City by the Sea

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 58 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 58
  2. Negative: 2 out of 58

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User Reviews

  1. Feb 2, 2013
    4
    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 interestingImagine 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. Collapse
  2. JohnN.
    Mar 1, 2006
    9
    I thought this was a beautifully constructed movie; a gripping story, great casting and understandably strong performances. Notably, I welcomed the minimal use of music to tell me how I should feel; the script and performances were largely left to stand on their strengths. It's a mystery to me that this movie had such poor reviews, although perhaps it suited the DVD medium on which I thought this was a beautifully constructed movie; a gripping story, great casting and understandably strong performances. Notably, I welcomed the minimal use of music to tell me how I should feel; the script and performances were largely left to stand on their strengths. It's a mystery to me that this movie had such poor reviews, although perhaps it suited the DVD medium on which we viewed it. Highly recommended. Expand
  3. [Anonymous]
    Jul 20, 2005
    7
    Flawed, but it fleshes out how horrid things can be in NYC's dark side. Deniro acts a bit wussy in a scene, though, and some emotional scenes feel cliched. nevertheless, decent entertainment.
  4. PatC.
    Jan 13, 2004
    5
    It was thought-provoking, but would then expose those thoughts as irrelevant. One thought that got through is that sometimes fathers have to make hard choices.
  5. MattF.
    May 30, 2003
    8
    This movie really taught how no matter what you are and your son may go through, that you'll always try and work things out. His dad (Robert De Niro) was determined to get his son out of trouble.
  6. TommyL.
    Mar 19, 2003
    5
    Boring...nothing really wrong with the movie...just boring.
  7. PhilD.
    Mar 8, 2003
    8
    Am I the only one who actually enjoyed this movie? The story was great, the actors were great. Actually, the only thing I hated was the Spyder caracter...too cliche for me but it's still a great flick.
  8. JohnJ.
    Oct 21, 2002
    1
    Oh ouch! De Niro produced it....that was his first mistake. It stunk as badly as the scenery looked!
  9. SheriA.
    Oct 19, 2002
    6
    If you look up the word "plodding" in the dictionary, the poster for this movie will be right next to it. Some pretty good acting but a thin story and pacing that is way too slow.
  10. TonyL.
    Oct 7, 2002
    7
    Not a bad one. I was more interested in the relationships throughout the movie than the actual hunt for the murder. Nice non-glamour turn by Elisha Dhusku. I wish she gotten more screen time.
  11. NolanB.
    Oct 6, 2002
    4
    WHY DE NIRO?? WHY????
  12. BobG.
    Sep 16, 2002
    6
    The movie is a little slow but has its moments. James Franco is clearly a star in the making, but there wasn't enough screen time for Frances McDormand. She's too good to play such a small role, and when she and DeNiro are in a scene together, it's a joy to watch.
  13. AppleH.
    Sep 16, 2002
    7
    Robert DeNiro was Robert DeNiro meaning he was usual excellent self. James Franco steals the film as his drug addicted lost son. Not a blockbuster but definitely worth the watch.
  14. RobertH.
    Sep 7, 2002
    7
    Just came back from watching the movie. It was not as bad as I expected from reading the reviews. So what else is new? Di Niro was his usual superb self in this dark drama of a good cop. He has been divorced from his family for a long time when he learns that his son is a drug addicted murderer. His past reveals that his father was executed in the electric chair when he was only eight. Just came back from watching the movie. It was not as bad as I expected from reading the reviews. So what else is new? Di Niro was his usual superb self in this dark drama of a good cop. He has been divorced from his family for a long time when he learns that his son is a drug addicted murderer. His past reveals that his father was executed in the electric chair when he was only eight. James Franco is excellent as his son. He bears a striking resemblence to the late Jimmy Dean though his eyes and his smile which is quite evident near the end of the film. The film was shot in Asbury Park NJ the home of the Boss, Bruce Springsteen. Definitely worth seeing. Expand
  15. LyndseyM.
    Sep 6, 2002
    2
    What a downer.
Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: David Denby
    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
    50
    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.