Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 7, 2013
    100
    Even as Mr. Mungiu maintains a detached, objective point of view, allowing the details of the story to speak for themselves, he also allows you to glimpse the complex and volatile inner lives of his characters.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Mar 6, 2013
    91
    Beyond The Hills has a rich understanding of the appeals and perils of religious values that provide structure and meaning to some while seeming cruel and irrational to outsiders. It’s a world within a world, and Mungiu peers from a clear window.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 4, 2013
    90
    This is not an anti-religious polemic, though it easily could have gone that way. Instead it is a much more thoughtful film and in some ways more troubling. No one is trying to do the wrong thing here, but, as with most things in life, it becomes increasingly hard to know what the right thing might be.
  4. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Mar 5, 2013
    90
    The haunting final image suggests how quickly such stories can be lost...which makes Beyond the Hills, above all else, a powerful and necessary act of reclamation.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 4, 2013
    88
    It’s a deceptively impersonal style, because Beyond the Hills seethes with astonishment and rage at a broken society marooned between the 21st century and the 16th.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Mar 14, 2013
    88
    Of all the movies culminating in a rite of exorcism, Romanian writer-director Cristian Mungiu's remarkable Beyond the Hills stands alone.
  7. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Mar 7, 2013
    88
    What this means is that at times the pace of Beyond the Hills is nerve-wrackingly slow. But Mungiu has his own way of creating suspense, and he has a gift for making a known outcome as shocking as a twist.
  8. Reviewed by: Steven Boone
    Mar 7, 2013
    88
    Beyond the Hills is an arthouse film from Romania, yet, in its slow, lurching progress toward a tragic exorcism, it is a stylistic nephew of America's "The Exorcist."
  9. Mar 1, 2013
    88
    It's Cristian Mungiu's staging and compositional skill that lends the material its true sense of dawning dread.
  10. Reviewed by: Stan Hall
    Apr 4, 2013
    83
    Beyond the Hills is an undeniably difficult (not to mention lengthy) film to endure. But for those with the fortitude, there is grace and enlightenment hidden in this harsh Romanian winter tale.
  11. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Feb 21, 2013
    83
    Deceivingly complex, with an emotional center that peels away like an onion the longer it unfolds, this is a powerful effort from Mungiu in which love and faith are both different kinds of poison.
  12. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Mar 14, 2013
    80
    It's tempting to see Beyond the Hills solely as an indictment of religion, but the film is more ambitious than that. Ignorance and superstition aren't confined to the convent; people in town, including the cops, drop casual references to witchcraft as if it were part of everyday life. The broader subject is possession by primitive ideas.
  13. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Mar 11, 2013
    80
    A bruising psychodrama from the Palme d'Or winner that taps into the dark heart of central European superstition.
  14. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Mar 10, 2013
    80
    Beyond the Hills may be the best movie no one will want to see in 2013.
  15. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Mar 10, 2013
    80
    Based on a horrifying real-life case that took place in the Moldavia region of Romania in 2005, Beyond the Hills can be seen as both a critique of patriarchal religious systems and an allegory about the tension between secularism and faith (as well as a precisely and painfully observed portrait of one particular friendship).
  16. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Mar 7, 2013
    80
    Strangest of all, we go along with it in a sort of dream, scarcely pausing to complain, so expert is Mungiu at drawing us into the fold of these passionate souls. [8 March 2013, p.80]
  17. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Mar 7, 2013
    80
    With its long takes and deliberate pacing, Beyond the Hills is demanding but always engrossing, even during its repetitive middle section.
  18. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Mar 7, 2013
    80
    The deliberate pace Mungiu employs in this incredible work is so engrossing and quietly heartbreaking that its philosophical ending may come as a shock.
  19. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Mar 5, 2013
    80
    As in his much-lauded "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," the latest feature from Palme d’Or–winning filmmaker Cristian Mungiu takes a rigorous approach to the material. But where the previous film — about two women seeking a back-alley abortion — was a reductively dour slog, Beyond the Hills feels more caustically all-encompassing.
  20. Reviewed by: Tom Dawson
    Mar 1, 2013
    80
    Arduous yet always absorbing, Cristian Mungiu’s first full-length feature since 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days is inspired by a real-life case of a tragically botched exorcism in rural Romania.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Feb 21, 2013
    80
    Enthralling, mysterious and intimately upsetting – a terrible demonstration of how poverty creates a space which irrational fear must fill.
