A serious, old-fashioned, history-heavy romance.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
There is something undeniably pleasant about an entertainment like Tristan & Isolde that delivers exactly what it promises, no less, no more.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
The two leads, James Franco and Sophia Myles, generate a modicum of chemistry, despite being penned in by a clunky script.
Andrew Pulver - Guardian [UK]
This relationship lacks a critical ingredient: passion.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Well, I just had this weird feeling that things weren't going to work out for them. But even though you can see it coming, this director Kevin Reynolds just makes the whole thing drag on and on and on and on.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
The fate of two nations hinges on the nondisclosure of the stolen kisses and secret trysts. But, boy, could I have not cared less.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
I dub thee tolerable.
Peter L'Official - Village Voice
It's that rare movie that had me wishing I was at the opera.
Jack Mathews - New York Daily News
There's far more smiting than smooching -- more hewing of limbs than heaving of bosoms.
Bruce Westbrook - Houston Chronicle
Tristan & Isolde is gorgeous to watch. The film's cinematography shines as a stunning example of setting, costumes, choreography and visual mood. And the story is entertaining, epic in scope but without an interminable length.
Mario Tarradell - Dallas Morning News
Franco looks appropriately troubled as Tristan. Myles is pretty and sweet enough to win hearts as Isolde.
Michael Booth - Denver Post
The knights and ladies don't look like escapees from a Prince Valiant comic strip, but like physical, vulnerable, survivors of the conflicts left behind by the Romans.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Mindless, predictable and mildly entertaining.
Allison Benedikt - Chicago Tribune
Strikes a good balance between action and romance in this version of the medieval legend.
Andrea Gronvall - Chicago Reader
Though Reynolds' film tops two hours (which in a season of epics seems almost trim), he keeps the action brisk.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Over-the-top romance notwithstanding, Tristan and Isolde is a watchable hoot, with skirmishes and swordplay erupting whenever the story drags.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
In the end, Tristan & Isolde is never painful. It's just a bit of a dull blade.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Franco's curly locks may make the target audience swoon, but his presence never allows the rest of us to completely sink into Tristan & Isolde.
Bill Muller - Arizona Republic
A handsomely produced and sporadically rousing re-retelling of the ancient Celtic legend about star-crossed lovers.
Joe Leydon - Variety
Trying to underplay things, the actors practically sleepwalk. When someone finally gets the chance to shout, 'Seize him!' he does so with as much gusto as the guy who says, 'WINS news time: 8:45.'
Kyle Smith - New York Post
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
The movie plods around, appears to pick up speed, but then falters. Worse, we never feel true sympathy for the lovers who are forced to risk all to meet in secret when fate and politics keep them apart.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
Sorry, no magic here.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
I can wholeheartedly recommend Tristan & Isolde, even to those who don't have a penchant for period piece romances. The movie has a lot to offer.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
At its core is a pair of lovers no contemporary audience could possibly care for, and at the periphery are characters that threaten to become interesting but never quite do.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
Tristan has its slightly silly moments, but rather like those fondly remembered epics of Hollywood past, its energy and entertainment value carry the day.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Jennie Kermode - Eye for Film
You watch this benumbed retelling of the ancient legend thinking, "This, too, shall pass."
David Noh - Film Journal International
Dean Essner - Film Threat
No Wagner libretto and not much depth or soul.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
[Tristan and Isolde] moves so sluggishly that someone must have been dosing the cast and crew with Nyquil.
Keith Phipps - AV Club
Tristan & Isolde isn't the sort of film you'd go out of your way for, but you could certainly do a lot worse.
Peter T. Chattaway - Christianity Today
one of those movies you keep in that special shelf, to watch them when you're ready to kill yourself, just to make sure you made the right decision
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
A movie in which all necessities are captured in two hours of ambitious celluloid, except for one critical anchoring piece: a heart.
