Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 32
  2. Negative: 2 out of 32
  1. 88
    Antwone Fisher has a confrontation with his past, and a speech to the mother who abandoned him, and a reunion with his family, that create great, heartbreaking, joyous moments.
  2. 88
    Washington, typically, is rock-solid in front of the camera, conveying ample warmth and sympathy. Behind the camera, he's a relatively straightforward storyteller, strategic in his use of lyrical touches.
  3. 88
    Emotionally honest, feel-good saga with a universality that stands out in a season of singularly depressing and cynical Hollywood product.
  4. A deceptively simple movie with a deeply felt message.
  5. Washington brings it off with an unforced and well-earned emotional wallop, and whose strong hand, keen eye, sweet spirit and good taste are reflected in almost every scene.
  6. 80
    The film offers an impressive melding of quietly radical images and ideas with, yes, an old-fashioned, crowd-pleasing holiday tearjerker.
  7. An assured directorial debut that goes straight for the tear ducts.
  8. 80
    Blessedly free of the self-righteous histrionics and sentimentality that so often cheapen powerful personal stories.
  9. 75
    The uniformly fine performances are a tribute to Washington, who plays the shrink with his customary command.
  10. 75
    The rare sort of movie that gives predictability a good name.
  11. 75
    Corny. But it's corny in a way that a Hollywood movie about a boy who just wants to go home ought to be corny. Plus when it's done with this much care, corny works for me.
  12. 75
    There are a few occasions when Antwone Fisher crosses the line to become too syrupy -- For the most part, however, the production radiates emotional honesty.
  13. A good film that, with a little extra care, could have been great.
  14. Rarest and most impressive of all, Antwone Fisher is a serious drama set in the African American community, one that showcases powerful, confrontational scenes between black actors.
  15. A movie so profoundly in touch with its own feelings that it transcends its formulaic tics.
  16. If treats like this are evidence of Washington's special gifts as a filmmaker, Antwone Fisher promises great things for the future.
  17. 67
    With all its pedestrian moments, the film still has the power to sweep you up.
  18. A safety-first, tried-and-true inspirational story that stays the course right down to its "It's a Wonderful Life" ending.
  19. Reviewed by: Steve Simels
    60
    But there's a vaguely self-congratulatory tone to the screenplay that's a bit off-putting.
  20. Should be remembered for a pair of performers -- Derek Luke and Viola Davis, whose cameo as the mother who abandoned him cuts through the sap like an acetylene torch.
  21. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    60
    Washington reveals himself to be a filmmaker with a clean, uncluttered storytelling style. Too often, overtly inspirational material such as this can become strident or mawkish.
  22. Affecting but formulaic.
  23. Denzel Washington's directorial debut reminds me of a 60s British movie called "The Mark": it's liberal minded, heartwarming, sincere, and consequently somewhat old-fashioned and stodgy.
  24. Although it's touching and sincere, Washington's directorial debut is weakened by a too-slow pace and a story that offers few real surprises.
  25. Has warmth and integrity, but it lacks the urgency of a story that had to be told.
  26. This is the brand of sentimentality that comes with a high concentration of saccharine and every taste of bitterness safely removed.
  27. 50
    A competently calibrated feel-good machine. It's as effective as anything on The Lifetime Channel. Which is likely where this project would have wound up were it not for the involvement of Washington.
  28. 50
    There's nothing in either the conception or execution to lift it above a TV-movie tear-jerker.
  29. In the hands of lesser mortals, this would add up to perhaps the worst movie of the year. In the hands of Denzel Washington, it manages to work magic on some who might not tolerate such shenanigans from, say, Chris Columbus.
  30. Washington directs with proficient blandness charged only occasionally by organic acting moments.
  31. 20
    Directed without a shred of imagination by Denzel Washington -- Antwone Fisher masks a behind-the-scenes story that's far more inspiring than the phony uplift that makes it onto the screen.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 36
  2. Negative: 3 out of 36
  1. Mar 18, 2014
    5
    Antwone Fisher is a somewhat compelling directorial debut for Washington, but the film is overridden with clich├ęd characters, dragged out scenes, and predictable storylines. Full Review »
  2. Dec 14, 2011
    5
    The first 80 minutes of the film are bland and boring filled with lackluster performances. It seems even Denzel Washington becomes so distracted by directing that he forgets how to act. Watching this film would make you wonder how he ever won an Oscar. Unfortunately his directing doesn't improve as a result of his over-focus: The cameras angles are all over the place, the cinematography needs some real work, and the actors seem to eager to close scenes and become cliches of themselves. It is only during the final moments of the film that the acting becomes truly dynamic, the camera angles become better used, and with the help of the the score and editing these final moment become emotionally impactful. It seems that the film does what few films are capable of: Creating an ending that almost forces the viewer to forget about all of the tired cliches used in the rest of the film. Unfortunately, the ending is still not capable of forcing all the sleep from our eyes and thus at this point, the film stands as only slightly above average. But any effort to call it more than average suddenly fails when it is realized that Fisher's biopic tale is made of misinformation and deceit throughout. Full Review »
  3. TimJ.
    Apr 22, 2008
    10
    This movie was amazing.