Blood Oranges (1997) from Tuna

I just took a second look at The Blood Oranges (1997), and it had been long enough between viewings that I watched the entire film.

Here is what I originally said.

"It is a story set in an unnamed paradise and is about open marriage. One couple, secure in their alternate life-style, think they have met the couple of their dreams. The relationships do not prove to be as easy as first thought. The critics that have reviewed it, hate it -- I didn't. The photography is superb, there is ample nudity, and I found the plot, while a little slow-paced, to be engrossing, and rather sensitive. It is shot in Mexico, and features ocean shots and Spanish gardens that make me want to move there."

This time through, I am much more in agreement with the critics. The two people secure in their open lifestyle are highly manipulative, and end up causing serious trouble for the other couple. The male half of the other couple turns out to be a sexual deviant, and the women is emotionally weak, so none of the characters are really likeable. Never mind that their three children also suffered. I can't say that any great truths were revealed about these characters in the course of the film either.


We have exposure from three actresses -- Sheryl Lee, Laila Robins and Aida Lopez.   This is Aida's only film appearance, and she has a lengthy, but non-speaking part which includes full-frontal nudity.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen letterboxed

  • no features

The film does indeed look wonderful, and there is great nudity, but what eroticism the film has is independent of the nude scenes and the few sex scenes. There are erotic seduction moments, but they are few and far between. To make matters worse, the film, as was the book, consists of narrated flashbacks, with a fade to dark orange and back to show where we shift time frames. The dialogue sounded forced, as if they were going for a 60's period piece.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: No print reviews. The internet sites came in right around two stars. Apollo 53/100, Culture Dose, 2/5

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 3.9/10.  Women at IMDB score it slightly higher than men, 4.5 compared to 3.8, and older men and younger women seemed to like it a little better.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C-. The Blood Oranges is great eye candy, but nothing more, and fails as erotica. Were it not for a beautiful photography in a lovely location, and a good transfer, it would be even lower.

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