Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. 100
    One of the year's best films for a lot of reasons, including its ability to involve the audience almost breathlessly in a story of mounting tragedy.
  2. Lean, elegant, and emotionally complex -- a marvel of backwoods classicism.
  3. 100
    In one of the sweetest ironies of the entire film year, Sam Raimi has made an A-movie with the soul of a B-movie classic.
  4. 100
    But [Raimi]'s instructed his fabulous Style to take a hike, and, working from Scott Smith's brilliantly reconfigured script from Smith's own (much darker) novel, delivers a piece that is severe and disciplined in its evocation of the cold terrors of fate.
  5. With elegant, clockwork construction, Smith has transplanted his novel of greed, betrayal and getting what you deserve to the screen, where it is told by director Sam Raimi with a spareness befitting the whiteness of its snowed-in setting.
  6. 90
    Holds us in a state of horrified empathy.
  7. 90
    As straightforward in narrative as it is gut-wrenching in effect, A Simple Plan is a sort of slow-motion skid down an icy blacktop— it's a movie you watch with a mounting sense of dread...[It's] an extremely credible thriller and an affecting brother-story.
  8. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    An unleashed Raimi may be a more exciting moviemaker, but there's something to be said for the virtues of a good story well told, which describes A Simple Plan down to its last shivery snowflake.
  9. When you get the shivers watching this wintry tale unfold, it won't be from the cold.
  10. 90
    Money Can't Buy You Happiness. It hasn't been this vividly re-examined in decades, and we're the richer for it.
  11. 88
    Generates genuine tension because it's propelled by actual human feeling, which, these days, turns out to be a surprisingly thrilling prospect. [11 Dec 1998]
  12. It's a Master "Plan."
  13. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The plan in A Simple Plan grows exponentially complex once the first dollar is purloined, an act that makes this unpretentious parable one of the season's better 'what's-going-to-happen-next?' movies.
  14. 88
    The characters are at the heart of A Simple Plan, and the gruesome complexity of their interaction elevates this film to the level of a midwinter treat.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 36 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Dec 17, 2012
    All the performances are very good but I thought Billy Bob Thornton was truly excellent in this. He really nailed his performance of this slightly dim-witted man who is, at heart, quite lonely. Also worthy of note were Bill Paxton and Bridget Fonda. Aside from the performances I did find this one didn Full Review »
  2. Feb 26, 2011
    This absolutely fantastic film is one of my all time favorites, with the added benefit of being watchable a seemingly endless number of times. From the opening words of wisdom from the main character,and the subsequent disintegration of the fabric of normal life for everyone involved, it plays out, in a quiet, understated fashion, a sordid tale that bombards your senses with its seriousness, believability and stunning awfulness. Full Review »
  3. PatrickDunne
    Aug 23, 2005
    This is vertainly not a "feel good" film, but it certainlly is Raimi's best. His goal for Spiderman 2 was drama, but he already achieved it here. Full Review »