L.A. Weekly

By Scott Foundas
This won't be remembered as one of the prodigiously talented Armstrong's great films (My Brilliant Career, High Tide, Little Women), but it's still 90 percent better than everything else out there.
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Los Angeles Times

Far more diverting and well crafted than its promotion-free release campaign might suggest. Then again, for a film largely based on the notion that "nothing is what it seems," such lowered expectations may actually work in its favor.
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A minor but satisfying entry in the "what if" historical-fantasy genre.
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The Hollywood Reporter

By Ray Bennett
What it lacks is a villain, and magic without danger is simply a parlor trick, which is what the film becomes.
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New York Daily News

By Elizabeth Weitzman
Though all the elements are in place, there's not much magic to be found in Death Defying Acts, an intermittently entertaining but surprisingly modest romance from Gillian Armstrong.
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By Dennis Harvey
A handsome contraption that's never very engaging, let alone convincing.
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New York Post

By Kyle Smith
The ingredients are there for a cute con game, but instead the movie turns out to be a mushy melodrama.
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The New York Times

By Neil Genzlinger
Ms. Zeta-Jones is too elegant for the lowlife she's supposed to be, Ms. Ronan isn't endearing enough to be a ragamuffin, and, under Gillian Armstrong's direction, never for a minute do you believe they're mother and daughter.
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48 out of 100
Mixed or average reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.