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Tristan & Isolde Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… PG-13 sword-fighting is boring. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    A feeble medieval epic with a lackluster romance at its center.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    James Franco is a gorgeous, smoldering lover in Tristan & Isolde, but you can't help being reminded of Ben Stiller's "Zoolander" character.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Working with an explanatory script by Dean Georgaris, Reynolds is much more confident in scenes of realistic battle, or even muddy marketplace dailiness, than he is with scenes of desire.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    There's something beautiful about a well-made tragic love story. It may not be as uplifting as one with a happy ending, but it's more cathartic.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    By removing elements of magic and operatic excess from the story, the brothers Scott focus on what is, underneath, a story as tragic (and less contrived) as the one cited in the ads, "Romeo and Juliet."

    Read Full Review

  • See all Tristan & Isolde reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

The legend of young love going wrong, again.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film includes several fierce medieval battle scenes, featuring swords, mallets, spears, knives, and arrows, and resulting in dead and bloody/wounded bodies. The young lovers appear in various states of undress and throes of passion (kissing, embracing, hiding from authorities); in one scene, two women strip to lie next to the naked, just washed-ashore Tristan in order to warm him. The young lovers engage in an adulterous affair after she is married. Characters drink during party scenes.

  • Families can talk about the characters' efforts to balance desire and duty. How do the young people deal with losing parents (Tristan loses both; Isolde's mother is absent), or seek moral ground while living during wartime? How does the film follow the well-known legend that serves as its source?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: King offers his daughter as a prize to contest winner; young lovers commit adultery.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Bloody battles with medieval weapons (swords, hammers, spears, poison), producing bloody bodies; three major battle scenes, assorted other competitions and fights.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Heaving breasts and heavy breathing, brief nudity, discussion of sex and lust.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Drinking of ale and wine at parties.