Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Aug 15, 2013
    100
    Visually ravishing, tonally commanding and built around magnetic performances by Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck as Bonnie-and-Clyde doomed lovers, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is a tragic but not despairing tale of fatal romance set in the Texas hill country in the mid-1970s. It marks the arrival of an immense talent who will be new to most moviegoers – although Lowery is a well-known figure in the indie-film world – and it’s surely one of the best American films of the year.
  2. Reviewed by: Sebastian Doggart
    Mar 6, 2013
    100
    The film is so singular, it's hard to place. At times, its elegiac visual quality evokes Terrence Malick, but Lowery's scripting is tighter and more accessible. His is truly a fresh voice, exhilarating to hear.
  3. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Mar 6, 2013
    91
    Lowery is the real deal and understands filmmaking, and this is abundantly clear in this searing, romantic crime drama and love story.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Aug 15, 2013
    90
    It's a tone poem, really, less concerned with conventional action than with exploring themes of love and commitment through understated performances, sumptuous images (Bradford Young did the cinematography), lovely music (Daniel Hart composed the score) and very few words, intoned elegiacally.
  5. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Aug 15, 2013
    90
    While virtually every shot looks like a work of art, much of the beauty of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints comes from Lowery’s refusal to choose sides.
  6. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    Aug 13, 2013
    90
    Lowery isn't a Malick and he's certainly no Kazan, but he's his own man, and a filmmaker to watch.
  7. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Aug 21, 2013
    89
    The balance between the slight, near-mythic narrative and the eye-wateringly beautiful cinematography (courtesy of Bradford Young), as well as the aching, spare score by Daniel Hart, create a movie that’s a more lovingly crafted tone poem than anything you’re likely to see on Texas screens this summer.
  8. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    Aug 16, 2013
    88
    Ain't Them Bodies Saints is a film that will reward you for seeking it out.
  9. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Sep 4, 2013
    80
    ‘Bodies’ gets under your skin and stays there. And the gospel handclapping soundtrack feels like it’s drawing you into a dream.
  10. Reviewed by: Kevin Harley
    Sep 2, 2013
    80
    Lowery’s understated authority lifts his tragic romance above mere Malick mimicry, while Affleck and Mara bring heart to the scrupulous artistry. All you need is a little patience...
  11. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 22, 2013
    80
    Although at times maybe not enough happens, it’s still a satisfying homage to a golden age of American film and an original achievement in its own right.
  12. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    Aug 16, 2013
    80
    Such an of-a-piece series of visual monuments in one year means that Ain't Them Bodies Saints has a pretty strong chance of striking some viewers as cliched or affected. Its golden-hour cinematography and persistent awe-and-wonder score sit precariously between stirring and obtrusive, inspiring and derivative.
  13. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Aug 15, 2013
    80
    Mara is the captivating center of the film, all the emotions of the men and the child hinge on her moods. She continues to be one of those actresses able to shape-shift into different places, times and characters.
  14. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Aug 13, 2013
    80
    It’s an unfailingly beautiful movie that finally stakes out a territory of its own, with quietly intense performances and a sure hand on the tiller (although the trio of bounty hunters who set out after Affleck feel like invaders from another movie, one more defined by genre than mood).
  15. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Aug 10, 2013
    80
    The point of this film is the spell it weaves and, by and large, it is successful. It’s the music, it’s the cinematography, it’s the score, it’s Casey Affleck’s hollow speaking voice — they all add up to something that resembles a fever dream facsimile of an eventful movie.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Apr 6, 2013
    80
    Slow as molasses but every bit as rich.
  17. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 29, 2013
    75
    With his actors and crew hewing to the script, the director’s craft is impeccable. His low-light images are suitable for framing, and there’s scarcely a moment of modernity, let alone humor or loose ends, to disrupt the tragic trajectory.
  18. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 29, 2013
    75
    Since he popped up and broke hearts in Altman's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," Carradine has learned a wealth of practical acting knowledge about how much and how little need be done at any given moment. He provides the on-screen link to those earlier days and brings the natural authority a director craves in a performer.
  19. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 29, 2013
    75
    Lowery has a lyrical style of storytelling that is delicate and subtle yet suffused with emotion and atmosphere. It’s gentle and pointed at the same time. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints wafts over you like a dream, leaving behind a lovely, melancholy trace that hurts.
