User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 791 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 65 out of 791
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  1. Oct 30, 2012
    6
    This multi-level film is based on the novel of the same name, which interweaves 6 stories from various time periods with actors playing multiple characters. This means elaborate makeup, as they cast Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and other cast members in as many as 6 roles. The messages of universal continuity and connectedness are hammered home as the drama and action unfolds. While it'sThis multi-level film is based on the novel of the same name, which interweaves 6 stories from various time periods with actors playing multiple characters. This means elaborate makeup, as they cast Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and other cast members in as many as 6 roles. The messages of universal continuity and connectedness are hammered home as the drama and action unfolds. While it's realized with masterful skill by the Wachowskis (best known for the "Matrix" series) and Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run"), the slow-moving stories take up almost 3 hours. Visually, it's often spectacular (despite the sometimes embarrassing makeup), but as entertainment or inspiration it gets downright tedious. Expand
  2. May 19, 2013
    4
    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 CloudAs 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
  3. Jun 19, 2013
    6
    To be honest I don't think the movie came together well, but I did enjoy some of the individual stories and the film is well directed. I think the film is worth watching at least once.
  4. Aug 24, 2014
    6
    This is one of those movies that had such a trailer I wasn't sure I wanted to see the actual film or not. Luckily, the actual movie itself proved to be more than about that one song - although "Cloud Atlas" rather interestingly carries through most of the stories in the movie.

    And, the stories: in the beginning they seem jumbled and mismatched, jumping from one era to the next, with
    This is one of those movies that had such a trailer I wasn't sure I wanted to see the actual film or not. Luckily, the actual movie itself proved to be more than about that one song - although "Cloud Atlas" rather interestingly carries through most of the stories in the movie.

    And, the stories: in the beginning they seem jumbled and mismatched, jumping from one era to the next, with familiar faces all around, portrayed by the same actors.

    That was both the intriguing part and the pitfall: some of the portrayals were amazing and I couldn't immediately recognize a well-known face we had already seen filling more than one pair of on-screen shoes. Unfortunately, the attempts to make a Western actor look like an Asian - and the opposite - managed to pull off a kind of 'horribly failed plastic surgery'-vibe. That was kind of distracting.

    All in all, once the stories got going and I started remember who was who and what they were going on about, the film gained momentum. They didn't drag things out for too long, and balanced storylines out quite nicely, considering how many plots they had to cover.

    I think I preferred the futuristic worlds to the older/modern ones. The visual effects looked natural, and there were several memorable characters.

