Subtle emotional intelligence has always distinguished Bellocchio's filmmaking, and Dormant Beauty is constructed from fine-grained layers of it, the filmmaker's equivalent of a master cabinetmaker's craft.
Bellocchio counters these flaws with an energetically combative aesthetic (he makes you feel like you’re riding out a sociopolitical tempest, careening between perspectives) and an overarching humanism that gives equal weight to the many feelings stirred up by this hot-button situation.
The film puts too many elements into play, which means it ends up darting hopelessly between a series of underdeveloped storylines.
Noel MurrayThe Dissolve
Dormant Beauty always comes back to the difficult decisions that family members have to make for each other, contrasted with the huffiness of outsiders who try to project their own beliefs onto someone else’s business.