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The Tenant

R Released May 26, 1976 2h 5m Horror List
84% Tomatometer 37 Reviews 87% Audience Score 10,000+ Ratings
In Paris, isolated Eastern European émigré Trelkovsky (Roman Polanski) rents an apartment in a spooky old building whose inhabitants regard him with suspicion and even outright hostility. When he learns that the apartment's previous tenant, a beautiful woman, tried to commit suicide by jumping out the window, Trelkovsky begins to identify with her in increasingly disturbing ways. Then, to make matters even worse, he reaches the conclusion that his new neighbors are plotting to kill him. Read More Read Less
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The Tenant

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Critics Consensus

A rough-edged thriller that lacks the precision of Polanski's best work, but makes up for it with its skillful mounting of paranoia, dread, and dark themes.

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Critics Reviews

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Penelope Gilliatt New Yorker The Tenant is a poetic nightmare about punishment imposed on an unguilty man who merely entertained great fear of guilt. Jan 23, 2024 Full Review Kim Newman Empire Magazine A disturbing and poignant anthology of Roman Polanski's favourite, oppressive themes. Rated: 4/5 Feb 18, 2010 Full Review Variety Staff Variety It has a humorous tang, underlying the macabre. Oct 18, 2008 Full Review Steve Warren The Barb (Atlanta) It's strange stuff, and too subtle for people who like The Exorcist and The Omen, but The Tenant is a real horror movie. May 9, 2023 Full Review Rob Gonsalves Rob's Movie Vault Absorbing but not recommended for those looking for an easy good time. Rated: B Nov 29, 2022 Full Review David Dugas United Press International If only Polanski, who collaborated with Gerard Brach on the script, had not let this parable on paranoia become so predictable and preposterous. Well before the end, The Tenant succumbs to meaningless and therefore boring hokum. Aug 3, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Wayne K The last film Roman Polanski made before becoming a societal pariah, The Tenant seems him making not just an onscreen appearance, but actually playing the lead role. This was an odd choice, and doesn't necessarily work to the films advantage. He does well as the meek and mild mannered individual at the beginning, but he doesn't have the acting range or the charisma to truly sell his descent into madness. He does, however, direct the film very well. There's lot of mirrors, reflections and close up shots that make us feel like we're being watched. It's a film about the effect that constant browbeating, harassment and bullying can have on a person, even one as outwardly kind as our protagonist. It creates a lingering sense of dread and paranoia, and you try your best to put the puzzle pieces in place before our lead completely loses his mind. It does take a long time to start paying off, and some scenes feel more redundant than creepy, but as a subtle horror film that slowly draws you in before hitting you square in the face, The Tenant makes for a suitably unnerving experience. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/18/24 Full Review Regina P It was okay... I was hoping to see something more like Rosemary's Baby. I thought it was going there, but then it didn't. It didn't look like the tenants had anything to do with this guy's mind trip. I thought the story itself was clever, but I don't know what to do with it. What actually happened here? I have no idea, but the story was entertaining nonetheless. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 11/24/23 Full Review Barry G Roman Polanski's "The Tenant" is everything you want from its director. Absolute must see for every "Repulsion" and "Rosemary's Baby" fan. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the best films of all time. Cinema at its best. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/14/23 Full Review Shioka O The director played it by himself. This is another paranoia psychological thriller made by him, self-abusive, and I assume more personal than the other his major works, that's why I enjoyed. He was troubled in real life at that time. By seeing this, "Repulsion" and "Rosemary's", I believe he had terrible experiences about apartments/houses. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/15/23 Full Review dave s Other than the fact that he is a French citizen of Polish descent, we learn very little about Trelkovsky (Roman Polanski) over the course of Polanski's The Tenant. Residing in the apartment of a young woman who has committed suicide, Trelkovsky soon begins to believe that the residents of the building are trying to drive him to a similar fate. The Tenant is a film about alienation, paranoia, and isolation, similar in many ways to Polanski's Repulsion from a decade earlier, managing to effectively establish a disorienting sense of mental anguish and desperation. While it excels on most fronts, what keeps it from being a great film is the abysmal dubbing, where the French actors have seemingly had their lines replaced by English non-actors, which proves to be distracting throughout. And why does nobody in Paris speak French, or at least speak English with French accents? Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review lance h Honestly - we loved Rosemary's Baby... this movie was boring and pointless. Skip. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis In Paris, isolated Eastern European émigré Trelkovsky (Roman Polanski) rents an apartment in a spooky old building whose inhabitants regard him with suspicion and even outright hostility. When he learns that the apartment's previous tenant, a beautiful woman, tried to commit suicide by jumping out the window, Trelkovsky begins to identify with her in increasingly disturbing ways. Then, to make matters even worse, he reaches the conclusion that his new neighbors are plotting to kill him.
Director
Roman Polanski
Producer
Andrew Braunsberg
Screenwriter
Gérard Brach, Roman Polanski
Production Co
Marianne Productions
Rating
R
Genre
Horror
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
May 26, 1976, Original
Rerelease Date (Theaters)
Jun 11, 1976
Release Date (Streaming)
Jan 1, 2017
Box Office (Gross USA)
$9.6K
Runtime
2h 5m
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