Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 0 out of 19
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 7, 2010
    90
    To say that the film is uncomfortable to watch is an understatement. It's searing. Yet it's also invaluable.
  2. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Dec 7, 2010
    89
    Amid the increasingly horrific images of daily ghetto life are moments of utterly unexpected, haunting beauty, including a reel of color film that does more to humanize an inhuman situation than anything I've ever seen.
  3. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Oct 21, 2010
    83
    If it can seem like there's no end of films about the Holocaust, it might be because there is no bottom to the well of crime, inhumanity and evil described by that ghastly event.
  4. Hersonski enriches this evidence by bringing in survivors of the ghetto, who tell stories of life there while watching the film themselves.
  5. 90
    The imperatives of history are manifold, and this film is among the most urgent of them. You cannot look, and you must look: This happened. They were human beings. All of them.
  6. A profoundly unnerving historical document.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    100
    It's the only film that exists of the Ghetto, and it's both revelatory and profoundly suspect.
  8. 88
    Extremely unsettling and thought- provoking.
  9. Reviewed by: Leba Hertz
    75
    A history lesson about the Holocaust well worth teaching.
  10. A kind of historical detective story made up of haunting montages, including a theater performance featuring a heartbroken musician that's absolutely chilling.
  11. It will test your faith in humanity, but Hersonski's film is nonetheless a brilliant reminder of the importance of bearing witness.
  12. Just when we thought there were no new twists to the story of the Warsaw Ghetto comes this documentary: focused, sorrowful and revelatory.
  13. Hersonski quietly and insistently unravels reality from "reality"; her commitment to archival authenticity is its own tribute to those no longer able to testify.
  14. 90
    The first Holocaust movie that's actually about another Holocaust movie, and in some peculiar way it brings us closer to the terror and tragedy of the original event.
  15. It becomes a meditation on the dual nature of film, on a "reality" at once true and false, essential and tainted.
  16. 90
    The artificial look of the added footage, counterpointed by the commentary of inmates and survivors, only underscores the unending shock of the film's unadulterated images, even though we have seen them in other Shoah documentaries.
  17. Remarkable as much for its speculative restraint as for its philosophical reach.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    It stands as a unique film-within-a-film, of significance for the historical value of the raw images, the memories they spur and internal evidence of how the Nazis staged scenes long assumed to be real.
  19. 75
    A Film Unfinished is affecting as a rare document of a terrible place and time, and those who lived there.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 2 out of 4
  1. Jul 3, 2011
    8
    What is advertised as a shocking tail of a propaganda film is more or less a telling of the day to day life at the Warsaw Ghetto. I just wishWhat is advertised as a shocking tail of a propaganda film is more or less a telling of the day to day life at the Warsaw Ghetto. I just wish the filmmakers understood how golden the stories and relationships of the survivors to the ghetto were. At times it feels as though the documentary is trying to be more of a conspiracy piece, placing twists and turns that are way to knowledgeable to the viewer to gain the gasps that they are working for. Full Review »
  2. Dec 12, 2010
    10
    Poetic as it is probing, illuminating as it is moving, this astonishing Holocaust documentary uses newly found archive footage to show thePoetic as it is probing, illuminating as it is moving, this astonishing Holocaust documentary uses newly found archive footage to show the day-to-day horror, strife, and heroism among the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. And because the footage was intended as the centerpiece of a never-completed Nazi propaganda 'documentary,' it also shows with damning clarity the filmmakers' original evil intention to contrast the decadent lives of luxury supposedly lived by a handful of affluent Jews (all in ludicrously staged fictional footage) with the desperate and impoverished lives of their fellow citizens. Adding to the film's overwhelming power are the faces and words of survivors as they watch this document of a long-ago but never forgotten part of their lives; long-lost family, friends, and neighbors captured forever on film. Truly extraordinary. Full Review »
  3. Sep 24, 2010
    0
    Um... I did not get a good vibe out of James Steal.

    How can anyone with any kind of intelligence disbelieve the voluminous evidence
    Um... I did not get a good vibe out of James Steal.

    How can anyone with any kind of intelligence disbelieve the voluminous evidence regarding the biggest nightmare in human history? Some people's stupidity is awe-inspiring.
    Full Review »