  22. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 4, 2013
    75
    It’s an enigmatic and austere film from a region where political, sexual and religious repression are as stifling as the sooty air.
  23. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Apr 4, 2013
    75
    Based on reports of a real 2005 incident, it is a film that asks its viewer to consider the nature of good and evil, love and trust - and trust that turns into something like blind faith.
  24. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Mar 28, 2013
    75
    If you long for the bleak intelligence of an Ingmar Bergman film, where humankind is deeply flawed and God is indifferently silent and the landscape is cloaked in perpetual winter, then Beyond the Hills promises to be your cup of despair.
  25. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Mar 18, 2013
    75
    The movie deals with themes of secular and religious love, of how they may intersect and diverge, that are suggestive of Bergman or Carl Theodor Dreyer.
  26. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Mar 14, 2013
    75
    The filmmaker’s dedication to non-judgment occasionally militates against narrative drive: Beyond the Hills begins to sag in its middle sequences, when the repetitive monotony of Alina’s outbursts begins to yield diminishing returns. But he has made a film that’s worth even those wearying sequence.
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Mar 8, 2013
    75
    It has moments when the spiritual and the secular burst forth in stunning disarray.
  28. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Mar 7, 2013
    75
    Exorcist junkies should look elsewhere. Instead of spinning heads and projectile puke, Mungiu offers nuance and provocation. The result is quietly devastating.
  29. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Feb 21, 2013
    75
    Mungiu's method creates the feeling of being submerged in a maze of confrontations and chatter, but the build-up gets so tiring that the concluding scenes come as a relief instead of a payoff.
  30. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Mar 8, 2013
    70
    Ultimately, the bleak universe conjured by Beyond the Hills is more compelling than what happens in it.
  31. Reviewed by: Stephen Dalton
    Feb 21, 2013
    70
    Beyond the Hills is less fun than any film about lesbian nuns and their psychotic ex-lovers ought to be. But it is an engrossingly serious work, and confirms Mungiu as a maturing talent with more universal stories to tell than those defined by Romania’s recent political past.
  32. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Feb 21, 2013
    60
    Observing the situation at an icy remove, Beyond the Hills never builds the palpable menace and pressure-cooker anxiety of "4 Months," and its dramatic progression feels obvious, even predictable, by comparison.
  33. Reviewed by: Eric D. Snider
    Mar 3, 2013
    25
    Assisted by passionless central performances and dull dialogue, Mungiu succeeds only in exhausting our patience, not in conveying a message.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Apr 8, 2014
    7
    "Beyond the Hills" is a simple story about two friends, one of them has found solace at a covenant in Romania, while the other works in Germany, and has returned to her country in order to convince her friend to come to Germany to her. This results in themes of religion, faith, and mostly the contrast between the two characters, which seem to see the world through different eyes. To be honest, this isn't a bad movie, but the script which features an exorcism, feels dimmed and monotone. While the lack of music brings a fantastic sense of reality through the detailed natural sounds, this is a double edge sword because it also kills the tension. It's like this movie sucks you in and then, before you know it, all the excitement disappears, just so that you could get sucked in again. It feels as if it never manages to shock us or keep us engaged, like Mungiu's 2007 Palme D'Or winner "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days".
    So, this is a raw experiece without music or detailed frames, but I'm afraid the quiet and interesting universe it creates, it's a bit more interesting than what happens in it. Still, the performances are very good, as much as the script allows, and this still deserves a watch even if it feels like a sneeze that its ready to blow, only it doesn't.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 19, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. A group of nuns and a priest symbolically crucify a lesbian who is trying to get her former lover to leave the convent. This stunning film is not only a scathing indictment of the evil done in the name of religion but of the backwardness of Romanian society as a whole. Full Review »
  3. Mar 11, 2013
    10
    A quietly powerful film which is all the more interesting to me, coming from a mixed family Roman Catholic & Eastern Orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox traditions are well represented here, and the bull-in-a-china shop Alina is shocking in her brash willingness to pull her loved one away from the monastery at all costs. This movie is a tonic for the banal slate of films Hollywood has given us during this first quarter of the year. Full Review »