    However, overall, this probably wasn't a film for me, and its complexity became a bit too artistic to move forth fluently. Also, as fun as it was to spot same faces in different roles, I'not sure whether simply casting more people would have worked just as well, if not better (especially in those few disastrous make-up tumbles).
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  5. Apr 27, 2013
    6
    Ambitious, featuring six stories all set in various time periods. Often times with a film like this, there is always that one storyline that is just not as good, or in the case of Cloud Atlas, 2 or 3 storylines that fail to compare to the others. That's really the main problem I had with this film, the performances, music, and visuals are all top notch, but not all the stories were thatAmbitious, featuring six stories all set in various time periods. Often times with a film like this, there is always that one storyline that is just not as good, or in the case of Cloud Atlas, 2 or 3 storylines that fail to compare to the others. That's really the main problem I had with this film, the performances, music, and visuals are all top notch, but not all the stories were that engaging, diluting the effectiveness of the major themes. I still really enjoyed the film. My favorite parts were set in Korea and the 1970s. Expand
  6. Mar 8, 2014
    5
    This is one of those films that I figure that it would be really good, but in the end, it's not a big disappointment, but it's not what you expected. I mean, the scope of the film is big with some really good acting, but the character development behind the characters are pretty weak. It's also too long.
  7. Dec 31, 2013
    6
    Filme cansativo, arrastado o roteiro não la grande coisa mais tem uma proposta interessante, porém graças o seu ritmo lento e grande duração faz desse filme uma experiência miserável.
  8. Nov 1, 2012
    5
    I love the Wachowski Bros., but they should've made another movie after a 4-year absence since 2009's critical and commercial disappointment which is "Ninja Assassin." I saw the movie this weekend and it was supposed to be 3 hours, but 2 and a half hours? Well, I got a mixed feeling about Cloud Atlas. Some reviews were good, others having difficulty on why the action almost takes it to newI love the Wachowski Bros., but they should've made another movie after a 4-year absence since 2009's critical and commercial disappointment which is "Ninja Assassin." I saw the movie this weekend and it was supposed to be 3 hours, but 2 and a half hours? Well, I got a mixed feeling about Cloud Atlas. Some reviews were good, others having difficulty on why the action almost takes it to new heights. I knew it was a disappointment for both Tom Hanks and Halle Berry since it can't match any of the Matrix success. But I'll just have to wait for a rental. Expand
  9. BKM
    Jun 18, 2013
    6
    Cloud Atlas is a daring film that juggles multiple story lines strewn across different time periods while wrestling with the notion that all mankind is bound to one another across space and time. It's never dull, but it never quite enthralls either. The stories never really feel connected to each other which is the film's ultimate downfall.
  10. Dec 16, 2012
    5
    The movie was nothing special. It was 40 minutes longer than it supposed to be. The stories (and the story as a whole) was cliché ridden and very predictable. The "meaning" or "message" of the movie could be told in 20 minutes. I did not like how the directors cast their actors to different sexes, races. I think it was very distracting at some points. I did not like that someThe movie was nothing special. It was 40 minutes longer than it supposed to be. The stories (and the story as a whole) was cliché ridden and very predictable. The "meaning" or "message" of the movie could be told in 20 minutes. I did not like how the directors cast their actors to different sexes, races. I think it was very distracting at some points. I did not like that some stories were too "funny" (retirement home storyline) and some stories were very dark in tone (Neo-Seoul storyline). I didn't feel the stories were coherent enough. Maybe with less directors it could have been a better movie. Overall average. Expand
  11. Jun 9, 2013
    5
    A confusing morass of six story lines and a seventh that serves as epilogue and prologue--this film gives new meaning to the question, “What just happened?” A cast of eloquent and well-known actors plays multiple roles where in some cases they are virtually unrecognizable. The most outrageous include Hugh Grant as a tribal chieftain who is a confirmed cannibal, and Tom Hanks as a murderousA confusing morass of six story lines and a seventh that serves as epilogue and prologue--this film gives new meaning to the question, “What just happened?” A cast of eloquent and well-known actors plays multiple roles where in some cases they are virtually unrecognizable. The most outrageous include Hugh Grant as a tribal chieftain who is a confirmed cannibal, and Tom Hanks as a murderous physician from 1849 as well as a frustrated and equally murderous 2012 book author who kills his harshest critic at a party by throwing the arrogant and presumptuous cad over the balcony. Hanks is also a father figure in a primitive clan in 2346 Hawaii, although there he is highly recognizable, even though he is speaking a barely comprehensible pigeon English that can only be described as Hillbilly Jive. (To say “that's the truth” is “that's the true-true.”) Strangely enough, Hanks lapses into standard English in a few instances where he has to explain an important plot point. Subtitles would have been beneficial.

    The film changes geographical locations and time periods, as it ricochets between 1) 1849 South Pacific; 2) 1936 Scotland; 3) 1973 San Francisco; 4) 2012 Great Britain where actor Jim Broadbent is kept prisoner in a nursing home; 5) 2144 Neo Seoul (somewhere around old Seoul); 6) 2346 Hawaii; and 7) the frame story provided by the prologue and epilogue taking place about 30-40 years after 2346 Hawaii on a planet colonized by humans.

