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Universal acclaim- based on 700 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 56 out of 700

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  1. Oct 26, 2012
    Incoherent. Had about 40 places where it could have ended. Worst movie of the year. Just lost 3 hours of my life never to retrieve. Beware the same fate.
  2. Oct 28, 2012
    Cloud Atlas literally comes down to a jumble of incoherent stories that were supposed to be tied together in one way or another. However when attempting to tie these stories together the movie fell short and the only reasoning it gave you for why these stories are linked is the recurrence of characters and that is it besides some loosely based similarities in the stories that my friends and family sadly attempted to convince me of. If I were you I would save the money to go see this movie since I doubt most will be able to make any sense of the movies plot. I will only give this movie on more shot when it comes out on DVD and I can snag it for $1 at a RedBox to attempt to try and understand the story one last time. I say once more wait for this movie to come out on DVD and you get rent it for $1 because that is about all the movie is worth. Expand
  3. Dec 21, 2012
    It tries too hard to tell 6 stories that simply are not interesting either independently or related to one another.
    Some of the make-ups were just atrocious.
  4. Nov 20, 2012
    When I went to see this film, I had just finished the book, and I decided to be mindful of the fact that the book is so uniquely structured and long, and as most people stated before the movie came out, "virtually unfilmable." So let me start with the good: I have to applaud the filmmakers for their ambitious attempts and I don't consider the film and utter failure, however: they made some fundamentally bad decisions, starting with the cast. It's not that I hate the actors they chose (I have neutral-to-generally-positive feelings towards most of them), it's how they chose to cast them for multiple roles: they were trying to instill the idea of reincarnation, which I think they conveyed just fine in their many many overdone narrative monologues. I also found the choice to cast actors for multiple parts of such different races distasteful: I hear people talking about the film deserving best make-up awards, but I did not, for a moment, believe that any of the characters looked like the race they were supposed to be portraying. The attempts were unsuccessful and frankly, to me (a European-Asian-American), genuinely offensive. The actors themselves, were neither terrible nor great. The intercutting of the different scenes was, for the most part, clever, and probably the best way they could have translated the structure of the novel into filmic language. There are also immense plot changes that I won't even bother to get into, because they alone are not my biggest gripe with the film. Its biggest flaw is that it robs the book of its ideology and turns what is a very complex narrative into what is in comparison, a banal film about interwoven love stories. David Mitchell expressed his full support for the film, but if I were him, I would be appalled at the overromanticized diluted three-hour mess the filmmakers turned a great novel into.
    If you enjoyed the movie as is, without the book, I can understand. However, consider reading the book. To me, it felt that when I watched the movie, I really only glimpsed the tip of the iceberg: there is so much more to the book and it's worth a read to get a better understanding and much more fleshed-out version of each nested story, not to mention some VITAL themes that were left out of the movie altogether.
  5. Oct 29, 2012
    This is the first review I've written on a movie. I actually went out of my way to make an account and write this review so no one else has to waste 3 hours of their life on this epic piece of garbage. This is the SECOND WORST movie I have ever seen in my life, the first being Gigli (rated 2.4/10 on imdb).


    This movie is
    so incoherent, I wasted 1.5hrs just being introduced to all of the various characters, hoping that their pointless lives would somehow connect and make sense. In the end you're left with several pointless protagonists, from different points in time, in different planets/universes/w.e. I will hate Tom Hanks forever ever after watching this piece of garbage. Expand
  6. Mar 9, 2013
    "Cloud Atlas" was ambitious and could've been done right, but the Wachowskis just weren't up to it, rare miss. First, they didn't have to use the same six subplots in the source material, they could've substituted far more interesting stories instead. Second, the subplot jump-editing style is fine for two, maybe three stories but not six, it's too confusing to follow. Third, it seems juvenile with its pop-psych platitudes, more suitable for tweens than for film-experienced adults. Finally, it's a series of gag love stories, and the public should've been warned far more clearly. Yes, chix love this stuff but sci-fi guys hoping for mind-twisting action, bitter disappointment. Expand
  7. Oct 26, 2012
    An overly-long mess of a movie. Dialog that is either too low/unintelligible to hear, or in a "future-dialect" that can only barely be understood. For some reason, the same actors play multiple different roles in the various different storylines. At no time did I feel I understood what was going on, or what the point of it all was. Maybe you had to have read the book. The best part of the movie for me was the popcorn. I want those 3 hours of my life back. Expand
  8. Oct 29, 2012
    Cloud Atlas is attempting to be an intellectual film, and had the storytelling devices been different, maybe it would have succeeded. Unfortunately, the movie was too long, too badly cut, to create a coherent whole.