  20. Reviewed by: Mary Houlihan
    Aug 22, 2013
    75
    Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is a tone poem that doesn’t quite live up to its luster. It is so shrewdly perfect and solemn that the strong emotions layered throughout Bob and Ruth and Patrick’s intertwined story become lost in the film’s one-note mood.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 15, 2013
    75
    Ain't Them Bodies Saints offers no glib answers or smooth resolution, but there's no question that Lowery is a filmmaker with a striking future.
  22. Reviewed by: Matthew Kassel
    Aug 13, 2013
    75
    David Lowery’s quietly beautiful new film, his most ambitious to date, is at first glance a standard love story, set in the American West of what appears to be the early 1970s. Over time, however, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints transcends its plot, revealing itself as a cinematic meditation on the daunting power of loneliness.
  23. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Aug 19, 2013
    70
    As Ain’t Them Bodies Saints moves along, its elliptical approach to drama goes from keeping us on our toes to dulling everything down.
  24. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Mar 6, 2013
    70
    For all its derivative poetics -- as many exteriors as possible were shot during or just after magic hour, a la Malick -- the film is a lovely thing to experience and possesses a measure of real power.
  25. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Aug 29, 2013
    67
    It’s disappointing that, with such talent and seriousness of intent, the movie ultimately doesn't have much new to say. To paraphrase “The Simpsons”’ Milhouse, it started out like "Bonnie and Clyde," but instead it ended in tragedy.
  26. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 16, 2013
    67
    Thematically at least, it’s like a John Ford movie with pickup trucks. But everything plays out with a sodden deliberateness, as if something mythic were going on. No such luck.
  27. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Aug 23, 2013
    63
    It’s a secondhand vision, when all is said and done, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing when the craft is rapturous.
  28. Reviewed by: Nick McCarthy
    Aug 12, 2013
    63
    The film's highly calculated beauty suffocates rather than elevates the story's emotional underpinnings.
  29. 63
    Ain’t Them Bodies Saints feels like a fresh and poetic treatment of a prosaic story that should be utterly worn out by now.
  30. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Sep 20, 2013
    60
    It's that sort of singular imagery that ultimately rescues Lowery's film. Yes, it's a flawed movie, but it also is a downright lovely one.
  31. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Aug 15, 2013
    60
    Strong emotions — desperation, dread, desire — are indicated but not really communicated, and everything happens in a hazy atmosphere of humorless homage and exquisite good taste.
  32. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 15, 2013
    60
    The shadow of Terrence Malick falls hard across this Texas crime drama, a beautiful-looking prose poem that starts strong but winds up with nowhere to go.
  33. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Aug 14, 2013
    58
    Lowery, it can’t be denied, has Malick’s moves down pat. It’s the Malick touch that eludes him.
  34. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Aug 22, 2013
    50
    The chief asset of Ain't Them Bodies Saints is Rooney Mara, who gets more interesting with every movie.
  35. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Aug 15, 2013
    50
    In mashing together story elements from Terrence Malick’s “Badlands” with the look of Malick’s “Days of Heaven,” Lowery put 90 percent of his energy into the atmosphere and 10 percent into the script.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Sep 2, 2014
    7
    David Lowery is a fairly unknown writer and director in today's industry. With Ain't Them Bodies Saints, he paints a visually moving series ofDavid Lowery is a fairly unknown writer and director in today's industry. With Ain't Them Bodies Saints, he paints a visually moving series of occurrences. Rooney Mara along with Casey Affleck are tremendous. Full Review »
  2. Dec 21, 2013
    5
    The film is well made and well acted, but it's just to slow to recommend. The pace of this film makes it real hard to get emotionallyThe film is well made and well acted, but it's just to slow to recommend. The pace of this film makes it real hard to get emotionally invested in any of the characters. C Full Review »
  3. Sep 15, 2013
    5
    The story starts with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in deep love and expecting a child. Almost immediately, he ends up in jail, then escapesThe story starts with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in deep love and expecting a child. Almost immediately, he ends up in jail, then escapes several years later to return to his family. During it all, a cop (Ben Foster) pursues them both in different ways. To make such a simple narrative work takes good writing, performances and direction. Unfortunately, none of those are especially commendable here. To make matters worse, the pacing is too slow and the cinematography is moody, but flat. While this simple tragedy had potential to be involving, nothing about the production helped. Full Review »