    Presumably the movie is about people finding their true inner selves, setting off on the path of that which is good, true and beautiful, and establishing a humanistic, worldwide faith where a divinity does not figure into it, except in the primitive society in 2346 Hawaii, where they falsely worship the little Korean girl from 2144 Neo Seoul, a clone who fought bravely against corporate consumer predators, and who was part of a workforce consisting of an army of clones, robotlike employees who worked 19-hour days for a certain amount of time, and were then murdered, recycled and fed back to the other clones as a protein drink, the only nourishment they were allowed. The resistance army for which the clone was a kind of Joan of Arc was called The Union. The clone, played by Korean actress Doona Bae, is the connective thread, while Halle Berry and Tom Hanks also provide secondary connective threads, to the extent that anything really connects in this movie.

    The philosophy of the film seems to be about incarnation and reincarnation, and how we are all a part of something much larger than ourselves, somehow reaching out to ancestors and descendents, on some subliminal level of consciousness that connects everyone and everything to everything else, and that has to do with the stars and outer space, with no mention of God, apparently because there are too many atheists who go to movie theaters.

    A noble effort that somehow went awry with too much sophomoric philosophy and too much amateurish make-up.
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  12. Nov 17, 2012
    5
    Cloud Atlas is a cornily enthralling sci-fi. It seems to be like cramming the entire plot into 1. It's more like a pulpy middle brow trip. Its strange but cool
  13. Nov 27, 2012
    5
    Cloud Atlas -- I don't get it. While I was mesmerized by many breathtaking scenes and actor's playing different roles, I just didn't get the point of the whole story. None of the stories made me care. I found myself trying to figure out which actor was behind some heavy make up.
  14. Sep 8, 2013
    5
    It was entertaining and had a wide variety of emotional and memorable moments butt it felt a bit too loosely put together. The film was rather long and the plot progression was good but ultimately was too drawn out. Overall the movie is good but probably could have been more impactful if it was somewhat shorter.
  15. Oct 28, 2012
    4
    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 friendsCloud 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
  16. Jul 21, 2013
    6
    I wanted this movie to have more, and I waited until the credits, disappointed. The idea is smart, but I felt that it just needed a better edit (maybe a year or two from now?) that would make it more seamless and the ideas presented stronger.
  17. Mar 10, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This was certainly a rather....unique movie. I have neither read or heard of the book before, nor this I really know what the movie was going to be about. I was in for a mixed surprise. I really liked the concept of there being multiple stories within multiple time periods and the transitions between them are seamless. However (at least in the movie) these stories seem to be connected rather loosely. The only thing you get to see is how these individual stories are being transferred. (For example the first guy writes a diary which is read by someone in the next time period. That guy writes letters to his lover about his story and so on and so forth.) At first I though that if this is the only way these stories are connected, that's kind of lazy. But then came the credits in which you could see which actor played whom. This is probably the most revealing part of the movie, which now that i think about it is actually rather amusing. Still, i decided to do some research about the story to get some explanations about things that I might have missed. And so i found out that this movie was supposed to be about reincarnation throughout time periods. This makes sense after seeing the credits, but it's not really explained throughout a movie. As a movie, this kind of fails because important things that might have been explained better in the book are not really to be seen in this movie. However as an experience, this certainly was interesting. Do some research before you watch this movie. You'll certainly be enjoying it more afterwards. Expand
  18. Nov 28, 2012
    4
    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 wasI 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
  19. Apr 27, 2013
    6
