Focus Features | Release Date: November 21, 2003
8.0
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 177 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
151
Mixed:
19
Negative:
7
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9
SpangleJul 29, 2016
"Pues cuando ardió la pérdida, reverdecieron sus maizales", which translates to "For when the loss burned, their cornfields became green again" is the perfect dedication for this beautifully moving look at death and its effects on three"Pues cuando ardió la pérdida, reverdecieron sus maizales", which translates to "For when the loss burned, their cornfields became green again" is the perfect dedication for this beautifully moving look at death and its effects on three previously unconnected people. From the masterful mind of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, this phenomenal film may truly be his magnum opus. A poetic and stirring look at death with truly breathtaking performances from Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Benicio del Toro, this film brought me to tears so many times, I lost count. The non-linear narrative can be a bit of a challenge, but when you see the whole thing, the power of it all truly brings you to your knees. The characters are brilliantly developed and express emotions and pain the way a real person would. Their writing is so strong that their pain becomes your pain as the film invokes a consistent feeling of empathy for all three of the characters, regardless of their transgressions and personal faults. 21 Grams is a stunning work that will leave you in ruins. Expand
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8
TheFilmDoctorMar 22, 2016
Like Mystic River–with which it shares far more than just a stunning, sorrow-wracked performance from Sean Penn–21 Grams uses raw emotional power to explore the aftermath of violence, the way a single wrongful act can ricochet through theLike Mystic River–with which it shares far more than just a stunning, sorrow-wracked performance from Sean Penn–21 Grams uses raw emotional power to explore the aftermath of violence, the way a single wrongful act can ricochet through the lives of everyone it touches. The accomplished second feature by Amores Perros director Alejandro González Iñárritu, 21 Grams focuses on the life-changing consequences of a fatal automobile accident that kills Naomi Watts' husband and children. After an extended period of sobriety, the grief-sodden Watts starts abusing drugs again. She also becomes attracted to Penn, the terminally ill beneficiary of her late husband's heart transplant, and a man entering the bleak final stages of his life and his failing marriage. Benicio Del Toro co-stars as an ex-con father and husband whose garish tattoos are only the most physical manifestation of a hard life filled with violence, drugs, and prison. After decades spent in and out of jail, Del Toro has found religion and turned his life around, but when he fatally wounds Watts' family with a truck advertising his love of Jesus, his hard-won faith is irrevocably damaged. In 21 Grams, Watts, Del Toro, and Penn all occupy a horrific limbo somewhere between life and death. Tragedy has robbed them of their ability to enjoy life, but it's also spared them, at least temporarily, the finality and certainty of death. Working once again with ace cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, Iñárritu sustains a mournful atmosphere throughout 21 Grams, creating a world where the absence of the dead is felt as strongly as the presence of the living. A nearly unparalleled actor's showcase, the film boasts performances of impressive quality and quantity: Penn brings a coiled, Brando-esque intensity to a performance that eerily echoes his turn in Mystic River, but he's equaled by the formidable Del Toro and Watts, who tear into their own meaty, challenging roles. Their complexity matches the film's. At a time when the justice system seems intent on extracting an eye for an eye, 21 Grams suggests that the harshest punishment may be the one enacted by the consciences of the guilty. Expand
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10
MovieGuysSep 10, 2014
21 Grams is the kind of "jigsaw puzzle, one piece at a time" movie that is extremely risky and confident, but might not always pay off. Luckily, 21 Grams' emotional payoff is one of the best I've ever seen. It carefully skips clichés of the21 Grams is the kind of "jigsaw puzzle, one piece at a time" movie that is extremely risky and confident, but might not always pay off. Luckily, 21 Grams' emotional payoff is one of the best I've ever seen. It carefully skips clichés of the genre, and tells its story with explosive acting and expertly crafted screenplay. It has round characters who are worth caring about, and an ending that is completely satisfying. This movie is very underrated, and director Alejandro González Iñárritu deserves much credit and praise for creating a well-meaning and powerful tale of redemption, loss, and sorrow. Expand
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7
nate8Feb 7, 2013
-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-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 Expand
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5
csw12Jan 27, 2013
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.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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9
cameronmorewoodNov 8, 2012
A fantastic nonlinear thriller that keeps surprising us and is driven by a flawless performance from Naomi Watts.
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8
j30Sep 4, 2011
Great editing and acting performances. It's a hard movie to watch because of the subject matter, but don't let that detour you away from the movie.
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10
DrDuranJul 4, 2011
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Alejandro Gonzalez lights up the screen in this horribly beautiful piece. This is one of the most depressingly fantastic bits to cross the barnyard in a chimps age. Benicio is sad and dark, while Naomi is downright cryptic and unmistakenly brooding. This piece of cinema smashes you in the face with bits of confusion with a sick side of morose. Smile while I shove a nail in your eye is what we say.

