Signs & Wonders (2000) from Tuna

Signs & Wonders (2000) is one of the artier "art house" films I have seen this year. Stellan Skarsgård as Alec is married to Charlotte Rampling, and has a son and a daughter. He finds portent in the most trivial of things, such as sewer covers, and then makes life decisions based on what he has divined. He works in Athens as an investment broker, and is banging a woman in the office. It looks like that will end when he confesses the affair to Rampling. Later, he meets her on a ski slope, and decides that fate wants him with the girlfriend, so he divorces Rampling and moves to the US with the girlfriend. That doesn't last long, however, when the girlfriend admits she set him up, and the meeting wasn't a chance encounter.

Naturally, he goes back to Athens and lets Rampling know that he intends to reunite the family. The fact that she is engaged to a former Greek dissident and activist doesn't faze him much at all. His son is on the side of the Greek, but his daughter is on his side. 


Rampling shows her breasts in a sex scene near the end of the film with Alec, then meets her Greek to marry him.

DVD info from Amazon

The DVD transfer was mushy and oversaturated.   

Trouble is, it is a really hard watch, and painfully slow. It is not always clear to me what was happening, there was no hint as to why the characters became what they were, and I had the feeling from start to finish that it was dripping with symbolism, but I couldn't decipher the symbols. It is decidedly not a film for the masses.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: about three stars. Ebert 3/4, 3.5/5

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: it grossed $33,000 over 11 weeks - $3000 per week - it never appeared in more than 2 theaters
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or 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. 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.

Based on this description, this film is a C-.

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