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Universal acclaim- based on 638 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 638

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  1. Jan 2, 2013
    This is by far the most inspiring, emotional, exhilarating, funny and action-packed 21st century philosophical work disguised as a really good movie! The brothers have done it again!
  2. Jan 1, 2013
    Sprawling, and incredibly cast, Cloud Atlas is a film that surely has divided everyone who has seen it. Is it another self indulgent effort from the Watchowski Siblings, or a Masterpiece? Based on what is considered as an unfilmable novel, Cloud Atlas starts of as a project of such high risk, that the Watchowskis have difficulties finding the right investors. Why not? It is an Art Film with a Blockbuster budget. At its heart though, it is one of the more contemplative film that they have made since the Matrix, using every trick in the book a film that pushes the envelope so far, that it flops miserably. Only time will tell whether it joins the pantheon of 'visionary', 'much beyond its time' film making such as 'Blade Runner'. The question is will anyone give the Watchowskis', one of the most daring visionary film makers of their generation, another set of budgets after two flops in succession? Expand
  3. Dec 30, 2012
    Incredibly incredible and amazingly amazing. Some say that the six stories are not connected, I would say you are not paying attention. The stories are so separated and united at the same time, all is about the theme of the film that "our lives are not our own, we are bounded to others. Past and present, by each crime and every kindness, rebirth our future." Those are the lines that connect all the stories so tightly. It's about Karma and causality, that we still have to be responsible for what we did in a way or another, sooner or later.
    There is a Chinese old saying, "The sea admits hundreds of rivers for its capacity to hold." and Cloud Atlas is also a movie that is capable to hold thousands of years and different kinds of culture and emotions, you can feel excited, sad, happy, funny, desperate cross over the whole movie. Moreover, fighting for what they wanted is also another subject. they fight for their friends, even he is just a slave, for their love, maybe your gay lover or your cloned girlfriend, no matter what 's their intention, sacrificing and fighting for our love are always so beautiful and emotionally engaging. All those little pieces synthesize such a incredibly and amazing film.
  4. 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.
  5. Dec 29, 2012
    One of the characters gives empathy a divine virtue status by saying that 'the ability of looking through someone else's eyes is the truth'. Best sentence to be in a movie ever,
  6. Dec 28, 2012
    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.
  7. Dec 26, 2012
    This film will be unappreciated, mainly because of its complexity and length. But it is one of the best films I've seen this year. It has many themes and a great immersive story.
  8. Dec 26, 2012
    Entertaining and engaging. What else is matters? The stories piece together (some better than others) in a way that is a little confusing at first but soon feels natural and fluid. Great job with the editing. I can't imagine many films that'd be harder to edit than Cloud Atlas.

    It was fun seeing each actor take on so many roles, but even more fun when I realised my mind had started
    separating them, making them their own characters as they should be. This is a credit to the acting/direction and makeup of each character.

