The Tenant - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan

"The Tenant" is my all-time favorite movie about apartment living. Director Roman Polanski casts himself as Trekolvsky, a meek little Polish file clerk by day who does his best to be a conscientious & thoughtful tenant at night, but only succeeds in getting pushed around by his neighbors. Trekolvsky discovers that his predecessor in his Paris apartment bumped herself off & he fears that a similar fate is in store for him. "The Tenant" is a surreal blend of terror & humor with a conclusion that has to be seen to be believed. It makes sense within the context of the story, but when you think twice about it (& you will think about "The Tenant" again & again), you may wonder how any filmmaker would dare to get away with it. Polanski at his best is in a class by himself & if he could get away with slicing up Jack Nicholson's nose in 1974's "Chinatown," he could certainly get away with the operatic twists & turns of poor little Trekolvsky's life. The fact that the cast includes so many wonderful character actors from all the world is a delightful bonus: Melvyn Douglas as Monsieur Zy, Jo Van Fleet as Madame Dioz, Lila Kedrova as Madame Gaderian, Shelley Winters as the Concierge...You may want to see this gem two or three times to appreciate all the details you missed the first or second time around.

© 2009 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 08/19/09
Movie Magazine International


  1. Yes to everything above. Among the best movies I know of--deeply unsettling, and no one has ever done so well what this movie does--get inside the main characters head. It is impossible--repeat, impossible--to understand or appreciate this complex movie with one viewing. The last 20 minutes are as fine and as weird and disturbing as any ending.


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