The Lunchbox

Critics Consensus

Warm, affectionate, and sweet but not cloying, The Lunchbox is a clever crowd-pleaser from first-time director Ritesh Batra.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 114

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,486
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Movie Info

Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes that this new recipe will finally arouse some kind of reaction from her neglectful husband. She prepares a special lunchbox to be delivered to him at work, but, unbeknownst to her, it is mistakenly delivered to another office worker, Saajan, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, Ila puts a little note in the following day's lunchbox, in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the mystery. This begins a series of lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila, and the mere comfort of communicating with a stranger anonymously soon evolves into an unexpected friendship. Gradually, their notes become little confessions about their loneliness, memories, regrets, fears, and even small joys. They each discover a new sense of self and find an anchor to hold on to in the big city of Mumbai that so often crushes hopes and dreams. Still strangers physically, Ila and Saajan become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities. (C) Sony Classics

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News & Interviews for The Lunchbox

Critic Reviews for The Lunchbox

All Critics (114) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (110) | Rotten (4)

  • The Lunchbox is either a piquant romance or a wise comedy. The director's confidence with such a delicate story makes it successful as both.

    Jul 14, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This is a real charmer of a film: a wry and gently comic Mumbai-set drama with a level of quiet observation that rekindles memories of Bill Forsyth in his prime.

    Apr 11, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Batra clearly adores his characters. We get a taste for them, too.

    Apr 11, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A Rolls Royce romantic comedy set in Mumbai that rides on a delectable, bittersweet central turn by Irrfan Khan.

    Apr 11, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • By its final act, pressing home the most un-Bollywood message that life's often more complicated than the movies,it's assumed the feel and weight of a well-observed short story.

    Apr 10, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Mike McCahill

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • There's nothing wildly original here, but it's carried off with charm and wit, and a pair of very enjoyable central performances.

    Apr 9, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Lunchbox

  • Oct 08, 2015
    The Lunchbox is a moving drama with a gentle touch. The story and characters feel simple and real, pensive but not melancholy. The film is about two people trying to make a connection in a world of tension and contradiction. Indian metropolitan culture presents as bustling and quiet, crowded with great distance, its people being wistful yet responsible. The Lunchbox is a very relatable film and one I believe to have universal appeal.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 09, 2015
    A warm, melancholy drama that enchants and moves us even more thanks to the way that its three-dimensional characters reveal so much about themselves between the lines - and it is only a pity, though, that it drags a bit in the third act and ends in a rather frustrating conclusion.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 11, 2014
    Feel-good drama mixing the chaotic and spacious.
    hawk l Super Reviewer
  • Jul 04, 2014
    'The Lunch Box' (2014) is the genial and sensible debut film of Ritesh Batra which takes place in India. It's a nice slice-of-life story that follows the subtle neglected lives of two different people who are misguidedly brought together through a lunchbox. Even for how slow-paced this film can be, it is ultimately saved by impeccable performances and genuine dialogue. There are many cases where films ensure languid camera movements that just seem to go on and on with not much happening. However, with the 'The Lunch Box' (2014) almost every minute of languid camera time gives direct details, whether it's cultural or for a character's depth-real characters, real situations.
    Noah N Super Reviewer

The Lunchbox Quotes

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