Alexandra

Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 0 out of 13

Critic Reviews

  1. A film of startling originality and beauty -- feels like a communiqué from another time, another place, anywhere but here.
  2. In the hands of visionary filmmaker Alexander Sokurov, this simple material makes for a haunting drama about war, generational relationships and the human condition.
  3. It's unlike any other war film, in any language.
  4. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    90
    Though he's sure to deny it, Alexandra is Alexander Sokurov's most directly political work for years. Featuring a performance of monumental depth by opera legend Galina Vishnevskaya, pic presents war for what it is: brutal, crushing, and ugly, and yet Sokurov doesn't lens any battles.
  5. 88
    Never the most optimistic of poets, Sokurov does suggest the possibility of dialogue on the individual level, and the hope that by asking difficult questions of one another, these mortal enemies can find answers and reach an understanding everyone can live with.
  6. 88
    Alexandra is a pleasure to watch, but it's also one of those lovely, unclassifiable movies that flourishes better with repeated or prolonged exposures.
  7. 88
    The point is that for the soldiers, it's a dead zone, life on hold, a cheerless existence. And this plain-spoken old woman reminds them of a lifetime they are missing.
  8. 80
    Spare yet tactile, a mysterious mixture of lightness and gravity, Alexander Sokurov's Alexandra is founded on contradiction. Musing on war in general and the Russian occupation of Chechnya in particular, this is a movie in which combat is never shown.
  9. The luminous humanity that characterizes the films of Alexander Sokurov is in full force in Alexandra. On the surface, it is a work of the utmost simplicity but is charged with the eternal complexities and contradictions of both love and war.
  10. 80
    On its deepest level it considers not a particular war but the complex feelings between mothers and the young men they send out into the world to kill or be killed.
  11. Alexandra never depicts the soldiers in combat, but Sokurov nonetheless shows how war can break down the social structure, break down family, break the human soul.
  12. The frequent, mundane talks -- which Alexandra engages in with her grandson, Malika and the base camp's enlisted men -- are not so much about politics as they are about people.
  13. 67
    The contrast of a warm maternal figure and a remote army outpost is undeniably affecting. But when Vishnevskaya opens her mouth, she spoils the mood.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 11
  2. Negative: 3 out of 11
  1. AlanK
    Aug 29, 2009
    9
    Slow, captivating and sometimes puzzling. Well worth seeing. Question: How did this movie get past Russian censors? It is anti-war in general Slow, captivating and sometimes puzzling. Well worth seeing. Question: How did this movie get past Russian censors? It is anti-war in general but specifically against the war in Chechnya. Full Review »
  2. Andrew
    May 16, 2009
    4
    War is wasteful, somewhat futile and extremely destructive. Occasionally necessary. The Russian Army is financially and philosophically War is wasteful, somewhat futile and extremely destructive. Occasionally necessary. The Russian Army is financially and philosophically bankrupt. Does anyone not know any of this? If so, watch this film and learn. If not, don't. Yeah, yeah, I know... it's a metaphor for the torpor of Russian history and its tortured soul. The lead, cellist Mistislav Rostropovish's wife, is wonderful. And I'm an ardent fan of slowly-paced, earthy portrayals of this sort. Stil, I couldn't stand to watch more than 60 minutes of this 90-minute film. Have seen it all before, umpteen times, though perhaps not staged as if it occurs in Chechnya. Full Review »
  3. DickC.
    May 2, 2009
    10
    Erotic and delicious I had a huge erection throughout.