User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24

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  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

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. 40
    After the complex buildup of tensions, the last ten minutes of the movie are a comic-pathetic letdown: the subdued acting and the trash-strewn street scenes lead to nothing more striking than the kind of overexplicit clichés heard in mediocre TV dramas. Even De Niro's discipline and skill can't save lines that should never have been spoken in the first place. [9 September 2002, p.162]
  2. Frances McDormand and Patti LuPone are solid as his girlfriend and ex-wife, respectively, and James Franco is just right as his wayward son. They're a talented team. Too bad the movie doesn't live up to their abilities.
  3. 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.