Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 41
  2. Negative: 5 out of 41
  1. 30
    Where "Amores Perros" was a feast of energy, wit and imagination, 21 Grams is like a starvation diet -- a movie that wallows so profoundly in its own misery that watching it is like atoning for some sin you didn't commit.
  2. It’s forceful, to be sure, but in a lurid way that suggests a telenovela that’s been baking in the sun too long.
  3. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    30
    As usual with Penn, I don't completely buy the character, but I completely buy that he has brilliantly internalized SOMETHING. He goes to some weird psychological places, our Sean.
  4. 30
    The kind of bad movie that makes a reviewer feel terrible. It has been put together with great sincerity, and yet, impassioned and affecting as some of it is, 21 Grams is also an arrogant failure. [24 November 2003, p. 113]
  5. It's so laden with foreboding, you want to get out from under it and gasp for air.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 165 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 59
  2. Negative: 9 out of 59
  1. Aug 29, 2010
    7
    Between "Amores Perros," "Babel" and this movie, Gonzalez Inarritu has produced some of the heaviest dramas of the past 10 years. Perhaps it is because they all deal with such shattered characters - in this case we are given a man who has just undergone heart replacement surgery which temporarily alleviates the strain ...between him and his separated wife, a born-again man who suddenly finds himself responsible for running over and killing a husband and two girls and the woman who has lost her whole family in that car accident. Each of these characters are faced with the idea of moving on with their lives; as we watch them adjust, we see that the difficulty isn't overcoming the past - it's the realization that they don't even understand what their lives are anymore. The serious performances from the three leads (Sean Penn, Benicio del Toro and Naomi Watts) are really what give the film its depth, and even make up for Inarritu's completely unnecessary nonlinear style, which seems to serve no purpose other than to make the viewer pay more attention. Full Review »
  2. Jan 27, 2013
    5
    21 Grams could have been an excellent movie. Every character did their part. The problem is the director didn't put the scenes in order, making it hard to be fully engaged in the story. Full Review »
  3. Feb 7, 2013
    7
    -fractured, intense, painful structure and stories reflect the presence of death -colorful characters with complex backgrounds and strong acting combine with the intensity of the structure -audience left with same discomfort and need for rest as characters Full Review »