    I wish more people would give it a chance. It's a miracle the film got financed and made at all, and for it to come out so well is a testament to the love for the project the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer have, If only people would sit down and watch the film. Really watch it. Listen to every word. See every set, every costume, hear every atmos track. Just sit back and be drawn into this (read: these) worlds. There's no way you can't enjoy this film that literally offers something for everyone as it melds together so many genres.
  9. Dec 25, 2012
    Cloud Atlas is a curious film. It sets its ambitions to astronomical levels but at the end of the days does what it does well but is not at all a revolutionary film nor is it free of flaws. There is an emotional prize at the end if you can bear with the long convolution plot with six distinct stories played by a handful of the same actors and actresses that transcend race and gender. My biggest gripe with the movie was without a doubt the inclusion of unnecessary scenes in the movie. Sure, the 1936 plot involved a bisexual male but did they have to really articulate homosexual innuendos to such degree? Its one thing to vouch for gender equality rights and another to gross the crap out of the audience. Every single person in the room who saw this film with me felt extremely uncomfortable at the gay scenes involving the 1936 music composer. I mean, sure he's gay we get that and we can empathize with his lovelife but I felt that the Wachowski's went overboard with the 'feel sorry for homos' stuff. On the other hand, was the revealing if mercifully brief sex scene involving Sonmi really necessary? A kissing scene would have sufficed. If I want to watch the intimate shots of an Asian woman GRINDING on some guy's penis, I would simply go to a porn site. Oh and what the hell is with the White-guy-with-Asian-makeup-to-make-them-look-Asian **** I dont mind the gender swaps in some of the plotlines. In fact, it just shows how talented actors like Weaving, Berry, Hanks and Grant be. Putting prosthetic makeup on a white guy to make him look Asian is not only laughable at viewing but is also ultimately offensive. Why not just hire a Asian actor? Would the plot really have suffered if they had not used the same actor seen in other plotlines? Apart from those little niggles, the film excels in other departments. Cinematography is excellent, the acting brilliant and the film of the best in recent times. I just felt that the Cloud Atlas Sextet is ultimately underutilized in the film as a whole. Its often too faint to be heard or too brief to make an impact. Thankfully, the credits serves this purpose but at the end of the day, had they used the score more and in appropriate scenes, I felt that the movie would have benefited a lot more. While all six plotlines are great, in the end, the ones that felt most well done and enjoyable are without a doubt Rey's 1973 plot, Cavendish's 2012 plot and the Post-Apocalyptic Zachary plot. On the note of Zachary's story, it actually got me intrigued on the premise of it - so apparently the world collapsed under some cataclysm and humanity had been reduced to primitive tribes and a handful of still advance humans. I would've love to hear more about what happened at The Fall, how the Prescients had survived this and where they were in this era, what happened to the empty lands of the world after The Fall and on the colonies on the other planets. All in all, Cloud Atlas is a brilliant film that rewards the viewer with an emotional gift but at the expense of sitting through nearly 3 hours of elongated plotlines filled with action, drama and dull, unnecessary moments. This should've been a 2~2.5 hour film in this standard OR a 3 hour that's filled with info. Instead we get a 3 hour film that is essentially a 2 hour film stretched to its brim with rudimentary moments. You may hate it, you may love, but at the end of the day, it will have an impact on your movie-watching experience. An ambitious title that could've been a lot better had its significant flaws been ironed out and the Cloud Atlas sextet been utilized more frequently. Expand
  10. Dec 24, 2012
    A three-hour investment to watch a film that has generated ridiculously bad reviews from most of the major critics is such a risky decision especially when the film has also failed at the box-office meaning that not even the audiences have liked the film. BUT! Cloud Atlas is much more than that. This is not a child's play to incorporate six different storylines in a single film especially when they all are so complex and their interrelation seems nearly impossible at times. Hats off to the Wachowski Brothers and Tom Tykwer for their tremendous effort by making a film whose novel is already complicated but the way they have executed the entire film is marvelous. I don't have words to describe how impressed I am with their work on this film, it is utterly excellent. Honestly, at first, the film seemed like a disappointment to me, I was trying so hard to figure out what does all of it