David Keyes - Cinemaphile.org
Funciona principalmente gracas a maneira eficaz com que retrata o amor do casal-titulo, que jamais deixa de soar convincente.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
The production is grimy and listless, without any color to be seen, literal or figurative -- not even those little red dots meant to deter piracy. But then, there's not much danger of that.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
A strong visual style and a violent streak only partially undone by the PG-13 rating.
Scott Weinberg - DVD Clinic
Unlike Franco's mop, no amount of teasing can keep this romance from falling flat.
Stella Papamichael - BBC
Fans of historical epics will find much to like in the costuming, battle sequences and cinematography, but the love story itself is underdeveloped.
Forrest Hartman - Reno Gazette-Journal
A compelling story washed down for a film that's likely only appeal to pre-teen girls.
Joe Utichi - FilmFocus
By removing the sorcery and operatic excess so synonymous with the story, the filmmakers conjure an affecting, pretty melodrama... with the emphasis more on mellow than drama.
Will Lawrence - Empire Magazine
Pretty and rather dull.
Martin Hoyle - Time Out
Swords clank, star-crossed lovers yearn, yadda yadda yadda.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
Frequently rubbish but nonetheless enjoyable swashbuckler, despite a tendency to take itself a bit too seriously. More fun than King Arthur.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Dean Essner - Sydney Morning Herald
Rustic and lusty, Tristan and Isolde looks great but still feels less than real, as if the cinematic exaggerations actually diminish the central story.
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
A legendary love story set amidst violent clashes between English warlords and an Irish king fails to impress.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
...never out-and-out boring...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Frank Wilkins - Frank's Reel Reviews
Much more A Knight's Tale than Romeo & Juliet
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
The movie attempts a sort of documentary realism in depicting a period that is largely undocumented %u2026 but as was the case with the flat-footed King Arthur of two years ago, you may miss the magic.
Kurt Loder - MTV
It's so cheesy and corny.
Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper
The legend of "Tristan & Isolde" happened a long time ago, so the story goes. And here it's retold as an average film that could have been worse, but could have been better, for the resume of director Kevin Reynolds.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
A poignant, old-fashioned, history-heavy forbidden romance
Susan Granger - Modamag.com
The film's roots and execution are faithful to the source and allow the emotional and thematic complexity of the tale to shine through.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
It has action and intrigue, diabolic plots, a tournament of champions, and everything else you would expect from a medieval movie, but it has a tendency to over tell the story and needs more romance.
Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone - TheMovieChicks.com
A handsomely assembled non-musical version of the legend ... the chinks in the armor creep in with James Franco, all lathered up in a weepy soap opera performance.
Thomas Delapa - Boulder Weekly
A good romance with plenty of adventure to entertain both sexes.
Diana Saenger - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Do we really want less magic in our legends? And if these stories are stripped of their mythic aspects, are they even very interesting anymore?
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
[R]eally good, in all sorts of unexpected ways: it's stirring, sexy, exciting, tragic, and perhaps most surprisingly, genuine.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Arthur Reinhart's stunning images repeatedly isolate Isolde among the cool, gray expanse of natural settings. She's a freethinking woman at the mercy of powerful forces beyond her control, trapped in the wrong place at the wrong time in history.
Susan Tavernetti - Palo Alto Weekly
Jonathan W. Hickman - Entertainment Insiders
The movie lacks style and pacing; Franco and Myles look too contemporary. They would be more at home with their romantic problems on some Fox or WB drama ...
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
Intensely romantic and artistically photographed, 'Tristan & Isolde' is a welcome quality release during the January movie doldrums.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Jeffrey Gantz - Boston Phoenix
Across the board, it's far from special.
Jon Popick - Planet Sick-Boy
Formulaic, often tedious re-telling of the ancient legend.
Boo Allen - Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
Stolen moments from other films abound but director Kevin Reynolds has clearly given the story and characters a life and identity of their own.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
In short, it's just not fun with the specter of tragedy looming over every scene.
Hanh Nguyen - Zap2it.com
Yes! it's a story of love at first sight which will ring down the ages. But everyone seems bored with the whole nonsense.