    This movie is one of the most polarizing movies right now. It's basically like Animatrix with 6 mini stories that's related to each other. The environments for each timeline is appropriate, the standouts being the 5th and 6th story which takes place in the future with awesome futuristic technology that I soooo want to have. One problem though, this movie is a complete mess. It regularlyThis movie is one of the most polarizing movies right now. It's basically like Animatrix with 6 mini stories that's related to each other. The environments for each timeline is appropriate, the standouts being the 5th and 6th story which takes place in the future with awesome futuristic technology that I soooo want to have. One problem though, this movie is a complete mess. It regularly jumps all over the place from the past to the future then to the past again that I can't think of any other thing to say but "what the hell does this movie want to be?" Every timeline has different themes to them. First and second story is drama movie, 3rd is suspense thriller, 4th is a comedy, the 5th and 6th story in the future is all action. The movie jumps back and forth between all the stories that it's just a complete mess. I tries to link them together by having the themes when it jumps similar, eg: a battle in the 6th jumps to a battle in the 3rd, but in all honesty it's completely unnecessary. The theme of the story is the first story leading to the next will influence the actions of each story's main characters, and that's it. It's better to just play it in order from the first to the last story like Animatrix or some other short movie compilations so it's easy to follow and fun to enjoy. Maybe one day someone on Youtube will do that, I'm looking forward to seeing these stories in order so it'll be more enjoyable to follow. Expand
  20. Aug 6, 2013
    5
    This film I guess is a valid attempt at a great film like "The Hours" that just fails to hit the mark. Pretty vapid and bad, the metaphors the morals, the quotes, the philosophy's expressed the time sliced plot switching are all awful, the parables trite, if this is representative of the novel, I pity the novel to. This film seems to be a barometer of those who think they can identify aThis film I guess is a valid attempt at a great film like "The Hours" that just fails to hit the mark. Pretty vapid and bad, the metaphors the morals, the quotes, the philosophy's expressed the time sliced plot switching are all awful, the parables trite, if this is representative of the novel, I pity the novel to. This film seems to be a barometer of those who think they can identify a quality film, whereas really its just an idiot test. The themes are played too much Hollywood Disney style similarly the stereotyped characters, the oppressed winning through, the cultural reversal, the playing upon other story's too greatly, soy-lent green anyone its all so very child like and ham-fisted. And not helped by the fact they have used the same actors for so many parts with only poor make up, to set the characters apart as different from the small range of the actors faces used, and it doesn't really work, nor is it convincing or even logical, and certainly if the intention was to make the cross time parallel character scenario pairings rub nose obvious, its awkward and unnecessary, European's trying to play Asian's, Asian's trying to play western belles and Mexicans etc it just comes off as awkward in fact I don't see how its any less racist than blacking up, you want to portray people of a certain race why not simply hire people to play such roles instead of using makeup and prosthetics to this extent or was it a budgetary constraint yes one can quite clearly see how it would tickle an actors ego, to be in such a film as they get to attempt to demonstrate their range in the same film, but really its just jarring for the film and there is an effort to try to crudely and artificially stitch the time lines to each other in some ways cross time to end up with some many lives interacting metaphor etc, but some of the lines in this film are heinous and hackneyed, most of the scenario and character relationships you see coming before they're even on the screen practically. The fact this film is rated is so highly is an indictment, I find it hard to believe people cant see through this films general film flam. Its valid to attempt such films but when it fails, its seems more dis-ingenuous, then those films that are at least honest about limited intellect popcorn schlock. It also mildly wreaks to some extent vague populist propaganda of white European's and intolerance of any sort to anything as bad and other globally exported American cultural philosophies. Worst point it plays to a American multicultural audience with ponderous stereotypes, the pseudo Mexican Asian woman (again real bad makeup) who quips "don’t call me a wetback" over the corpse of the evil white gunman who she has bludgeoned to death for shooting her Chihuahua dead, this is cheesy playing to the audience style humour. The philosophical lines such as "love could outlive death" and "it will never amount to more than a single drop in a limitless ocean" which was sadly followed by "what is an ocean but a multitude of drops" I mean really really if this kind of trite display of child philosophies that appeal to the masses then I guess my review is nought more than let me see which rubbish metaphor shall I pick? A drop of intelligence in an ocean of ignorance?

    I also submitted this review to IMDB not that it will be visible amongst the flood their.
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  21. Apr 4, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Cloud Atlas is a hot mess. There is about half a good movie here. The themes presented are relevant: love, dignity, freedom. Unfortunately they are sometimes presented in such a way as to seem trite or even cliched. There are also some strange and baffling elements that just don't work.