mean which was preventing me from the main purpose i.e. enjoying the film. But gradually, throughout these three hours, I started understanding what is going on and it finally started making a LITTLE sense. Of course, everyone has their own interpretations about the film but the real and common one is that "everything is connected, your past may affect your present as well as your future." This can be thought of like that every individual's actions in a particular storyline affects the actions of other individuals in the different storylines. It can be seen like a phase in a human life, in which a person is bad at first, then he realizes that he is doing wrong and then in the end, he finally stands up for what is right. But this explanation doesn't fit all the individuals' stories like Hugo Weaving, he is evil in all of the storylines and maybe it's because his soul never realizes that it is doing wrong. Neither does it fit Tom Hanks' stories because he is a bad, greedy guy in the first storyline and then he becomes a good person and after that he becomes a bad person again and then finally, in the last stoyline, he becomes a good person, which doesn't make any sense. The more you try to figure out the plot of the film and interpret it in different ways, the more you start finding different explanations of how it could be possible. The film's brilliant (and far more complicated than I first thought) storyline is supported by phenomenal performances by the entire cast members. Every single one of them has played his/her roles wonderfully and that is also supported by the factor of beautiful make-up and styling to completely adapt them in their respective roles in different storylines. It completely blows you away, you can't even recognize that there are the same individuals in all of the storylines. Visual effects are great and so is the cinematography. Screenplay is really clever, because I have been reading that it varies from the novel and inverts the ending of all the storylines and it still has been incorporated properly and doesn't seem wrong. I might not read the novel because if I do, I'd be confused again and I don't want that. This is really not an all-audiences film, most of the people are not liking it because of the complications in the storylines and the confusing narrative but what it actually demands is your complete concentration because without it, you cannot understand what the real message and the purpose of this film really is, what exactly are the Wachowski Brothers trying to deliver to us, why did they choose to make this movie. All of the questions are answered if you watch the movie with complete attention and remember everything from the beginning until the end, it is really important. Cloud Atlas is easily one of the most complicated and daring films I have ever watched in my life. From the rough idea, you can guess that it would fail miserably but the Wachowski Brothers still made it for us because it is necessary to remind everyone what the real power of filmmaking is! Expand
  11. Dec 23, 2012
    Possibly one the greatest movies I've seen. The Wachowski's have done it again. I created an account just for the sole reason of writing a review on this film. It inspired me so much. This is what visionary cinema is all about. Yes, its 3 hours long. Yes, it's complex. Yes, there where moments where I couldn't quite work out what was happening, however, I accepted this challenge and the rewards were immense. If you are awoken, you will see the undercurrent to this movie. That's the people giving it 10 scores. Those who give this anything less than 5 should perhaps restrict themselves to movies such as the Expendables or the Transformers franchise. Something that lasts 1hr15mins to keep the attention and with a plot line you could follow as a 5 year old. This is NOT that film. I've never watched the same movie twice at a cinema.. this will be the first. It's a master piece and will be a cult classic. And the soundtrack is glorious! Expand
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Dec 17, 2012
    The Wachowski Siblings and Tom Tykwer join forces, and they deliver their best work since The Matrix and Run Lola Run, respectively. Cloud Atlas was quite an undertaking that tackles 6 different storylines from 6 different timelines; some of which hosts different genres - ranging from dark comedy to broad sci-fi action. Each story contains the reincarnate of all the main characters, which spans race and gender. And thanks to the divisive make-up designs, the actors were able to cross these demographics and respectively play their reincarnates (or past lives). This was such a creative move made by the directors and I do applaud them for that. I question the degree of connection between a few of these story arcs; but the film was made with so much structural complexity and such grandiosity, it Expand
  15. Dec 16, 2012
    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 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
  16. Dec 11, 2012
    Anyone who doesn't like this movie is just stupid.

