Critics praise Daniel Radcliffe for ‘sturdy and self-sufficient’ performance in his first post-Potter role.
By Kevin P. Sullivan
Daniel Radcliffe makes his post-Potter debut in the new adaptation of Susan Hill’s ghost story, “The Woman in Black.” It’s an old-fashioned horror movie that has earned mild praise from the critics, but a warmer welcome for its star and his prospects of an adult acting character.
We’ve rounded up a sampling of what the critics are saying about Daniel Radcliffe and “The Woman in Black,” which opened Friday (February 3). Check out it below.
“Anchoring the drama is Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), a sad-faced solicitor still grieving for his wife who died in childbirth four years earlier. Their son Joseph (Misha Handley) is wise beyond his few years and draws pictures of his dad looking mournful. The gloominess deepens when Kipps’ boss threatens to fire him if he doesn’t excel at an assignment. The job is to sort out the papers of a recently deceased old lady.” — Claudia Puig, USA Today
“Radcliffe, for his part, carries off the role of Arthur with reasonable aplomb. If the 22-year-old actor seems a little young to be playing a solicitor and single father whose wife died in childbirth four years earlier, his performance is sturdy and self-sufficient enough, at least, to banish thoughts of Hermione and Hogwarts. He’s all grown-up.” — Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post
” ‘No Country for Young Kids’ would be just as suitable a title for ‘The Woman in Black,’ a hoot of an old-fashioned British horror film in which being under 10 years old is not a good thing.” — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
“Schooled in the art of the quiet boo, [Director James] Watkins fills the film with squeaking doors and floorboards, pools of black, long silences and an assortment of moldering toys. Less gore is more here, and what a relief. ‘The Woman in Black’ isn’t especially scary, but it keeps you on edge, and without the usual vivisectionist imagery.” — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“The house is a masterpiece of production design, crumbling, forlorn, filled with the faded and jumbled Victorian possessions of doomed lifetimes. It has a unique feature audiences will not fail to remark upon: its own sound-effects crew. At every frightening moment, and there are many, the soundtrack paralyzes us with blasts of cacophonous noise. You wouldn’t want to be in the theater next to this movie in a multiplex.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
The Final Word
“The work Radcliffe does here is primarily reactive. It’s also quite good. I’d say he’s on his way as a post-Potter entity, and ‘The Woman in Black’ deserves a stateside audience. I only wish Watkins had done without the ‘WHUUNNNGGGG!!!!’ sound effects whenever somebody or something suddenly appears in frame, further racking the nerves of our ectoplasmically beset hero.” — Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
Are you planning on seeing “The Woman in Black” this weekend? Let us know in the comments!
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Woman in Black.”
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