    The main issue I have with the film is the fact that before any of the storylines can really get going, the movie cuts to a different storyline altogether. Every time I
    thought I might start getting interested, all the momentum and tension the scene had going for it would be dispersed when once again I was treated to another section. It didn't help that at times, the six different storylines didn't feel stylistically linked. The three chronologically earliest pieces have a serious tone and seem very grounded in reality; then we have the nursing home bit, which is far too comedic to match with any of the other pieces; finally there are the two futuristic sci-fi ones, which once again feel like a departure from the earlier, more "realistic" settings. And all the explosions felt out of place--Cloud Atlas is not, after all, supposed to be a summer-blockbuster action thriller.

    And yet despite all the attempts to add tension, the movie is just flat out boring because of the horrible pacing. There were several moments when I thought for sure the movie would be over, but no, it continued for another hour.

    I might have appreciated the six storylines individually; smushed together, they detracted from each other and made me not care about any of them.
  9. Oct 31, 2012
    If the six stories were disentangled and laid out separately, it would be clear that none of them has much depth or surprise... Very hard to follow! Plot was not developed well and I feel like the whole movie is about all the special effects, CGI and costumes.. DO NOT WASTE time or money watching this movie.
  10. Jan 8, 2013
    Really disliked it. Couldn't connect or relate to any of the characters. The 6 stories were a low blow and a badly made one at capitalism, but they didn't seem to connect at all. The stories were bad individually and collectively they are worse. It's three hours but it feels like ages. In my opinion it was also one of the worst performances made by Tom Hanks...
  11. Nov 14, 2012
    My wife had read the book and thought the book to be excellent. However, we both thought the movie had little if any any value on any level. It was pretentious, gratuitously violent at every turn, and came off as a murky vapid redundant stew of ludicrously trite pseudo-intellectual bunk. If you want something new, exceptional, with depth and quality, go see A Late Quartet before it's gone from theaters. Expand
  12. Dec 9, 2012
    A rather major (though not entire) misfire. The ostensible reason for switching back and forth among stories is that viewers could not follow the presentation in David Mitchell's original book where the stories are suspended in the middle and picked up hundreds of pages later, as well as to develop the "transmigration of souls" theme (which is also reinforced by the casting of the same actors in all six stories). The problem with this approach (apart from the fact that the reincarnation idea is neither essential nor clearly developed in the book) is that the integrity or coherence (and hence effectiveness) of each of the stories is sacrificed in the process. It's hard for me to believe that anyone who has not read the book could possibly follow each of the stories as presented in the movie.( the stories could have been presented in serial order without interruption, or in an interconnected way that was perfected by, say, Robert Altman.) But over and beyond this, the degree to which each story is fractured and the speed with which the directors move back and forth among stories is completely unnecessary for their cinematic conceit.. In addition, much of the storytelling here, unlike Mitchell's book, is almost cartoonish in its exaggeration; and the Wachowkis' turning of the Somni-451 story into a Matrix/Star Wars epic is totally unforgivable for anyone who claims to have an appreciation of the novel. (The Somni-451 and the post-apocalyptic Hawaii stories are, admittedly, the weakest part of that novel--which is itself a bit overrated, in my opinion--but they certainly deserve a better translation than they receive here.) The attraction of Cloud Atlas as a novel is the way in which Mitchell presents six different stories in six different literary styles recalling or imitating six different literary genres. This feature is completely (and unnecessarily) obscured by the movie. What an expensive shame! Expand
  13. Nov 16, 2012
    This movie tries so hard to be emotional by cramming in as many characters and story lines as possible, without ever making the audience care. Everyone that says it is so great, is in denial. This movie will not win any awards. I guarantee it. I have never walked out before the end of a movie until I saw this. Terrible.
  14. Nov 14, 2012
    My wife picked this movie....that's the last time I let her do that. If this movie wins even one Oscar I might boycott movies. This movie is like that one kid in school who tries way way way too hard. Awkward and ultimately tragic. The only reason I'm not giving this the lowest score possible is because it has Halle Berry.
  15. Feb 3, 2013
    How does this movie show how one persons action changed the future? Wouldn't you need to shoot two endings for that? This movie is confusing and annoying, the only decent timeline is the Asian lady's in the takeout shop. Everything else seems more like a filler. Oh the racist boat timelines also good. But everything else just dampens the major message of the film.
