Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 19
  2. Negative: 11 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Apr 15, 2011
    Though a bit stiff in the joints and acted by an undistinguished cast amid TV-movie trappings, this low-budget adaptation of Ayn Rand's novel nevertheless contains a fire and a fury that makes it more compelling than the average mass-produced studio item.
  2. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Apr 16, 2011
    As a cinematic effort, Atlas Shrugged: Part I is competent; in service to Ayn Rand's epic novel, it's less so.
  3. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Apr 15, 2011
    Speechy and preachy and just a teeny-weeny bit naughty.
  4. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Apr 14, 2011
    The story, a dystopian tale with heroes and villains and lots of triumphs and reversals, is so busy and so inherently interesting that the movie is entertaining until the finish - or the sort of finish. As only the first part of the story, Atlas Shrugged doesn't end, it stops.
  5. Reviewed by: Brian Miller
    Apr 21, 2011
    The book proves proudly indigestible on film.
  6. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Apr 12, 2011
    Campy but never dull, this first of three installments ends on a fiery cliffhanger. The completion of parts two and three would represent a victory for irrationality.
  7. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Apr 10, 2011
    The central battle between fearsomely independent corporate mavericks and hostile big government has been updated in a half-baked, unconvincing way that's exacerbated by button-pushing TV-style direction, threadbare production values and blah performances except for that of Taylor Schilling in the central role.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Apr 10, 2011
    Part one of a trilogy that may never see completion, this hasty, low-budget adaptation would have Ayn Rand spinning in her grave, considering how it violates the author's philosophy by allowing opportunists to exploit another's creative achievement -- in this case, hers.
  9. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Apr 20, 2011
    It's not a bad looking movie, with Deco design touches that remind me of the earlier Rand film adaptation, "The Fountainhead." But the acting's flat and the script is absurdly cluttered with characters whose purpose may only truly become clear if they ever are allowed to make the other two films they have planned.
  10. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Apr 16, 2011
    Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 is nearly as stilted, didactic and simplistic as Rand's free-market fable.
  11. Reviewed by: Loren King
    Apr 14, 2011
    With a plot devoid of suspense and characters without complexity, Rand's iconic line elicits merely a yawn, or a shrug.
  12. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Apr 16, 2011
    The film is curiously sterile and lifeless, hardly the stuff of revolution. It feels more like an ideologically reversed "Tucker: The Man And His Dream," written and performed by robots.
  13. Reviewed by: Carina Chocano
    Apr 28, 2011
    The resulting film, directed by Paul Johansson, feels rushed, amateurish and clumsy. It's not just the ideologies that feel oddly out of step with the present day, but the clothes, hairstyles and interiors.
  14. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    Apr 19, 2011
    Lifeless as entertainment and incoherent as ideology.
  15. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 14, 2011
    The acting is so poor and the story so badly told that the viewer's feelings about Rand's novel - an epic ode to free-market fundamentalism - are almost immaterial.
  16. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Apr 14, 2011
    Now I am faced with this movie, the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone's vault.
  17. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Apr 14, 2011
    This movie is crushingly ordinary in every way, which with Rand I wouldn't have thought possible.
  18. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 14, 2011
    I wanted to give this movie a fair shake, though I can't pretend to be an admirer of Ayn Rand's writing. But the movie, the first installment of a projected trilogy, doesn't give the book a fair shake.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Apr 15, 2011
    Who's the idiot responsible for this fiasco? You can't blame the Tea Party, an organization of 9 million that the film's producers are exploiting to get butts into seats. There's an object lesson in objectivism for you.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 101 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 67
  2. Negative: 24 out of 67
  1. Apr 15, 2011
    This film is a testament to those who are struggling to freely exist within this corrosive society of government/corporate alliance which can only lead to the eradication of individual rights. The film does the best it can with so many philosophical ideas to address; but instead just focuses on the storytelling to further the plot. Fans of the nanny state will no doubt dislike it; but those who "smell a rat" and understand that this is not the way for human beings to live will see it for the greatness in all of us that is presented. Full Review »
  2. Apr 15, 2011
    Jehkul, I'm gonna say this in as few words as possible: No.

    If this movie were about World War 2, it would be bad.
    If this movie were
    about the moon landings, it would be bad.
    If this movie were about the life of Moses, it would be bad.
    If this movie were an adaptation of any other piece of literature from any other time or place, it would be bad.

    That's at least what the critics are saying, especially Roger Ebert's review. Never mind the political ideology, this movie is so bad that the philosophical underpinnings are irrelevant and don't need to be brought up to give this movie a negative review.

    The irony is that this movie is a perfect exercise of self appraisal, as a critic does not need to ask what he is she is contributing: they are all saying "don't waste money on cinematic crap" and frankly that is a good service to society by telling them to go see something else. I appreciate that contribution to society, and anyone else who says otherwise probably takes such things for granted or are just being obtuse for the sake of salvaging their own beliefs.

    If you want to talk about institutional bias, rating a movie a 10 because of its message is pretty high on the list of examples, especially when you admit it doesn't deserve that rating.

    Don't care about personally rating this movie, but I have to, so I'm gonna say 5 to be neutral.
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 15, 2011
    Excellent! It's funny, I typically use the user reviews to determine whether a movie is good or not. The 'critics' reviews are mostly well-off for my tastes. I appreciate a good movie, with a good message that gets the movie snobs out of their comfort zones. Bravo. Well done! Full Review »