Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    70
    In his first studio venture, Michael Winterbottom coaxes forth a staggering wealth of detail from this terse, methodical account of Pearl's kidnapping and murder in Pakistan.
  2. 50
    Angelina Jolie is the major alienation effect in A Mighty Heart, although she's not the only one. The hectic pizzazz with which hired gun Michael Winterbottom directs this tale of terrifying terrorism is another distraction.
  3. The title comes from the memoir by Mariane Pearl, wife of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. It applies equally to Winterbottom, who has made the rarest movie among this summer's releases: a taut police procedural that examines all sides of an issue and forces us to re-think our own.
  4. 88
    The film belongs to Jolie. She won an Oscar for 1999's "Girl, Interrupted," but this is by far her best performance.
  5. 88
    What is best about A Mighty Heart is that it doesn't reduce the Daniel Pearl story to a plot, but elevates it to a tragedy. A tragedy that illuminates and grieves for the hatred that runs loose in our world, hatred as a mad dog that attacks everyone. Attacks them for what seems, to the dog, the best of reasons.
  6. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    Though absurdly criticized for being too "white" to play Mariane Pearl, Jolie gives an excellent performance. She portrays Mariane as gutsy, smart, passionate and highly efficient.
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    Emotionally and viscerally compelling and retains a suspenseful, edge-of-the-seat quality.
  8. The film takes its cue from the widow, neither sermonizing or even villainizing, content to serve quietly as an admirable exercise in restraint and a moving example of the grace under pressure that is the essence of courage.
  9. A worthy film on a great, tragic subject.
  10. The story feels as urgent as the latest bad news out of the Middle East.
  11. 75
    Remarkably apolitical, considering that it comes from the director of the Bush-bashing "The Road to Guantanamo."
  12. 75
    The film is fascinating and at times disturbing, but Winterbottom's arms-length style mutes any emotional impact.
  13. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    75
    What does not work, in a movie where almost everything, including dramatic rhetoric, has been kept on a modest scale up to this point, is the heavy-handed way Winterbottom (and Jolie) contrast the pain of loss with the pain of begetting toward the end.
  14. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    I almost wish A Mighty Heart were about the Captain, and I'd bet director Michael Winterbottom does, too. The character contains all the contradictory impulses of this region of the world that the West tries and miserably fails to boil down to black and white.
  15. 60
    The movie is engrossing and well-acted throughout (especially Khan), but ultimately leaves us less optimistic about the prospects for peace.
  16. The elliptical narrative also recalls Fernando Meirelles' somewhat similarly themed "The Constant Gardener," a film ultimately more heartfelt and accessible to mainstream audiences because its maker is unafraid of grief and explores it more deeply.
  17. 83
    The most striking thing about it is what it's not...a richly atmospheric film that races surefootedly through complexities of data and emotion like a spy movie and not at all like a sentimental sob story.
  18. Despite the best of intentions, an actress who makes her own headlines gets in the way of the big picture.
  19. 58
    A Mighty Heart has the surface tension of a first-rate docudrama but neither the passion nor the vision to encompass its powerhouse subject.
  20. Moving and frighteningly real.
  21. 80
    That sense of one small, private world shattering within the larger and even more unstable one around it is the essence of Michael Winterbottom's unmooring, bleakly beautiful film version of A Mighty Heart.
  22. 80
    Michael Winterbottom has made an enormously moving document of the tense days between Pearl's capture and the news that he was dead.
  23. Effectively fashioned, as jolting as it is polished, as well as a surprising, insistently political work of commercial art.
  24. The film's point of view is inevitably that of an outsider, which Danny Pearl was, and menace is the essence of this shattering story, which has been told with skill and urgent conviction. A Mighty Heart makes the terms of the terrorist threat palpable.
  25. The movie is clipped, blunt, and grimly realistic. It is practically a POLICIER , although the suspense is mitigated by our knowledge that the investigation will end badly.
  26. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    Like many of Winterbottom's movies, it falls a step short of its full potential. Its tact is both its strength and its weakness. The climax feels rushed: it's the rare movie these days that feels too short.
  27. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    70
    This is one of those roles where casting can't help but trump acting. Like Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, Angelina Jolie IS Mariane Pearl--and that marquee-size "is" gets in the way, not of her performance, but of our ability to suspend disbelief and watch it.
  28. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    This movie does not fully separate itself from our admittedly low -- even slightly shameful -- expectations, does not become the pure documentary it might perhaps better have been.
  29. 70
    The result, like many of Winterbottom's films, lies an inch short of disarray; we CAN keep pace with the investigation, but only just, and that sense of splintering honors the unpredictability of the setting.
  30. 70
    Functions primarily as a suspense film, and it manages to be gripping even though the outcome is already known.
  31. 75
    Jolie simply exercises Mariane's persistent will, and honors her in the process.
  32. Expertly fashioned documentary-style drama.
  33. 63
    The overriding tone of A Mighty Heart is neither indignant nor sentimental: The film is consistently cool, almost to a fault.
  34. For the most part, Michael Winterbottom's well-intended film, the true story of an idealistic journalist and his gallant wife disinvites emotion by focusing on process at the expense of passion.
  35. 70
    A taut, meticulously crafted police procedural.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. DanielN.
    Oct 23, 2007
    10
    One of a kind. One of the most important films this year and every American should see it. Jolie at her very best. Give her the Oscar now.
  2. DarleneG.
    Aug 2, 2007
    10
    Angelina Jolie - amazing woman, amazing actress, amazing heart. Great performance worthy of an Oscar.
  3. JaredC
    Jul 20, 2007
    0
    Blow me. They try to make this movie to be an emotional sad film, but had no taste at all. Angelina Jolie was all right but the plot was completely out of the ordinary pointless. Full Review »