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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 161 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, 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.
  2. Apr 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. Expand
  3. Nov 8, 2012
    A fantastic nonlinear thriller that keeps surprising us and is driven by a flawless performance from Naomi Watts.
  4. 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 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
  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. 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
  7. 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 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

See all 59 User Reviews