Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 165 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 41
  2. Negative: 5 out of 41
  1. At the very least, look for it on 10-best lists next month, and there's every chance it will be a strong contender at the Oscars. Filmmaking so sensitive and intelligent deserves its weight in honors.
  2. Reviewed by: Rob Fraser
    21 Grams strives for greatness, and that's precisely what it achieves.
  3. Mr. Penn has been praised lavishly for his work in "Mystic River," in a role that was no reach for him at all, but this is one of the stand-out performances of his career, layered and exquisitely nuanced. And, remarkably, he's only one-third of a stellar ensemble.
  4. A devastating and weighty picture.
  5. 70
    Uprooted from their home soil, González Iñárritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga can't quite manage to make this gloomy, improbable stew of romance, film noir and pseudo-metaphysical speculation hang together.
  6. 63
    The fragmented style is distracting and ultimately annoying, robbing the story of its suspense and drive while contributing nothing except self-conscious style.
  7. 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]

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 59
  2. Negative: 9 out of 59
  1. Jul 4, 2011
    This review contains spoilers. 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.
  2. Jul 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. Expand
  3. Nov 8, 2012
    A fantastic nonlinear thriller that keeps surprising us and is driven by a flawless performance from Naomi Watts.
  4. j30
    Sep 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.
  5. Aug 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 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
  6. Feb 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 as characters Expand
  7. Jan 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. Expand

See all 59 User Reviews