    I'm also going to get this out of the way right now: I was not a fan of the use of yellowface and whiteface on non-Asian and non-Caucasian actors, but not for the politically correct reasons a lot of people were. I didn't feel that the characterizations were racist or offensive. My main problem was that with a few exceptions, it looked really unconvincing.

    Of the six stories, I was most fond of the tale of Sonmi-451 (Neo Seoul, 2144). Her story was dark and tragic yet hopeful at the same time. The world she inhabits is a glitzy dystopia built upon the worst excesses of contemporary corporate culture. Of all the sequences, this one and the story of Robert Frobisher (Cambridge and Edinburgh, 1936) would have made enjoyable full-length films in their own right.

    I liked the sequence set in the UK, 2012, starring Jim Broadbent as Timothy Cavendish in what was essentially a dark comedy vignette about an aging publisher and his gangster client (Tom Hanks). Even a throwaway joke about soylent green being people actually relates to a disturbing element in the Neo Seoul sequence.

    The story set in the South Pacific in 1849 about a young lawyer who falls sick during a voyage and is under the care of a doctor who it emerges is poisoning him in order to steal his belongings but is saved by a runaway slave fell flat. Tom Hanks as Doctor Goose had a false nose and prosthetic buck teeth which made him look like a character from League of Gentlemen (the British comedy series, not the crappy adaptation of a good Alan Moore comic book). Predictably the lawyer, who is helping the slave by hiding him and then later gets him work as a sailor on the ship, become friends. When the lawyer returns home he declares to his slave-owning father-in-law that he and his wife will go east to aid with the abolition efforts. It should be powerful but it just feels cliched and somewhat cheesy.

    I don't have too much to say about the sequence in which Halle Berry plays the main role. It was neither good nor bad and felt like an homage to movies of the era in which it was set, namely the early 1970s, featuring a tough, independent black journalist whistle-blower uncovering a conspiracy at a nuclear power plant run by an unscrupulous business man. Taken on its own, it could have made a rather average thriller with a few good moments of tension.

    The sequence set on a post-apocalyptic Hawaii in the year 2321, just stank. It reminded me of Battlefield Earth, but with better production values and no use of dutch angles that I can remember. Tom Hanks plays a superstitious coward belonging to a tribe of people with vaguely Maori-like tattoos on their faces. He is plagued by hallucinations of Hugo Weaving as a character that can best be described as a goblin with a top hat, who I think is supposed to represent his fear and religious hang-ups. Tom Hanks' people live in constant fear of cannibals on horseback with fearsome facepaint. Halle Berry plays a character from some nice,shiny utopia where they have pretty, shiny vehicles and fusion power. She's on the island looking for some ancient secret which she tells Tom Hanks is "The true true." or some such childish baby-talk. It's all very confusing and stupid and ends with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry living happily ever after on some distant planet with two dozen grandchildren sitting around a campfire listening to Grampy Tom Hanks tell stories.

    I haven't read the book, so I can't really compare it the source material. The principal cast appears throughout the movie in multiple roles because they're reincarnations of characters from earlier time periods, but it's not presented in chronological order. Some of it is intriguing. Some of it is hard to care about. Other parts are just plain weird and not always in a good or compelling way.
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  22. Dec 21, 2012
    4
    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.
  23. Dec 28, 2012
    5
    Cinematically beautiful with a great cast but definitely played out like a bunch of trailers all ready and willing to make the next great film. The music in the film tried too hard and was over exaggerated half the time as well. This movie also could've told its story in less time, it drew out scenes which became confusing at times.
  24. Nov 15, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A lot of people do die in this movie and there are many main characters. However, out of the main characters the homosexual commits suicide and the Asian "clone" is executed. The rest of the main characters go on to live happily ever after. I guess if you put Tom Hanks and Halle Berry together at the end of a movie, surrounded by a bunch of children, then close with a view of the stars in the sky (shooting star included) all can be forgiven. Expand
Metascore
55

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
    80
    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
    60
    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
    75
    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.