Cesar Chavez

Metascore
51

Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Mar 26, 2014
    83
    In the title role, Michael Peña has a no-nonsense fire: He captures how Chavez borrowed from Martin Luther King Jr. but also fueled the struggle with his own improvisatory brilliance.
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Mar 27, 2014
    75
    Enlivened by a strong cast, Cesar Chavez is a straightforward and inspiring account of a noble man.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Zwecker
    Mar 27, 2014
    75
    It’s Pena’s quietly powerful interpretation of Cesar Chavez the man that makes this movie work so well.
  4. 75
    Like "42," Cesar Chavez lacks the budget to feel truly epic in scope. The violence is scattered, shocking and personal, the struggles within the union muted but the outrage — is palpable.
  5. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 27, 2014
    70
    It never quite takes off in a stirring, inspirational way, but moves steadily forward in solid fashion.
  6. Reviewed by: Stephen Whitty
    Mar 27, 2014
    67
    It's a clear and moving story, although the messier edges of the man have been smoothed out, and some of the victories may have been exaggerated to provide a happier ending.
  7. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Mar 27, 2014
    63
    The performances are solid but I walked out of the theater thinking I might have been equally edified and entertained reading the man's Wikipedia entry.
  8. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Mar 27, 2014
    63
    That rare biopic that’s shorter and swifter than it should be. This turns out to be both a blessing and a curse.
  9. Reviewed by: Steve Macfarlane
    Mar 25, 2014
    63
    Not unlike Michael Peña's prior supporting roles, Chavez is marked by an explosive anger kept under a cherubic, sweet-natured mask, providing the surprise lacking in the story's text.
User Score
5.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 3
  2. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Mar 29, 2014
    2
    Director Diego Luna took the under-told, inspiring, and compelling story of one of America's most important labor leaders and created a dull,Director Diego Luna took the under-told, inspiring, and compelling story of one of America's most important labor leaders and created a dull, cliche, and poorly crafted film. Simply put, Cesar Chavez deserves better than this. It's saddens me to think this will be the image that many people first see of him.

    Don't waste your money.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 2, 2014
    6
    If you're too young to remember the '60s grape boycott, this biopic will put it in perspective. Chavez is the labor organizer who ledIf you're too young to remember the '60s grape boycott, this biopic will put it in perspective. Chavez is the labor organizer who led California farm workers in their 5-year fight for fair conditions and a living wage. The fact that he was a mild-mannered advocate doesn't help this film, because it's lacking in the fervor that would have made it rousing or at least moving. The conditions are never fully explored and even the villains aren't particularly fleshed out. Michael Peña is fine in the lead, but director Diego Luna never elevates this potentially powerful story above a competent history lesson. Full Review »
  3. Mar 28, 2014
    8
    Diego Luna's take on the Cesar Chavez story offers a gripping look at the struggle of the National Farm Workers Association and the manyDiego Luna's take on the Cesar Chavez story offers a gripping look at the struggle of the National Farm Workers Association and the many obstacles that beset them. While the story isn't particularly hard-hitting when it comes to Chavez's personal relationships, star Michael Peña shines as the leader of a modern American movement, with the film being presented in an accessible and honest manner. Full Review »