Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    The singing and dancing in this Chicago are uniformly splendid, right down to Gere's tap dancing. The high wit and dark eroticism Marshall brings to the famous "Cell Block Tango" number are matchless.
  2. 100
    With its eye-popping color, bold personality and snazzy tunes, Chicago is a breathtaking experience.
  3. 100
    Chicago is the zingiest, most inventive movie of its kind since "Cabaret."
  4. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Isn't just the most explosively entertaining movie musical in a couple of decades. It's going to be the most influential: the one that inspires the rebirth of the Hollywood musical.
  5. 100
    A superior adaptation that bypasses the Ann Reinking version now on Broadway.
  6. 100
    Chicago, based on Bob Fosse's Broadway smash, kills.
  7. 100
    Sophisticated, brash, sardonic, completely joyful in its execution. It gives anyone who ever loved movie musicals, and lamented their demise, something to live for.
  8. 100
    Not since the 1972 'Cabaret' has there been a movie musical this stirring, intelligent and exciting.
  9. The movie is a total blast, and what a surprise.
  10. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    More than any other example in recent memory, Chicago shows how much the element of surprise is missing from today's movies.
  11. The usually quiet Zellweger is the revelation: Like her character, the actress seems happily amazed to find herself crossing a polished dance floor, sheathed in silk and diamonds, having the naughty, self-glorifying time of her life.
  12. At times, Chicago has the feel of a revue, with the major characters taking turns at their own show-stopping numbers. If it's too much of a good thing, I say, bring it on.
  13. Freshly transplanted from the stage, is a thrilling ode to the intertwined glories of sex, showmanship, and lying: what the film calls ''the old razzle-dazzle.''
  14. 90
    Who would have expected Ms. Zellweger --- and Miramax -- to come through in a musical? And it's one of the few Christmas entertainments to run under two hours. Who couldn't love that?
  15. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Exuberantly theatrical yet every inch a movie, and some numbers ("The Cell Block Tango") are so entertaining you might want to applaud.
  16. 88
    Good, solid entertainment.
  17. For some reason, the people who make modern musicals don't like to let you watch dancers dance -- there are still too few moments when you get to enjoy choreography from a dancer's hands to her feet.
  18. Throw bouquets at Marshall, who instead of dissecting it to death, neatly resurrects the Hollywood musical.
  19. 88
    The movie is a dazzling song and dance extravaganza, with just enough words to support the music and allow everyone to catch their breath between songs.
  20. 88
    An exuberant, appropriately cynical reinvention of the stalwart Broadway hit that deftly straddles the line between old-fashioned Hollywood musicals and experimental concoctions like last year's "Moulin Rouge."
  21. 80
    Chicago is that rare thing: a nutritious hard candy.
  22. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    First-time feature director Rob Marshall and Oscar-winning "Gods and Monsters" screenwriter Bill Condon have spun the dark tale of two murdering floozies into a widely palatable entertainment, but the long-gestating film comes up short in rhythm and personality.
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Has so much razzle-dazzle that viewers may end up both raised and dazed. It's remorselessly inventive, trying anything fast and sassy to keep you watching. In other words, it's the most honest display of showpeople's need to be noticed this side of a Madonna concert.
  24. Zeta-Jones can belt out her numbers, Zellweger can purr hers, and Gere-a musician who played his own cornet solos in "The Cotton Club"-can sell his songs and even dance a spiffy little tap dance. They're better than you'd expect-and so is the movie.
  25. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Mar 3, 2014
    The original musical holds up well, and Marshall and Condon’s adaption doesn’t wreck it.
  26. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    By the end, though, the production is engulfed by barely controlled frenzy -- all decor and no air, music as lo-cal ear candy, scenes as merchandise to be sold, people as two-dimensional props.
  27. Non-musical scenes that move the narrative forward are staged realistically, while the lavish production numbers reflect the star-struck imagination of one-time chorine Roxie, for whom all the world ought to be a stage.
  28. 70
    The energy of the performances and John Kander and Fred Ebb's enduring score push the musical scenes and the entire film over any hurdle--yes, even including that misbegotten casting of Gere.
  29. It's Zeta-Jones who keeps you watching from start to finish -- You'd have to go back to Joan Crawford in her hungry prime, in films like "Rain" and "The Women," to find another female film star who grabs hold of the screen with such ferocity.
  30. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    The only player to conquer Chicago is Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is no Charisse in her motions but who gets by on a full tank of unleaded oomph. [6 January 2003, p. 90]
  31. I seem to be in a distinct minority in finding the satire toothless, obvious, and insufferably glib -- Still, I found genuine pleasure in watching Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, and John C. Reilly try their hands at singing and dancing.
  32. I realize that Fosse's dark sizzle might seem a bit dated today, but surely something halfway snazzy could have been devised for this movie. It's toothless.
  33. 50
    It's hard not to wish that Chicago had taken place inside a more imaginative head.
  34. The trouble with Chicago is the sense it conveys that nothing is really at stake -- there's no moral or ethical question that can't be turned into toe-tapping fun.
  35. The net effect of the incessant dazzle is depressing.
  36. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    Chicago is a failure, but that should not come as a surprise. Bob Fosse, who directed and choreographed the original 1975 Broadway production, was long baffled in making a film of the show and eventually gave up trying.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 255 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 90 out of 116
  2. Negative: 17 out of 116
  1. Sep 27, 2011
    "Chicago" shouldn't have been a good movie if it wasn't for the stylish direction of Rob Marshall and his cleverness of portraying the correct"Chicago" shouldn't have been a good movie if it wasn't for the stylish direction of Rob Marshall and his cleverness of portraying the correct scenes matching with the song and setting. It isn't great, but a good movie with some light-jazz music you'll love to listen. Full Review »
  2. Mar 13, 2014
    The ambition and devotion to 'Chicago' is blindsided by a contempt for all the protagonists (the exception being John C. Reily, whose Mr.The ambition and devotion to 'Chicago' is blindsided by a contempt for all the protagonists (the exception being John C. Reily, whose Mr. Cellophane is truly heartbreaking) and a certain modernization of an era that was not nearly so "razzle-dazzle" as the film portrays it to be. I still can't get by the self-obsession of Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones. That's really why I can't give the movie higher than an 8. A 6 is because it wasn't 20's to me. Full Review »
  3. Mar 2, 2013
    One of the best films in history, i loved it i was never into musicals until i saw this movie, absolutely brilliant performances andOne of the best films in history, i loved it i was never into musicals until i saw this movie, absolutely brilliant performances and beautiful songs this is truly an Oscar worthy film Full Review »