Clean

Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. Maggie Cheung, who was in Assayas's Irma Vep, plays Emily with a semi-detached feeling--observing the role as much as portraying it. The chief pleasure in the picture is Nick Nolte's performance as the boy's paternal grandfather.
  2. An unflinching look at the ravages of substance abuse, and it's also a sobering redemptive tale.
  3. Cheung can't make the woman very interesting in her own right--the most compelling performance here is Nolte's.
  4. Reviewed by: Alan Morrison
    40
    Bit of a mediocre drama from writer-director Assayas despite some good turns, not least from Nick Nolte and Beatrice Dalle.
  5. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    40
    Dramatically pallid and unconvincing. Despite being written for her, the director's "Irma Vep" muse Maggie Cheung seems oddly miscast here and is ill-served by an emotionally underpowered screenplay that rarely gets beneath the surface of the character's problems.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. ChadS.
    Apr 22, 2007
    9
    "Clean" might be a film in code about the most infamous of all rock-and-roll widows, but I hope not, since Allison Anders' "Sugar Town" "Clean" might be a film in code about the most infamous of all rock-and-roll widows, but I hope not, since Allison Anders' "Sugar Town" had already done a fine job of eviscerating(again, in code) this woman, who nevertheless, love her or hate her, arguably served the important and underrated function of muse for the troubled drug-addled musician. Emily Wang(Maggie Cheung) is also universally hated by the music industry for fueling her husband's appetite for poison, but like her real-life counterpart, she played a part in her husband's artistic triumphs by incident; by just simply being there(without Love in Kurt Cobain's life, maybe he might've simply been a Black Francis-wanna-be). The fact that Emily is Chinese makes her unpopularity complicated since the hatred she's encumbered with might be a two-fold attack(the public's distaste for Emily's heroin addiction could be a cover-up for the real issue at hand; she's Asian), which the filmmaker smartly leaves to our imagination; the only mention about Emily's ethnicity comes from her uncle. "Clean" elects to keep Emily's withdrawal from heroin largely off-screen(leave the writhing in agony to Darin Aronofsky); the film is more concerned with her redemption. A filmmaker with a heavy hand would demonstrate a recovering addict's unfitness to be a parent by staging a relapse. What this director does is brilliant; he casts doubt about Emily's ability to exercise sound parental judgment by the mode of transportation she supplies for her son. "Clean", led by Cheung's glamorous, yet somehow gritty performance, has us rooting for her every step of the way to a recovering junkie's nirvana. Full Review »
  2. MarcK.
    Jul 30, 2006
    9
    Too bad this wasn't released in America until 2006, and too bad when it was released, it came and went. This is one of the best 2006 Too bad this wasn't released in America until 2006, and too bad when it was released, it came and went. This is one of the best 2006 releases in America. Maggie Cheung clearly deserved the Best Actress award at Cannes for this performance. While she's the reason to see this movie, the plot is also well-done, and is a more positive piece than most of the films in this genre. Full Review »
  3. MauraC.
    Jul 7, 2006
    6
    Interesting and meditative movie. Visually very beautiful, but could have used a little more depth when it came to the characters. The story Interesting and meditative movie. Visually very beautiful, but could have used a little more depth when it came to the characters. The story was overall fairly touching, but sometimes seemed a bit meandering and pointless. Okay movie that could have used some more work to make it great. Full Review »