Eric Lurio - Greenwich Village Gazette
Dean Essner - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Dean Essner - Baltimore Sun
one of those rare cinematic experiences that feels whole, that feels authentic.
Keith Breese - Filmcritic.com
A sweeping, heartfelt tale, beautifully told, that works on multiple levels.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
The end result plays out like a George Lucas film without spaceships and lightsabers.
Michael Ferraro - Film Threat
Tristan & Isolde strives to be the good old-fashioned medieval kind of romance that stirs the soul. But due to the somewhat lackluster performances from the doomed young lovers, the film doesn't quite hit the mark.
Kit Bowen - Hollywood.com
Suffers from a contemporary take on a very period piece.
Eric Moro - Now Playing Magazine
This whole movie feels so wrong that you're likely to develop a headache from all the eye rolling.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
Filmed in breathtaking locations in Western Ireland and the Czech Republic, Tristan & Isolde is a disappointingly passion-free romance.
Timothy Knight - Reel.com
Tristan & Isolde is deadly serious, straightforward and surprisingly entertaining tragedy that reinforces much of what we think we know about the Dark Ages in Britain.
Connie Ogle - Miami Herald
Reynolds' film has an evocative, old-fashioned storybook look (as if designed by N.C. Wyeth or Aubrey Beardsley), and features strong performances.
Jack Garner - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
This Tristan is strictly for those who prefer their romantic melodrama bloodied up a bit.
Terry Lawson - Detroit Free Press
[Director Reynolds] has a feel for the rough beauty of western England and the Irish coast, and he moves quickly, if not always coherently, through battles and cabals.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
They are hollow people mooning their way through a backdrop of endless battles in which wild-haired, wild-eyed men chop each other about.
Bridget Byrne - Boxoffice Magazine
Tristan & Isolde wants to be an epic, but it has all the weight of a high school play.
Scott Von Doviak - Fort Worth Star-Telegram
We don't find a tale of transcendent passion but rather of two vain nitwits in a case of routine attraction.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
Scott Von Doviak - Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
While Tristan & Isolde, a competent but uninspired film version of the legendary medieval romance, will likely fade from theaters and memories quickly, Myles' lovely face and spirited performance should linger.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
The longer the film ran, the more I wanted to be put out of Tristan and Isolde's misery.
Dan Lybarger - eFilmCritic.com
Music appreciation students might buy a ticket... expecting a film version of Wagner's popular opera. Sadly, the only sort of opera they'll be seeing is the kind proceeded by the word 'soap.'
James Sanford - Kalamazoo Gazette
This couple has endured for over 900 years; the least Tristan & Isolde can do is show us a reason why.
Rob Vaux - Flipside Movie Emporium
["Tristan & Isolde"] is trying to be both chick flick and machismo movie. I'm not sure it does either well enough but it is a showcase for Sophia Myles.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Even though the time period has been brilliantly captured, it's too long and lacks pace. Even so, against all odds, I liked it. Many in my audience seemed to have a different opinion, laughing at lines that did not invite laughter.
Tony Medley - tonymedley.com
Director Kevin Reynolds isn't so much inspired as determined to tell it with period accuracy, without bothering to be historically accurate.
Dean Essner - TV Guide's Movie Guide
It's never a good sign for a movie when the audience burst into uncontrollable laughter and the movie is not a comedy, but a serious drama.
Jeffrey Lyles - Gazette (MD)
Not as antic or silly as his Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Kevin Reynolds' return to the realm of noble knights, ardent damsels, and grim scoundrels is melodramatic and anachronistic.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
... a hard film to watch unless you bring your own pre-existing fascination with the material.
Daniel M. Kimmel - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
The story itself -- Tristan falls in love with Isolde first, only to see her married off as part of a cold-hearted peace treaty -- is merely dreary, full of overwrought villainy and thuggish jousting.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
It's all nicely shot, but Tristan And Isolde lacks the soul that has kept this story alive for a thousand-plus years.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
Reynolds has again delivered a lavish adventure for audiences who like their entertainment earnest and their storytelling straightforward.
