Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30

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Critic Reviews

  1. A triumph of psychological drama, owing as much to Ms. Bier's sensitive style as to Anders Thomas Jensen's smart screenplay, based on Bier's own story idea.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Brothers takes a scenario as old as Genesis – two jealous siblings spar over the affections of the same woman – and renders it fresh and immediate, by virtue of the warm, almost maternal, generosity director Susanne Bier shows her characters.
  3. Imaginative and immensely engrossing film.
  4. We do live in a fraught world of interconnections, Bier makes clear, and what happens far away matters, in unexpected ways, close to home.
  5. Everyone involved -- actors, crew, director Susanne Bier and screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen in their second collaboration -- are in peak form in this unflinching look at repressed feelings and emotional devastation.
  6. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    A drama of uncommon moral complexity, unexpected humor, convincing transformations (for good and bad) and, best of all, vibrant, unpredictable energy. In a movie landscape littered with dead souls, here's a live one.
  7. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Gripping from start to finish.
  8. 88
    The central performance in Brothers is by Connie Nielsen, who is strong, deep and true.
  9. A powerful, brutal, funny, tragic, vibrant, very human movie.
  10. The two male leads, bulwarks of the Danish film industry for more than a decade, play off each other like the veterans they are.
  11. Brothers is about how people change, how they can rise to an occasion, or sink to one. It's a tale of love and allegiance, of truth and the cruelties that men can bring to bear on one another.
  12. It's a quiet anti-war film full of lovely, heartbreakingly assured performances and real situations and responses.
  13. 83
    These three central performances, and a solid script by Anders Thomas Jensen and director Susanne Bier, ground a potentially overwrought story in genuine feeling.
  14. Reviewed by: Gunnar Rehlin
    The second collaboration between helmer Susanne Bier and scriptwriter Anders Thomas Jensen once again shows what skilled artists can do with a story that might have ended up filled with cliches.
  15. Filmed in the unadorned Dogme style and acted with a ferocious intensity.
  16. The end result was that the performances reached a remarkable level of intimacy and intensity.
  17. 80
    A beautifully acted, graceful, and intelligent film that usefully dramatizes the gulf between Fortress Bush and the relativist politics of Western Europe.
  18. There's such a sense of overall intensity, you know you have been though something powerful.
  19. While the film's strength lies in an ensemble effort, it's really Sarah and Jannik who provide the film with its most compelling characters, its momentum and, ultimately, its heart.
  20. 75
    Director Susanne Bier is helped by a well-chosen cast, especially the glowing Nielsen, a Danish-born actress best known for American films like "Gladiator."
  21. Tapping into the basest fears of war while subverting all expectations, director Susanne Bier deftly reads between the headlines.
  22. 75
    Piercingly co-written and directed by Susanne Bier, the movie dramatizes one man's collapse and the other's surprising maturation.
  23. 75
    At its core, Susanne Bier's wrenching portrayal of the shifting dynamics within a Danish family is really about survival, about how we cope in the face of shattering grief and what we'll do -- anything, really -- to save ourselves.
  24. 70
    What sets Bier's film apart from similar fare are the consistently fine performances and powerful scenes of surprising ferocity.
  25. 70
    A movie so nice she made it twice, Susanne Bier's Dogme-certified feature "Open Hearts" gets a slight makeover in her follow-up Brothers, another raw melodrama about three lives recalibrated by sudden tragedy.
  26. 70
    Danish director Susanne Bier elicits wonderfully intimate performances from her actors, and this 2004 drama has so many genuine, low-key encounters it manages to overcome a contrived and familiar plot.
  27. It's interesting and well-performed, but it's no Cain and Abel.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 41 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Stephen
    May 13, 2006
    Pretty fair effort all round from Bier, well cast and acted, filmed with vigour straight from the Danish Dogme Director
  2. DawnJ.
    Mar 4, 2006
    The strengths of the movie lie in its unflinching portrayal of the very personal complexities of war. Two families are The strengths of the movie lie in its unflinching portrayal of the very personal complexities of war. Two families are impacted-Michael's own wife and daughters and the wife and son of Niels Peter, a townsman and fellow soldier who shares his prison cave. It is in the comparison of these two families in which the film's conflict lies. We get a brief snapshot of Neils Peter's family when Michael visits her upon his return. The cropping is close; the camera closes in on a spare white kitchen table. Niels Peter's wife Ditte sit at the table, alone in her grief and longing. The film spends much more time on Sophia's family of two roustabout girls and the constantly present brother Jannik. The scope is expansive, dynamic. The range of laughter and tears is photographed in a medley of shots against a background of colors, textures, hammers, saws, and bustle. Clearly, progress is being made, particularly before Michael's return. There is no sugar coating of post-trauma life, no sentimentalized view of family. The performances are uniformly strong, the photography intense, the music good. The story leaves us with questions: Why do Jannik and Sophia not consummate their desire? Why do the brothers' parents drop out of the story once the elder son has returned? The complexities of the film provoke questions we want to see answered. Even though the film presents nothing startlingly new about PTSD, it at least offers no easy answers and is always absorbing to watch. Full Review »
  3. BryanG.
    Feb 23, 2006
    Subtle differences in familiar plot lines make the reality of emotion stand out as the crowning execution in this film. It is wonderfully atypical.