Agora

Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 21
  2. Negative: 2 out of 21

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Critic Reviews

  1. 75
    This is a movie about ideas, a drama based on the ancient war between science and superstition. At its center is a woman who in the fourth century A.D. was a scientist, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer and teacher, respected in Egypt, although women were not expected to be any of those things.
  2. 75
    Agora, Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar's absorbing historical drama, proves that, in an era of movies made for iPhones with artistic ambitions to match, there are still filmmakers willing to swing for the fences.
  3. It is a pleasure to see Weisz's scenes of scientific inquiry, which capture the passion of research and discovery without artifice or pretension. That the scientist is a woman makes it all the more engaging.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    The mother of all secular humanists fights a losing battle against freshly minted religious zealots in Agora, a visually imposing, high-minded epic that ambitiously puts one of the pivotal moments in Western history onscreen for the first time.
  5. Weisz is an excellent Hypatia. For all her intelligence, there's something childish, off-kilter, vaguely otherworldly in her aura. She's just the type to be gazing into the heavens while around her all hell breaks loose.
  6. 70
    A bit of a puzzle. This is a good thing, since most movies plop down in easily recognizable categories and stay there, troubling neither their own intellectual inertia nor that of the audience.
  7. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    70
    Like "Spartacus," this movie is engaging because it's actually about something: the love of learning, the clash between science and religious faith, and the grim fact that political change often proceeds on the foundation of mob violence and genocide. Agora engages more effectively with this kind of big historical idea than it does with human drama.
  8. 70
    The film's bleak conclusion becomes unbearable in context: Hypatia's death also signals the end of women in positions of intellectual prominence and the beginning of a period known -- not coincidentally -- as the Dark Ages.
  9. It's a vivid way to contextualize Hypatia's astronomical musings, but it's kind of out there, too.
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    At the very least, Agora finally gives Rachel Weisz a role that almost exactly matches her intense, humorless, but undeniable star charisma.
  11. Best enjoyed as a rousing period piece.
  12. Reviewed by: Phil de Semlyen
    60
    Always intelligent and thought-provoking, it's a welcome return from AmenĂ¡bar.
  13. The subject is absorbing, but the lack of differentiation in dramatic levels makes the film feel longer than its 126 minutes.
  14. The result is an interesting but often frustrating effort by the director of "The Sea Inside," who proves that ambition and talent aren't enough to ensure a compelling drama.
  15. 50
    What's missing is a satisfying, plausible middle ground where heady ideas and metaphors coalesce into compelling drama.
  16. Agora has everything except real drama.
  17. 50
    The story's historical setting is fascinating, but the movie is populated by thin, uninvolving characters.
  18. 42
    Weisz makes for a vivid, charismatic Hypatia, but the script lets her down.
  19. Merely a paint-by-numbers condemnation of social intolerance. It's a slog of a sermon.
  20. 30
    The drama is torpid, the astronomy lessons pedantic, and the spear-and-sandal production values flat-out cheesy. The whole thing is also historically ludicrous.
  21. 25
    There are a few exciting battle sequences and the sets are lavish, but mostly the film meanders aimlessly for more than two hours. No wonder new sword-and-sandal movies are in short supply.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 57 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Sep 23, 2015
    3
    This movie, while visually quite good and having a strong message, is essentially a parable for adolescents. It lacks complexity and isThis movie, while visually quite good and having a strong message, is essentially a parable for adolescents. It lacks complexity and is reminiscent of other movies like "V for Vendetta" and "American History X". If you are a serious cinephile this movie will disappoint. Full Review »
  2. Aug 14, 2012
    8
    Agora is an utterly compulsive piece of historic drama. The set and effects are unbelievably fantastic, the acting is spot on and the plot isAgora is an utterly compulsive piece of historic drama. The set and effects are unbelievably fantastic, the acting is spot on and the plot is guaranteed to delight those with a passion for history or science. This is a great film that will make you want to throw up your arms and immediately turn to nihilism. Full Review »
  3. Jul 19, 2012
    9
    I loved every minute of this wonderful movie! The fall of the Roman empire in the hands of the Christians fundamentalists was depicted with aI loved every minute of this wonderful movie! The fall of the Roman empire in the hands of the Christians fundamentalists was depicted with a terrific simplicity, yet with great efficiency. Alexandria, the heart of all knowledge in Antiquity, scorched like a wounded giant... One thing is true about this two hours long story, Rachel Weisz reached a high level of talent in the wondrous incarnation of Hypatia. Full Review »