Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Aug 19, 2013
    9
    One of the best movies I've seen in the last couple of years. Beautifully shot, and tremendous acting performances by the four leads (Mara, Affleck, Carradine, and Foster). It's great to finally see Ben Foster in this kind of sympathetic, virtuous role after so many years of playing the unbalanced, dangerous outsider. I also have to mention the score, which was perfect in tying the movie together, especially as the tension rises toward the climax. Lastly, Nate Parker does an amazing job in a supporting role we need to see more of him on the big screen. Expand
  2. Sep 11, 2013
    8
    Beautifully photographed and superbly acted. Casey Affleck proves once again that he is the better actor than brother Ben in a performance that is second only to his 'coward Robert Ford'. For the first time I have taken note of Rooney Mara and I honestly don't think Keith Carradine and Ben Foster have ever been better. The star of this film ,however, is the lyrical writing which the actors bring to life exquisitely. The combination of the two makes many scenes totally hypnotic. There is also a pervading sense of tragedy throughout which is underlined by the perfect and appropriately mournful score. The abrupt ending slightly disappoints but this is actually due more to my expectation than to do with the story not concluding. It could have gone on but that is another story and in effect would make this a different film. Expand
  3. 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 of occurrences. Rooney Mara along with Casey Affleck are tremendous. Expand
  4. Aug 23, 2013
    6
    David Lowery is the equivalent of a Terrence Malick cover band. He has all the rhythms and notes, but none of the heart and soul. He’s selling nostalgia at the expense of originality. And for some, that might be just enough. But for me, sitting through his aesthetically beguiling faux-Western, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” merely left me craving an umpteenth look at “Badlands” and “Days of Heaven,” Malick films Lowery obviously suckled as intently as his mama’s breast. He does a superb job at paraphrasing both, from the hazy, dreamlike visuals to the long pauses and dialogue so muted that you often feel like you’re eavesdropping on a conversation in the next room. The characters are pure Malick, too: Young lovers, doomed by restlessness and ennui, running from the law as intently as they’re trying to flee from their consciences. And, just like “Heaven,” a love triangle with an ethereal woman conflicted by her romantic feelings for a good man and his evil-boy rival. Just replace Brooke Adams with Rooney Mara, Sam Shepard with Ben Foster and Richard Gere with Casey Affleck. Or, if you prefer the “Badlands” motif, swap out Mara for Sissy Spacek and Affleck for Martin Sheen. Either way, you come up short. It’s not that their performances are bad; it’s that these consistently fine actors are curiously miscast, beginning with Affleck, who’s too soft-spoken and non-threatening to be taken seriously as a hardened criminal. That’s more Foster’s purview, as he proved so indelibly on “Six Feet Under” and in “310 to Yuma.” As a heroic, big-hearted deputy, he’s just not cutting it. As for Mara, I feared that she might fall asleep at any minute. She certainly doesn’t communicate what it is that drives Affleck’s Bob and Foster’s Will to chase after her Ruth so intently.
    It’s not that their performances are bad; it’s that these consistently fine actors are curiously miscast, beginning with Affleck, who’s too soft-spoken and non-threatening to be taken seriously as a hardened criminal. That’s more Foster’s purview, as he proved so indelibly on “Six Feet Under” and in “310 to Yuma.” As a heroic, big-hearted deputy, he’s just not cutting it. As for Mara, I feared that she might fall asleep at any minute. She certainly doesn’t communicate what it is that drives Affleck’s Bob and Foster’s Will to chase after her Ruth so intently. As for the plot, there really isn’t one beyond Bob breaking out of prison (off camera, no doubt due to the expense of shooting such a scene) and taking it on the lam in search of his beloved Ruth and their soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter, Sylvie, whom he has never met. Standing in his way, are three squinty-eyed bounty hunters, Ruth’s father-figure neighbor (Keith Carradine doing his best work in years) and a host of sheriff’s deputies, including Will, who persistently attempts to insinuate himself into the lives of Ruth and her daughter. Beyond that, nothing much happens. But given Lowery’s passion for Malick-esque visuals, it’s hardly a shock that his script is so bare-boned and derivative.
    Collapse
  5. 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 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. Expand
  6. 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 emotionally invested in any of the characters. C Expand

Trailers