Cotton Mary
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Ismail Merchant, best known as a producer for his work with director James Ivory (including Howards End and A Room With a View), takes possession of the director's chair in this drama. In 1954, seven years after India has gained independence from Great Britain, many Indians still feel like second-class citizens in their own country, as the nation's sovereignty has not immediately erased the perception that the British are superior to the Indian-born natives. Such a woman is Cotton Mary (Madhur Jaffrey), who works as a nurse for Lily Macintosh (Greta Scacchi), the wife of a BBC… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 36%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Cotton Mary, Ismail Merchant's second film as a director, puts some interestingly layered material into play, but he can't quite bring it together."
‑ Jay Carr, Boston Globe
"Nothing is expressed directly; only the curtains move, blowing in the subcontinent wind."
‑ Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"Shows that Merchant couldn't direct."
‑ Boo Allen, Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
"Cotton Mary suffers from its lack of sympathetic characters, but it is still far from a disaster."
‑ Brian Webster, Apollo Guide
"As fascinating as the central character is, the film has all the excitement of watching the glaze harden on a scone."
‑ Jonathan Lewis, Gay Chicago Magazine
"Engrossing from the first frame and written with admirable skill and insight by Alexandra Viets, Cotton Mary is a milestone for Merchant Ivory and a pleasure for the company's admirers."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Cotton Mary is uncommonly well-acted and beautifully shot on location in southern India, but it's not exactly riveting."
‑ Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"An Indian drama about the de-humanizing effects of class-warfare."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"As a serious reflection on the impact of colonial exploitation on both its perpetrators and its victims, it pretty much misses the boat."
‑ Frank Swietek, One Guy's Opinion
"The entire film lacks the subtlety which is the hallmark of good writing."
‑ Maria Garcia, Film Journal International
"The film wants to make larger points, but succeeds only in being a story of derangement."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A heavy-handed melodrama whose title character is a symbol with a capital S."
‑ Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"There's a definite thrill to be gained from watching elements of genre trash invade such a film."
‑ Chuck Rudolph, Matinee Magazine
"Not a fully realized film."
‑ Bruce Kirkland, Jam! Movies
"It's as though, in documenting cultural queerness afoot, [Merchant] skipped the institution and went straight for the loony bin."
‑ Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner
More reviews for Cotton Mary on Rotten Tomatoes