Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 32
  2. Negative: 4 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Ryan Devlin
    You can't help but see this movie being crafted out of shards of movies past, seemingly in a cut and paste method. In the hands of a less skillful director, the film could very easily flop, but it doesn't.
  2. 75
    An Unfinished Life isn't original, but, for those who enjoy this sort of drama, it's an opportunity to remember how, in the right circumstances, on-screen characters can touch our hearts.
  3. 75
    Sometimes you are either open to a movie, or closed. If you're convinced that An Unfinished Life is damaged goods, how can it begin its work on you?
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Poignant and well-acted, it offers heartfelt moments leavened by subtle humor.
  5. Your basic Lasse Hallstrom formula-film, featuring people in dire situations who are redeemed when their basic goodness comes to the fore, elevated a notch by a pair of actors displaying sides we don't often see.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    If the plot seems overly familiar, Lasse Hallstrom at least directs the action with conviction and style, and his drama is greatly abetted by the scenic big sky locales.
  7. Redford also deserves a lot of credit. It's not the kind of showcase that's going to earn him an Oscar, but, without too many compromises, he manages to find the soul of a difficult character and makes his emotional odyssey both believable and satisfying.
  8. 67
    Creaks and groans with pat emotionalism and rickety storytelling.
  9. 67
    Thoroughly predictable from start to finish.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nothing unexpected happens in An Unfinished Life--the title comes from the engraving on the dead son's headstone--but Canada sure looks lovely, and the acting's pretty solid.
  11. Everything about An Unfinished Life's screenplay is cliched and predictable, but the actors manage to elevate the proceedings above and beyond shameless soap.
  12. It's no great thing, but in their (Weinstein brothers') heyday as Oscar campaigners, they could have made Redford a contender.
  13. The film never realizes its dramatic potential, choosing to take predictable story paths with obvious characters.
  14. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    A film is in trouble when, despite the presence of an A-list cast and a well-regarded director, the best thing in it is a partly digitized bear.
  15. Perhaps realizing that rare performances in snoozers like "The Horse Whisperer" and "The Last Castle" weren't doing him (Redford) any favors, he seems to have entered a new phase in his career, with a wealth of old man roles now open to him. He was very good in last year's "The Clearing;" he's better in this.
  16. Reviewed by: Anna Smith
    Predictable and pleasant, with enjoyable performances.
  17. 50
    As with the director's other films, all that keeps Unfinished from being a complete, treacly bore is its robust performances.
  18. 50
    It's corny, but the film might have worked anyway, had anyone brought a lick of conviction to the business. But Lopez--once such a promising actress--now does little but pose, and everyone else seems to have figured out that the film wasn't going anywhere before the cameras started rolling.
  19. 50
    This is certainly not a movie worth going out of your way for, but don't be surprised if you happen to come across it on cable one rainy Sunday afternoon and find yourself watching it to the end. Even Lopez pulls off a few good moments.
  20. It's an acceptable film, but the story of family ties and forgiveness simply cannot manage the emotional connections it is desperate for.
  21. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Freeman is Freeman, all homespun dignity. Surely it's time for him to play a saucy interior decorator or a crazed dictator.
  22. 50
    The picture is outrageously predictable and somewhat poky, but there's also something admirably bold about the way it so adamantly demands we swallow its hokum.
  23. A perfectly OK drama, with a good cast and many good scenes, but it suffers from the usual maladies that films get when they've been out on the ranch too long: all-too-obvious symbolism and a serious case of the longueurs.
  24. 50
    Like most of Hallström's Hollywood movies ("The Cider House Rules," "Chocolat"), this one is excruciatingly tasteful.
  25. By the conclusion, the movie turns into the ursine answer to "Free Willy," veering dangerously close to New Age parody: Free your inner bear -- and begin to heal from the last time you got mauled.
  26. 40
    The 68-year-old actor (Redford) segues into full-blown irascible-old-man mode, and though the transformation isn't quite as compelling as it sounds, it's easily the best thing going for this Lasse Hallstrom–directed, Wyoming-set weepie.
  27. 40
    Lasse Hallstrom's leisurely drama about remorse, forgiveness and spiritual healing is a film of big emotions and ferociously small gestures.
  28. The film, so far as it is betrayable, is betrayed by the casting of Jean. She is played by Jennifer Lopez, a sexy star who is out of key with the picture and is presumably on hand to supply the oomph that Redford no longer provides.
  29. 38
    It's not just that Jennifer Lopez looks lost and out of her league acting with Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman. That's to be expected. It's the drag-ass solemnity of this turgid family drama that makes you crazy.
  30. An Unfinished Life is inert, kaput -- a middlebrow mush of platitudes rather than an okay corral of distinct characters with heartbeats. It's awful not in an exciting, uncontrolled way but in an overly controlled, narcotized way.
  31. Solemn, sentimental bore of a movie that suffocates in its own predictability and watered-down psychobabble.
  32. This unusual convergence of stars doesn't amount to much.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. Mar 31, 2013
    Why oh why did I watch it? I should have known: a Lasse Hallström film... This film is about learning to forgive people for their past sinsWhy oh why did I watch it? I should have known: a Lasse Hallström film... This film is about learning to forgive people for their past sins and to forgive yourself for your own mistakes yada yada the trailer or better yet, read the synopsis. It'll save you 108 mins of your life. The layer of emo-goo is laying on so thick that the slow moving plot almost gets stuck in it. If you've seen more than 50 movies in your life you've probably at least seen one of these. Unless you like seeing the same crap
    regurgitated over and over again I'd suggest you spend your time watching something you haven't seen before
    Full Review »
  2. RobertC
    Oct 17, 2006
    I'm 75, a Norwegian and a sucker for films of this type. Sure it's formula and pulls all the strings. Even the bear decides these I'm 75, a Norwegian and a sucker for films of this type. Sure it's formula and pulls all the strings. Even the bear decides these people are neighborly. Refreshing to see good smelling manure that I can enjoy without guilt. Full Review »
  3. OwenC.
    Jul 23, 2006
    the best movie i've ever seen. i can't believe critics are so against this movie. this movie is AWESOME if u can see it at all costs.