  16. Nov 18, 2012
    There is so much wrong with this sludge of a "movie" that 5000 characters will simply not suffice to mention all the stupidities & failures. So I'll make it short: SECOND.WORST.MOVIE.EVER. (Tree fo Life is still holding the No. 1 position) Banging your head against the wall for 3 hours will be less of a torture than sitting through this abomination.
  17. Aug 17, 2013
    Don´1 know, what this movie was all about. Boring and potracted.
  18. Apr 21, 2013
    Watched it and I ended up with an head ache in the end because of spending 3 hours so much concentrated to see how would the plot turn up in the end, just to face some "nice" and "profound" truths about stuff we see in so many movies. Stuff like, "believe in yourself", "never give up", etc etc. No greeeeat revealing truth or something that tied all stories. Yes, the movie starts and ends with about 4 or 6 stories, all mixed up and you just learn whats up along the way we, the viewers, are totally left in the dark. 3 hours watching a movie to see what it leads in the end. It's frustrating. I rather see Dances with Wolves enjoying all the movie and not wanting to see the end because it was a cruel one, rather than waiting 3 hours to see if what I've watched was worth the wait and find out there's nothing interesting about it. The acting was nice, nothing wrong with it. Just the plot and how it was told and its end. Expand
  19. Jul 21, 2013
    One of the most incoherent horrid movies ever. A complete disaster from start to finish. Story was unbearable, emotion was nonexistent, and everything in between make this movie terrible. Some might say it is a one of a kind movie; I say it is pure stupidly.
  20. Jan 9, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One: Hugo Weaving and yellowface don't mix. Two: all the religions in the world is supplanted by a hot-chic-asian-submissive-cloned-prostitute-prophetess with nothing substantial to say other than, "be excellent to each other," minus the, "party on dudes." Three: the Irish doctor Tom Hanks plays is ironically exactly what Tom Hanks looks like without makeup and plastic surgery, he's magically delicious! Four: There are more flashbacks and flashforwards in this one movie than I have seen in a lifetime. Five: If this is reincarnation than Karma is broken. Six: Oh I get the Soylent Green line now, a little "foreshadowing" thing going on there; hint hint wink wink. Seven: WTF?! Expand
  21. Jan 11, 2013
    Quick summary of Cloud Atlas: a movie that ties 6 stories together, they all suck, so it's necessary to keep them alternating in order to avoid a lot of focus in an specific one, otherwise anyone would notice it's innumerous flaws. Also, why does Cloud Atlas tries to teach you "life lessons"? It's ridiculous, it's like the writer though his philosophy was the only truth so he has to put in the movie things like "you have to help the others", "afterlife exists", etc. That is pointless, what about this: anyone believes in whatever they want and period. Expand
  22. May 18, 2013
    Ambitious but ultimately flawed. Long stretches of near endings, six separate story lines to keep track of, and all interconnected to the freedom of human blah blah blah....The two hour mark I surrendered.
  23. Nov 4, 2012
    Cloud Atlas is one of the biggest pieces of unadulterated crap that Hollywood has released in a number of years, and god only know they had there share of Sh-t. Its all over the board. There are a number of books that should never be brought to film and this "pure puke of a movie is one of them.The writers should be stoned!!
  24. Nov 28, 2012
    I was so excited to see this film and i ended up being pretty disappointed. I think it was a good idea but executed entirely wrong. I will give a nod to the actors, it was not their performance that ruined it for me but the storyline was just plain confusing. It kept jumping from era to era and with the same actors playing mainly different roles I had trouble remembering what story I was in. I would suggest seeing it but prepare to be fully confused for the 20 minutes and then slightly confused for the rest. I think it takes a certain kind of person to like this movie. It just wasn't my cup of tea. Expand
  25. Dec 21, 2012
    I have walked out on 3 movies in 46 years. 1. Eyes wide shut. If youve seen it you understand whether you want to admit it or not.
    2. Earnest Goes to Camp ( Drive in theater. I was 18 She was done with her business and I was done with mine. We left the show)
    3. This miserable piece of crap. Cloud Atlas. WTF? Only movie I've ever asked for my my money back.
  26. Feb 10, 2013
    shockingly bad, confusing and seriously disappointing. i fell asleep several times I was that bored. I expected great things but after seeing Django Unchained last week (a fantastic movie that has you gripped throughout) I felt it necessary to comment on this. I would have walked out but my fiance wanted to see it through. Glad I got free tickets or I would have been even more disappointed.
