Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

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  • Summary: A richly imagined joumey into the life and writings of the brilliant Cuban author and exile Reinaldo Arenas. (Fine Line Features)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. It's an horrific and tragic story, but somehow made beautiful through the care and attention of Schnabel's direction and Bardem's tender, unforgettable performance.
  2. 100
    In uniting to honor Arenas, Bardem and Schnabel create something extraordinary.
  3. 90
    The film's ephemeral, semi-evasive lyricism ultimately works as a modest frame for Bardem's tender, deft portrait, which is in turn suitably expansive and rooted in the most concrete details -- Arenas's pride and anger, his unsentimental wit and defiant vitality.
  4. A thoughtful, bittersweet film biography of the Cuban writer that captures both his irrepressible spirit and his sometimes overwhelming melancholy.
  5. 80
    As good as it is, Before Night Falls might not work if Schnabel hadn't found a leading man to hold it together and the Spanish actor Javier Bardem has the understated charisma to pull it off.
  6. Like a deathbed dream it leapfrogs through Arenas's life, reconstructing crucial moments as a succession of bright, feverish illuminations.
  7. Under Schnabel's direction, it becomes stilted and static, if not simplistic.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Aug 25, 2013
    10
    It's without doubt one of the best films ever made!! I wasn't expecting Johnny Depp to play this role and I am impressed that he played so good. I have no words for Javier Bardem.......he was perfect!! Expand
  2. Aug 26, 2010
    4
    Aside from a few fleeting moments of cinematic brilliance and some key performances, Julian Schnabel's biopic of homosexual Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas falls flat on its face. Guest spots by Sean Penn and Johnny Depp are hilarious, though. Expand

See all 9 User Reviews

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