Glenn Whipp - Los Angeles Daily News
There are serious ideas at work here. But in these hands, it's as shallow and glossed-over as Franco's English accent.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
Rather than complementing and intensifying the love story, a parallel tale of raging medieval war only interrupts the action. Alas, our love for this movie is one that can never be.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
Don't get out your handkerchiefs. You won't need them for Tristan & Isolde ... a fatal flaw in a movie that purports to recount the original star-crossed-lovers myth.
Carol Cling - Las Vegas Review-Journal
Dave White - Movies.com
Unlike the opera, this version of the tale features no mystical elements and comes off as horribly contrived. What's more, director Kevin Reynolds' sluggish pacing makes the film feels twice as long as it really is.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
The leaden pacing and the lack of compelling performances eventually make even the most hardened ren-fair geeks in the house tune out.
Steve Schneider - Orlando Weekly
Misguided, miscast, a travesty.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
A tough, thrilling melodrama.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Franco lays on mannered tics, like a slurred vocal delivery reminiscent of Benicio del Toro's mush-mouthed hood from The Usual Suspects.
Brett Buckalew - FilmStew.com
Bypasses the mythic tone of Richard Wagner's opera...without forsaking storybook romance. The inoffensive results get the job done, but sadly fail to excite.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
It's just a pretty valentine with no real heart.
Bob Longino - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
As for the storied passion at the center of this tale, it burns about as brightly as a matchstick in a rainstorm.
Scott Foundas - L.A. Weekly
It's a nice attempt to tell a classic love story with integrity, but the execution falters, leaving the true power of the romance lacking when the film needs it the most.
Brian Orndorf - FilmJerk.com
Tristan & Isolde is the first pleasant surprise of 2006...Kevin Reynolds is a pretty good director when he's not associated with Kevin Costner.
Chuck O'Leary - Fantastica Daily
How strange it is to see a film that's supposed to be all about the burning passion and unquenchable exhilaration of true love, and yet is rather passionless and unexhilarating.
Winda Benedetti - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
A tepid, tinny modernist recasting of the epic romance...something like a WB Network twentysomething soap opera in medieval dress.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Everything is a little too overdone.
Mary-Liz Shaw - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Tristan and Isolde is the story on which William Shakespeare based Romeo and Juliet, and, judging from the movie, he's a heck of a rewrite man.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
When a war is going down, why are the king and his fiercest lieutenants taking a time-out to attend to the lovesick?
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
Tristan & Isolde maintains a veneer of dramatic gravitas, but you'll feel more romantic intensity from the teenage couples sitting in the theater than from the two leads.
Matt Bradley - Christian Science Monitor
Tristan & Isolde does nothing to help further the cause of historic epics. In fact, it may even go down in flames faster than you can say "Orlando Bloom was horribly miscast in Kingdom of Heaven."
Rebecca Murray - About.com
Part Gladiator, part Braveheart, part Romeo and Juliet, Tristan & Isolde is all boring.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
...never quite attains the full weight and grandeur that its tragic love story demands. Yet the movie is nothing to scoff at.
Josh Larsen - Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
Oh, their legend will survive. But this classic comics-style perfume commercial of a re-telling will not.
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
The film gives off the feeling of being incredibly bored with itself. The feeling, sadly, is contagious.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
screenwriter Dean Georgaris has cherry-picked his way through [the legend] unable to synthesize what he has chosen to use into anything close to the compelling, passionate, and achingly poetic tale that has come down to us.
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Two phoned-in performances do not a romance make.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
He freezes his face and half-fills his eyes as lovelorn fighter Tristan; the very Madame Toussaud effigy of Andy Gibb in a tunic, he lets his leonine mane do the emoting.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
With a bizarre coiffure that makes him look like the lead singer of an '80s New Wave band, Franco flares his nostrils and pouts -- his performance riddled with so many Anakin-ims you'll think he's auditioning for The Hayden Christensen Story.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly