Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas' 'Deep Water' Is Now on Hulu: Critics Are Split on the 'Sexy' Thriller

Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas play a married couple entangled in a twisted game of resentment in Deep Water, now streaming on Hulu

Deep Water
Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck in Deep Water (2022). Photo: 20th Century Studios

Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas are playing twisted games with each other in Deep Water — and some critics are here for it.

Based on Patricia Highsmith's 1957 novel, the erotic thriller stars Affleck as Vic and de Armas as his wife Melinda, who seeks out extramarital affairs and dangles her suitors in front of her husband's face. Vic becomes increasingly obsessed, leading to twists and turns that flip their marriage upside down.

Originally intended to hit theaters, Deep Water debuted on Hulu Friday, and critics are mostly mixed on the movie, which is what brought the two leads together in real life: Affleck, 49, and de Armas, 33, dated from 2019 until their breakup in January 2021.

In her review for The Wall Street Journal, Amy Nicholson called the film a "wickedly funny potboiler about sex, gossip and hypocrisy" with "chilly blue cinematography and coldly erotic score."

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Deep Water is directed by Adrian Lyne, the filmmaker behind iconic erotic thrillers like 1987's Fatal Attraction and 2002's Unfaithful.

Variety's critic Peter Debruge said this new movie is "sexy and plenty entertaining, mind you, but it's just not very useful insofar as what it says about real relationships."

"Vic's actions get increasingly unbelievable as the movie goes on, but Lyne's a talented enough director to keep us invested, even in the lunatic last third," wrote Debruge. "If anything, he doesn't push things far enough. In other words, he's still great at what he does; he just doesn't do enough of it."

The New York Times' Jeannette Catsoulis said Deep Water is "in many ways a baffling return for Lyne," noting that "there's surprisingly little sex, and what there is has none of the vividness and tactility Lyne is known for." She adds, "Deep Water feels like a movie that's had everything of interest well and truly sucked out."

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Darren Franich wrote in a review for Entertainment Weekly that the movie "isn't really thrilling or erotic": "The final act requires everyone to suddenly become 63 percent stupider, though there are sublime pleasures in the late plot turns."

Reviewing for the Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang said the "story barrels toward its startlingly abrupt finish," and highlighted that de Armas is the "liveliest presence" in the movie, though she is "the most ill-served by all this editing-room triage; she seems to be acting in fragments, as if she'd been directed to variously flirt, dance, drink, scream and slink around in black cocktail attire without pulling the pieces together."

All in all, as The Wrap's Alonso Duralde puts it, Deep Water "doesn't invoke the beads of sweat that the genre's best can manage, but it's a pleasurably trashy reminder of the flashy fun that Lyne and his many imitators once regularly brought to the screen."

Deep Water, which also stars Tracy Letts, Kristen Connolly, Jacob Elordi, Lil Rel Howery and Finn Wittrock, is now streaming on Hulu.

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