The Soviets have made a picture that satirizes but then elegizes the Czarist era, and that photographs the surviving architectural artifacts of the period with a love that borders on worship.
The Globe and Mail. April 9, 1981.
In tackling OBLOMOV, Mikhalkov wanted to treat the tale from a moral as well as a social viewpoint — ‘to deal with the purpose of living, by making clear why this man acted as he did.I didn’t try to justify him, and it would have been pointless to use him as a mere condemnation of wealthy behavior under the Czars. It tried to tell the story with love, and show how Oblomovism is not really cured by Stoltzism. Pragmatism alone is no solution.’
Christian Science Monitor. April 9, 1981.
The brilliant long opening sequence of the film captures the essence of this soporific syndrome. Oblomov, swaddled in his bedclothes on a sofa in his St. Petersburg flat, dozes and dithers the day away, fending off the entreaties of his buffoonish servant, Zakhar…. And all the while the camera prowls the shuttered rooms of the flat like Morpheus himself, come to check out his most faithful disciple. It’s a marvelous episode, farcical, bizarre, oddly disquieting in its revelation of this super-stupor…
Newsweek. March 23, 1981.
OBLOMOV is leisurely and, at times, almost slack; there are portions of it, particularly those involving the love affair with Olga, in which nothing seems to be happening at all. And yet the film has a refreshing, unexpected manner, and a radiance that, after this and A SLAVE OF LOVE, is becoming Mr. Mikhalkov’s trademark. The intelligence and inventiveness he brings to the task of adapting this novel are so impressive as to be virtually unnoticeable, so smoothly does the film drift forward.
The New York Times. March 6, 1981.