Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 25 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: In this tale of sex, violence, race and rock and roll in 1950's Chicago, Cadillac Records follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America's musical legends, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter and Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry. (Sony Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 30
  2. Negative: 2 out of 30
  1. The ensemble is stupendous--howlingly great--and the music goes deep.
  2. Reviewed by: Gene Stout
    83
    The movie's biopic aspect is multiplied by the sheer number of players who made Chess the first family of Chicago blues, R&B and rock 'n' roll...That all of them were later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame attests to their enormous influence on popular music and culture.
  3. 80
    Such an exhilarating, spirited piece of work that its embellishments and omissions cease to matter.
  4. The electrifying music helps camouflage the screenplay's hyperbole.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    The film features too little about Berry (an engaging Mos Def), who crosses over to great fame.
  6. There are certain films - let's call them Road Map Movies - that drive you directly from point A to point B to point C, with barely a stop for gas. Cadillac Records is such a film: You see all the major landmarks, but how enlightening can a road trip be if you never even get off the highway?
  7. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    10
    With everything so wrong, how can there be anything right about Cadillac Records?

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. MaxR.
    Dec 22, 2008
    10
    Excellent movie! It May be fast- paced but the music adds credit to it. All the actors had amazing performances.I was especially surprised by Beyonce's performance, usually she seems shy in her movies but it shows that she is still improving Expand
  2. [Anonymous]
    Dec 11, 2008
    9
    Great acting by all of the actors. Columbus Short hasn't received enough praise for his role. Great music. Would love to see more movies about these musicians. Expand
  3. KevinP
    Apr 12, 2009
    9
    This is definitely the best musical biopic of the year and I was satisfied.The acting was top notch from actors such as Jeffrey Wright,Beyonce,Columbus Short and Mos Def.The plot was not entirely correct but the music paid up for it.Out of all the actors,Beyonce showed the most emotion and was most in sync with the story so kudos to her. Expand
  4. JayH.
    Mar 8, 2009
    7
    Great music and a fine performance from Beyonce Knowles helps lift this film up above average. The story is rather predictable though. Good effort on capturing the feel of the times. Well edited, good score. Expand
  5. shannonb
    Mar 25, 2009
    7
    This movie was better than I expected. I was expecting the same old story regarding the Motown era,but was thrilled by the content of the movie. Very good performances by the actors. Expand
  6. ChadS.
    Dec 10, 2008
    6
    Muddy Waters(Jeffrey Wright) has a number one hit song, but he's number one on the black charts. The bluesman makes "race records" that the white kids don't dance to. His success is largely invisible to mainstream America; it's a tempered success in which "Cadillac Records" shrewdly captures by not falling into the usual trappings of the music biopic. Waters' stardom is a secret stardom; the filmmaker doesn't have television appearances and the usual media-oriented showcases at his disposal. As a result, the film has a muted quality, even though the former sharecropper, made it. Muddy Waters is an odd fit for the music biopic treatment because the legendary musician, unfortunately, is not exactly a household name. Thank goodness Bo Diddley stayed relevant and did a Nike commercial with multi-sport athlete Bo Jackson, or else the rhythm and blues giant might have been lost to a generation prone to short memories. "Cadillac Records" brings Chris Rock to mind when he was a regular on "Saturday Night Live". Rock wanted to do a bit on The Sylvers, a sort of poor man's Jackson 5, but was turned down by the producer because the disco group were a niche act. In other words, a contemporary white audience forgot who the Sylvers were. Too black, even for late night. Profiling a relative obscurant such as Waters, and for that matter, Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter, makes "Cadillac Records" unique, because the film is profiling artists that are better known to the black community. Learning about Little Walter is akin to a hypothetical film about Factory Records that spends an inordinate amount of time on A Certain Ratio. Chuck Berry(Mos Def) is Leonard Chess' Joy Division. A legend such as Berry throws "Cadillac Records" out of balance because he overshadows the film's real subject, which is the independent record company Chess Records. Chuck Berry is the film's Ian Curtis. He deserves his own "Control". Watching Berry in "Cadillac Records" recalls how Joy Division electrified Michael Winterbottom's "24-Hour Party People". Chess(Adrien Brody) makes for a weak protagonist because "Cadillac Records" doesn't make a strong case for his innocence, or guilt, when it came to paying his predominantly black roster. The movie would rather pick on Brian Wilson(yes, "Surfin' U.S.A." sounds note-for-note, like Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen"), and unfairly, Elvis Presley(while Little Walter is being buried, we see Presley on the television) to infer that Chess wasn't paying his talent. Expand
  7. BettyC.
    Dec 15, 2008
    5
    Just OK - Beyonce singing was great but her acting was not impressive at all. The movie as a whole did not "pop".

See all 8 User Reviews

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