Bicentennial Man Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 47 Ratings

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  • Starring:
  • Summary: Follows the life and times of Andrew (Williams), a robot purchased by the Martin family as a household appliance programmed to perform menial tasks. As Andrew begins to experience emotions and creative thought, the Martins soon discover they don't have an ordinary robot. (Touchstone Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 31
  2. Negative: 10 out of 31
  1. Finally becomes a somber, sentimental and rather profound romantic fantasy that is more true to the spirit of the Golden Age of science-fiction writing than possibly any other movie of the '90s.
  2. May wrestle with big ideas, but it does so through a succession of small emotional moments.
  3. 63
    Entertains but never quite engages.
  4. 50
    The sad fact is Williams is at his best while trapped in Andrew's original sleek form. His performance is subtle, his reactions restrained. The more Robin is exposed, the more ham is served.
  5. Director Chris Columbus...seals this comedy in an impenetrable bubble of hollow humanism.
  6. Reviewed by: Cody Clark
    This saga of one robot's determined quest to become human is so coldly calculated it could give you frostbite.
  7. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Kids will be bored, the rest of us baffled.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. JonR
    Jun 9, 2008
    This movie made me think how life should be much more appreciated than it already is. Probably one of the most emotional films I have seen.
  2. KyleS
    Dec 31, 2007
    If you don't like it, you don't get it. id say its as simple as that, wonderful movie gets me everytime.
  3. ALF
    Sep 25, 2011
    This film exemplifies just how pointless professional film critics are. As soon as I see a negative review by Roger Ebert I know I will really like the film. I concluded this is because firstly, I see the film, secondly I have an open-mind before seeing it and do not suffer from the crass "look at me" approach of most film critics. This film is a wonderful story really well told. A robot who through a fault, fate whatever aspires to be more than it is (a trait film critics could learn other than being failed writers). It is a film no matter how often I see it, never fails to leave me feeling entertained and fully engaged. It has the right mix of humour, story telling and a poignant ending which it only takes two brain cells to rub together to understand. Clearly to many film and television critics have nothing to rub together :). This was (1999) and is a rarity these days, a film which you can sit the whole family in front of, from toddlers to your 90 year old grandparents and know they will not need to reach for earmuffs, hide under the settee or pray for a rapid one way trip to the next life. I could not recommend this film highly enough for family entertainment. As JonR rightly says an emotional film, which at the end of the day is surely what the world of film is about, an emotional connection. Perhaps film critics need to learn this. Robin Williams excellent. One of his best roles. Embeth Davidtz also excellent. Sam Neil - also excellent. The rest of the cast were excellent to. Special FX to enhance, not dominate. Good pace and a decent length unlike the usual cheap 80 to 90 minute dross we normally get. Script is a good adaptation of Asimov who is one of my favourite authors. Having read the film reviews by so many supposedly professional critics, I must thank most of you for increasing my already deeply rooted levels of contempt for your "industry." An industry which seems to be one composed of literary hacks and failures and produce nothing but spite. If any of you had any balls you would create. Expand
  4. JamesH
    Nov 14, 2009
    I am not quite sure why this film was so often disliked by the critics. It is a bit overlong, and it does have some slow stretches, but otherwise I thought is was warm and wonderful. Good score, imaginative, and Robin Williams is great. Expand
  5. Jun 18, 2013
    Robin Williams begins the film of Bicentennial Man in a mechanical suit, he is a robot, or 'household appliance' who is found to have feelings and reactions similar to human beings. Unfortunately he doesn't stay in the suit for the entire film, not to take away anything from the remarkable talent and personal admiration of Williams, but a lacklustre and bland second half will have you counting the minutes until the end. A running start, but an egg and spoon finish.
    The script is filled with emotional appearance from start to finish, but its time frame fast forwards so unpredictably that it can be difficult to feel any sort of attachment to anyone but Andrew, the robot purchased by Richard Martin, or 'Sir', (played by Sam Neill) who quickly realises that his robot may do more than the standard model.
    Andrew begins to immediately bond with the his masters children, and as the years go on and Andrew's talent for carpentry and other things have made him quite a rich man.
    But the more he understands humans and the more he reads, he knows the demeanour of freedom, and wants to become his own man.
    Where the film starts to lose its feet is when it starts fast-forwarding, because for a film spanning 200 years it moves at quite a fast pace. Andrew deals with death, others growing up around him and is unable to convey emotions to these changes, but the film is perhaps to polite for its own good in these situations, with a calm and mellow score throughout the film, there is no sense of despair or sadness, but always a sense of epic romanticism and heightening shows of this is how the world should be, but it isn't.
    Robin Williams and Embeth Davidtz are the leading people in the film, Davidtz playing two people in terms of generation. Williams, while in the suit and a few times outside of it, is an ideal and welcome choice for the role, but he seems to be held back quite often and although he is playing a robot, the lack of emotional depth can be blamed on a script which never digresses or takes a new path, it perhaps should have listened to its own words,"sometimes it's important to do the wrong thing".
    There are laughs to be had and some of the script is quite funny, particularly the earlier parts of Andrew getting to know the ways of human behaviour,but a slow and messy second half have held the film back from being as good as the opening 45 minutes suggested, but there are definitely lessons to be learnt and teachings to follow from this very quotable film, which explains human behaviour at its very core.
  6. May 25, 2013
    Overlong, sentimental (or perhaps maudlin), and lacking clarity. I remember the original story well, though have not read the novel it was adapted into (The Positronic Man). Regardless, I recognized and enjoyed very little. Expand
  7. KeithH.
    Aug 30, 2007
    A boring movie. I was intrigued, when in the beginning they recapped asimov's three laws of robotics, but then they never used them. At the end, one robot even seems to break them. Plodding pace, a weepy score that will put you to sleep and Robin Williams mugging for the camera in almost every scene (not for the first time either) make this a movie to avoid. Expand

See all 15 User Reviews