The French Lieutenant's Woman
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

In this filmization of John Fowles' original novel, we watch as Sara, a 19th-century Englishwoman ruined by an affair with a French lieutenant, enters into another disastrous relationship. Viewers are made aware that what they're… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: August 1, 1981
DVD Release Date: September 4, 2001
Add Your Rating
Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
User Score

Critic Score: 76% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
James Kendrick
Q Network Film Desk

It is ironic that the framing device, which is meant to draw our attention to the constructed nature of it all, doesn't work nearly as well and ultimately fails to derail our enjoyment of that which we're supposed to be questioning.

Full review…
Emanuel Levy

Playing a dual (Oscar-nominated) role, Meryl Streep is much more convincing in the contemporay tale.

Full review…
Scott Weinberg
Apollo Guide

It may be a true "chick flick," but as far as those movies go, you could do a hell of a lot worse.

Matt Brunson
Creative Loafing

A lush period drama that also manages to criticize outmoded patriarchal standards.

Full review…
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice

A gripping psychological study of the war between the sexes that asks the question: Are we happier, wiser, more liberated, than the Victorian characters in the story?

Full review…
Christopher Null

Characters don't talk to each other -- they talk to the camera

Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A shallow, confusing and vexing film.

Full review…
Dan Jardine

the film comes off as an academic exercise instead of a living, breathing testament to the ideas it presents.

Flixster Audience Score: 67% Flixster User Reviews
Emile Tremblay
Lady D'arbanville
The two love stories that are the link in this film would have been very boring in their own right, but mix the two, the time differences, the character changes… More
Jim Hunter
This film interweaves two two-character dramas: as adulterous actors film a melodrama about a 19th Century adulterous couple, they begin to develop their own… More
John Ballantine
Meryl Streep does her best in a meandering film. The TV version apparently is shorter but I doubt that it does much to pick up the slow action in an otherwise… More
Julie B
Extremely well done, slow and deliberate unraveling of two intertwined love stories.
Alec Barniskis
Well acted, but the modern part of the story is silly and without any real point. That and the ending is a train wreck. Its not all bad, just rather tedious.