Kill my family and I will smile all the way to hell, but not really. Mr. Penn delivers another fantastically crafted bit of acting to add to his repertoir. If you can sit in a pile of one's own mire and whistle dixie, then this flick is for you. Turn down the lights and ready your nerves because this comes at you this way and that without a slice of sorrow.
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9
ZiggyStardustJul 3, 2011
Well done acting, well done story and well done directing. The film is definitely worth buying on DVD and devours the watcher in the tale it's telling.
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9
Falcon9gxgcApr 24, 2011
I'll start off by saying that, yes this movie is in fact depressing. Iñárritu creates an asphyxiating atmosphere that literally sucks you in and keeps you at the edge of your seat.
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7
ryancarroll88Aug 29, 2010
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 hasBetween "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. Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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3
caporegimeJun 10, 2009
So trying hard to make things complicated and ending up making this film boring enough to doze of my adrenalin of caffeine.
1 of 1 users found this helpful
10
LeviS.Jan 22, 2009
Easaly one of the best drama movies I've seen to date. The non-lineair structure makes it unique and keeps you focused on the movie, the story is very dark and emotional, but it doesn't exceed the limits of what's good and the Easaly one of the best drama movies I've seen to date. The non-lineair structure makes it unique and keeps you focused on the movie, the story is very dark and emotional, but it doesn't exceed the limits of what's good and the visuals of this movie are just stunning,it looks like Iñárritu carefully selected the lightning, background, clothing of the actors and camera type, to optimise the colors, brightness and contrast, which makes it truly a piece of visual poetry. Expand
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2
PaulW.Mar 6, 2008
Grams is a completely boring and uncompelling story about people who are instantly forgettable because we have seen them all before. Much of the character's actions are either clichéd or too unsympathetic to be gripping. The Grams is a completely boring and uncompelling story about people who are instantly forgettable because we have seen them all before. Much of the character's actions are either clichéd or too unsympathetic to be gripping. The movie plods so much that it actually slows down real time, the story jumps around like a frog on speed and the soundtrack, if you can call it that, didn't take more than 1 guitarist recording some feedback from his guitar while he was taking a nap on it. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
lewisNov 20, 2007
My favorite movie , great picture, awesome acting , it shows the sad reality of life and the struggle for a better one after we fall.
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9
jwAug 11, 2007
(9.5) Naomi Watts did not win the Oscar that year. An uglified Charlize Theron did instead. Forgetting the last two presidential elections, this may be the worst voting result in history. ...Penn and del Toro aren't exactly slouches (9.5) Naomi Watts did not win the Oscar that year. An uglified Charlize Theron did instead. Forgetting the last two presidential elections, this may be the worst voting result in history. ...Penn and del Toro aren't exactly slouches either, are they? Their bookending performances only serve to highlight the travesty. One cannot shine so brightly in their company and not come away with a statue. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
IsaacC.Jul 4, 2007
Arguably the best film of 2004. Benicio Del Toro as usual acts the socks of everyone else around him. Although the story is far too conveniently artistic to ever be considered as anything resembling any kind of reality it grips you and Arguably the best film of 2004. Benicio Del Toro as usual acts the socks of everyone else around him. Although the story is far too conveniently artistic to ever be considered as anything resembling any kind of reality it grips you and shakes violently from start to finish. My one grievance with this film is that although the rewards for those who are patient enough to accept the initially incomprehensible first half hour on good faith are great, on second and third viewing the film becomes slow, the tension is gone and the story becomes trite. As someone who continuously re-watches my favourite films with little or no loss of enjoyment I am left with one question: Is a film worth watching if you can only see it once? Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful
5
oldboychJul 13, 2006
acting was over and the actor are too emotional. and why can the girls in this film seem very stupid? very loyal and sure with a math prof and poor ex-prisoner. In my opinion they better leave the guy in that situation.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
7
AmurabiM.Jun 23, 2006
Sordid, grim, powerful and sad. That´s what "21 Grams" is. A story of grieving, fault, guilt and redemprtion. Guileermo Arriaga´s script feels a little bit overwrought and forced, there are so much misery in this world, that you Sordid, grim, powerful and sad. That´s what "21 Grams" is. A story of grieving, fault, guilt and redemprtion. Guileermo Arriaga´s script feels a little bit overwrought and forced, there are so much misery in this world, that you can feel depressed and miserable. His fragmented narrative tris to be an existential puzzle, full of spirituality but that interpretation loses weight because that fragmentation. Alejandro González Iñárritu is an ambitious director; he can do whatever he wants because he has a personal style. His collaboration with Arriaga is prolific but it feels a little bit pretentious. "21 Grams" is, above all, a great work of actors. They can manage the lacks of the writing, doing a terrific performance. "21 Grams" worth as a work of a team; as cinematographic value, the movie is a regular fall season movie. Expand
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