In his review of "Evening," New York Magazine critic David Edelstein writes, "The film is based on a novel by Susan Minot—one of those books where the author doesn’t deign to put dialogue in quotation marks for fear of dispelling the dreamlike mood. It works on paper, but Minot, who shares credit for the adaptation with fellow novelist Michael Cunningham, doesn’t understand that screenwriting is the art of taking away. People here don’t just talk too much; they say, “There’s something I have to tell you” first. Evening only bestirs itself when Meryl Streep in old-lady makeup pays Redgrave a visit: The way these two great actresses breathe the same air and adjust their rhythms to each other seems almost holy."
David Denby of The New Yorker notes, "Minot’s prose, which is dreamy and taut at the same time, has a distinctive rhythm that probably can’t be transferred to film. In truth, this sort of mood-memory material would have been done better fifty years ago, when it would have starred Lana Turner, Rock Hudson, Sandra Dee, and John Gavin, and been directed by Douglas Sirk. The resulting movie—let’s call it “There’s Always Yesterday”—would have been obvious and floridly emotional, but it would have had greater energy and theatrical flair than “Evening,” which isn’t much fun."