  27. May 19, 2013
    As if Speed Racer wasn’t enough, the Wachowskis were able to convince Warner to fork over hundreds of millions of dollars to embark upon the mission of Cloud Atlas, an impossibly ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell’s novel that spans space, time, and all varieties of viewer patience. Any film that focuses on cyborgs and spacecraft will appeal to a certain sci-fi demographic, but Cloud Atlas is ironically enough all over the map, just as interested in secret early 20th century gay affairs as it is in robotic ethics. It’s fascinating to watch simply because the Wachowskis (along with co-director Tom Tykwer) swing so wide they can’t possibly pull it off. Enlisting A-listers like Tom Hanks and Halle Berry to play multiple parts some of which involve Cro-Magnon growling and grunting and putting their effects team to work with gusto, Cloud Atlas quickly becomes fascinatingly big for its britches. This is kitchen-sink filmmaking at its most audacious: it can’t be argued that Cloud Atlas goes out of its way to do everything it can to connect with those tolerant enough to stomach it. There are cavemen and Farrah Fawcett-Majors haircuts, futuristic automatons with delusions of grandeur, gruff musicians and the suicidal boys who love them, airplane explosions, ultra-vivid car crashes again, Cloud Atlas has a lot of dramatic real estate to offer. Yet while its vastly ambitious intentions of representing the implicit entropy of the universe are uniquely inventive, the whole thing feels like an expensive, convoluted mess. But sometimes grandiose missteps like Cloud Atlas end up being ingenious time wasters. On Blu-ray, experiencing the Wachowski/Tykwer vision frequently prompts viewers to ask themselves, ‘Who green-lit this?’ Any movie with Tom Hanks’ name above the title is bound to sell a ticket or two, but fantasizing about Warner brass seeing the final print of this kaleidoscopic rubbish is too delicious to resist. Let’s leave it at this: Cloud Atlas is a mess, but few movies from 2012 were this jaw-droppingly stupefying. Expand
  28. Jul 9, 2013
    I knew this was going to be bad. But I didn't know it was going to be THAT bad. Turned it off after 20 minutes. Seeing Tom Hanks pop up in a bunch of different roles was just too distracting.
  29. Apr 28, 2014
    6 crappy stories chopped up, wasted 15 bucks on the DVD, I would not buy this DVD for $1, if there was time in my life I wish I could get back it would be watching this load of garbage. The actors were wasted and uninspiring, the dialogue was drivel. I had my finger on the fast forward for most of the movie it was that bad. I thought less of these actors after seeing the movie, I can only guess they all needed something to do on their weekends or needed to buy a new car or two. Expand
  30. Dec 30, 2012
    too much for nothing... the trend of overfictioning philosophical meanings of life and mankind - inception and few others got it right, but not this one.
  31. Jan 25, 2014
    Incoherent, dull, lacks a narrative and characterization. Nothing spectacular visually, baffling - no, embarrassing decision to use prosthetics to make western actors look Asian. A few interesting ideas, but ultimately; six supposedly linked sub-par stories. In one respect the film was faithful to the book: terribly boring and overblown.
  32. Nov 16, 2013
    If your looking for a relaxing movie that will help you fall asleep, you have found the movie you are looking for.This movie has a few thing that kept my interest, but I feel like they could have done it in a much better style.I had to fast forward through the last hour.
  33. Mar 3, 2014
    Over rated this be . Can a movie have more pretension and blatant killing of subplots that are sub par . Reincarnation is a gradually change of betterment that you , other people or the world effect you . Actors gave some great persona changes and performances but the story was jacked and camera work was terrible . Also boring and full of hot air .

Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 45
  2. Negative: 4 out of 45
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Feb 18, 2013
    Don’t let its commercial nosedive in the US tell the whole story. Cloud Atlas is a tough sell, but a rewarding journey all the same. It’s an adventure into the very concept of storytelling: magical, enthralling and thrilling as much as bewildering, pompous and potty. In other words, up in the clouds.
  2. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Feb 9, 2013
    A grand folly that makes the Wachowskis’ "The Matrix" trilogy look prosaic, Cloud Atlas is a fascinating if flawed work that will leave you gasping one minute and gagging the next.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 27, 2012
    Taken as little more than six disconnected shorts featuring the same group of players in different roles, Cloud Atlas works. It's entertaining and the manner in which it has been edited reduces one's tendency to lose patience with the less engaging stories.