVIEW
— Michael Blowen
BOSTON GLOBE (U.S.)

This gentle yet penetrating film is more like a friendly arm around the shoulder than a full-frontal attack on the cruel disorientation of war, and there’s much to be read between the lines and thought about later. FULL REVIEW
— MORNING STAR (U.K.)

 

 

The “Real” Meaning... Critics Vie to Tell Us:

 

ill titleThis is a simple meditation on salvation in the face of the horrors of experience. FULL REVIEW
— Michael Healy
L.A. DAILY NEWS (U.S.)

ill title A Month in the Country is as much about the ravages of war as Platoon, Hamburger Hill, or Full Metal Jacket. FULL REVIEW
— Doug Brode
SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD (U.S.)

ill title… On closer scrutiny, though, [Pat O’Connor’s] theme is there:  the relationship of the past — its artwork and its culture — to our attempts to live a meaningful present and create any kind of a worthwhile future.  FULL REVIEW
— Doug Brode
SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD (U.S.)

ill titleThe theme of Simon Gray’s screenplay is the contrast between the peace and beauty of the countryside, the gentle, civilized nature of the activities of the two young men, and the turmoil within that each is facing. FULL REVIEW
— P. J. Kavanaugh
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT (U.K.)

ill titleThe point? Just as this old portrait of a “wintry” hard-faced Christ has been painted over, so the church has lost sight of its Christ. Weekly services have become exercises in lip service. ...Their work carries the two young men back into another time, a time when the congregation kept God alive through good works and genuine piety. FULL REVIEW
— Mike McGrady
NEWSDAY (U.S.)

ill titlePlaywright Simon Gray, working from J. L. Carr’s novel, has fashioned a script whose delight is in the rounded reality of its characters... FULL REVIEW
— Tom Hutchinson
MAIL ON SUNDAY (U.K.)

ill titleNo characters or actions in the movie have any life independent of their symbolic functions. All too clearly, the two ex-soldiers scraping away at the masonry of the past are emblematically excavating their own — and their country’s — wounds. All too clearly the vicar and his wife symbolize the obverse sides of love, the austerely divine and the tenderly human. And in case we are slow to pick up on the post-WWI “God is dead” hints, we have an agonized Firth screaming at the church in one scene, as Sunday prayers boom mellifluously out from it. “God? What God? There is no God!”   FULL REVIEW
— Nigel Andrews
FINANCIAL TIMES (U.K.)

ill titleA Month in the Country is about the restorative powers that we have on each other, how yearning for someone or anticipating something gets us through life, brings out our true potential, and, in Tom’s case, makes him better. FULL REVIEW
— Joe Batake
SACRAMENTO BEE (U.S.)

ill titleFor O’Connor, the Oxgodby sun that he either invents or captures becomes an emblem for whatever goodness can be wrested from a life in which pleasures are only fleeting bits of grace notes of dappled happiness between the larger expanses of sorrow, regret, and pure pain. FULL REVIEW
— Deborah Jerome
(NEW JERSEY) RECORD (U.S.)

ill title... Here’s a heart-lifting British movie which becomes a holiday for the spirit. Its perception of the world after the First World War is not just luxuriant nostalgia. It is about values as abiding as they are affirming. FULL REVIEW
— Tom Hutchinson
MAIL ON SUNDAY (U.K.)

ill title It’s a story of late-Edwardian rhythms, emotional reticence, and vapors of decayed piety. FULL REVIEW
— David Elliott
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE (U.S.)

ill titleA Month in the Country is perhaps the only film I have ever seen to concentrate almost entirely on the process of healing, and the capacity of one human being to allow the wounds of another to repair themselves over time, in the natural course of events.  In the end, the Firth character has lost his twitch and stammer, and gained an invaluable insight into his own soul.  And some of us in the audience have been instructed in the ultimate niceties of compassion. FULL REVIEW
— Andrew Sarris
VILLAGE VOICE (U.S.)

ill titleThe inexpressible, in a way, is what the film is all about. There are buried meanings everywhere, and, like the mural, they can be uncovered only through painstaking care and sacrifice. Even then, the revelation may be opaque to many. FULL REVIEW
— Michael Wilmington
LOS ANGELES TIMES (U.S.)