Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The gripping story of a dedicated police officer who discovers that the chief suspect in his current murder investigation is his own son. (Warner Bros.)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. 80
    For the first time in years, De Niro digs deep emotionally, perhaps because he's been stirred by the powerful work of his co-stars, including a subtle Frances McDormand and a ferocious Patti LuPone, as well as the heartbreaking (and achingly beautiful) Franco.
  2. Moves along with a quietude, a scruffy direct plainness that has long gone out of style.
  3. For some reason, the emotional payoff of the film -- the healing of a dysfunctional family -- doesn't quite come off. Possibly this is because Franco doesn't generate the necessary sympathy or father-son chemistry with De Niro, possibly because it's just not in the script.
  4. The cast and the direction are too good, in the end, for the rather desultory place the movie ends up.
  5. 50
    Shot in gloomy shades of gray, this earnest but banal story about the legacy of bad parenting strands fine actors in a contrived situation and lets them squirm.
  6. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    That City by the Sea isn't laughed off the screen is testament to Caton-Jones' attention to actors and to some tightly written scenes.
  7. Yields the same sort of archetype and the usual results: De Niro's workmanlike in a dismayingly familiar role.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. Feb 2, 2013
    Imagine eating five or six pieces of toast as a meal, wouldn't you be left feeling like, "Is this it?!?" It isn't that there is anything wrong with toast, but piece after piece it wouldn't make for much of a meal in it of itself. In the same way, City by the Sea just didn't leave me satisfied. It wasn't that there was anything blaringly wrong with it, but it never presented any interesting flavors to savor; it just bored me. Things picked up later in the movie, and I did like the poignancy of the ending, but I just didn't think it was worth the wait to get there. The trailer makes it look like an edge of your seat thriller it is not. Expand

See all 15 User Reviews