    It's way beyond the Matrix in terms of philosophy, plot complexity, and so forth. It's not as obsessed with action as it is the interconnected weavings of characters, which is central to the entire film. The point is that "our lives are not our own," and it shows this in a way no other film ever could.
  17. 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
  18. Dec 4, 2012
    If you didn't like this movie then you weren't intelligent enough to get it. And if you were obsessed with believing that this film is racist in any way then you REALLY didn't comprehend it. That's all I have to say on the matter. Wonderful piece of art.
  19. Dec 2, 2012
    If the source novel from David Mitchell is claimed to be "the most impossible one to be adapted to a feature film", the true grit behind the director trio alone merits some accolade. But the critical box-office feedback firmly suggests they will never retrieve the gargantuan budget (over 100,000,000$ for production and nothing else), while being under the barrage of divisive reviews from the critics, an ominous pre-watch hunch could never be dissolved until I finally watched it on the super-big screen (not as large as an IMAX) in the cinema, and I must confess it comes out far "stunning" than I had expected.

    Graphically bountiful visual stunts of 6 inter-linked stories which stretch across different eras (from primitive tribe to a clone-ed future world) certainly has paid off its lengthy running time, 172 minutes passed by fleetingly with more anticipation was still hanging there when the ending credits inconveniently started to roll. CLOUD ATLAS is a cleverly designed omnibus, using same actors playing multiple roles in different sub-stories, consistently establishes a sense of reincarnation and an almost sacred disposition to influence a more elusive and conscience-contingent point-of-view into its viewer
  20. 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
  21. Nov 28, 2012
    Not a good film for the dumb. What you are experiencing is a complex weaving of lives, all of which are basically the same, lived from different points in time and space. The best way to understand the film is to walk around a populated area and image yourself as the other people. That old black woman, I was her once. She was me once. And so on. "Our lives are not our own." It's not all THAT complicated. But that's the gist of the film. Reviewers who didn't like how it was done didn't stop to think about why it was done that way. That is exactly why it was done that way. Expand
  22. Nov 27, 2012
    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.
  23. Nov 26, 2012
    Genres can be a constriction on a film, letting itself be restricted by boundaries set by the type of film it is. It is more often than not, the movies that defy their genre which intrigue and
  24. Nov 23, 2012
    This is actually not one, but 6 great movies in one nice packing. The movies are connected by the idea of modern humanism (mostly the idea of freedom), by the recurring actors (some play up to 6 different roles) and certain catch phrases. Agent Smith is brilliant in all his roles, especially the female one. This movie has a little bit of everything: futuristic sci-fi, drama, action, a little bit of comedy, a little bit of a detective story, some love, some friendship, but at the same time it's very different from what Hollywood usually has to offer in a good sense of novelty and originality. Expand
  25. Nov 23, 2012
    This is a profoundly 'good' film. Not only in it's production, it's plot and the quality of the directing, acting, music and visual effects, though all are impeccable.

    It is also a genuinely touching film, making the world a slightly better place just by having been made.

    We only get gems like this a few times in a lifetime, I would easily count this among the best movies I have ever seen.
  26. 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.
  27. Nov 20, 2012
    This is probably one of the greatest movies I've ever seen. The problems with it are very minor that I see people making a large issue of, or it's that they didn't catch what the movie was portraying. Which I don't blame them. I didn't see nearly as much on my first viewing. The stories are very well tied together despite how it may make it look like they're not. They tend to focus a lot more on the storytelling than they do on the actual links between timelines. Understandably so, for the movie was already a bit long. Expand
  28. Nov 20, 2012
    amazing movie,i need to see it again!
    Forget the critics,go see it! cloud atlas is one of the best movies of the year!
    and you never will see a movie like this anymore.
  29. Nov 20, 2012
    I rarely use this rating. But I left the theater saying and feeling that the movie was PERFECT. Well paced and cast. The Movie has so many small details that cause you to want to go back and rewatch it over and over again.

    Half the fun of the film is figuring out who is playing who in each time line and discovering the connections that bring each of the main characters together. The
    writing is top notch and so is the visuals. I can't wait to buy it and watch the movie at home with my wife.....for the 20th time Expand
  30. Nov 18, 2012
    This movies near-perfect editing is astounding. Sure, it may be a little gimmicky, but the real masterpiece to behold is the way they seamlessly transition from scene to scene with a related topic, yet it transitions to a different experience entirely. Best way I can explain it; you're flipping the channel between 6 movies for 3 hours, but every time you change the channel it relates to the movie you switched to, and it all has a time-transcending theme. The 6 movies not only differ in time, or character, but they also differ in Genre. Historical Fiction, Romance, Suspense Thriller, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Post-Sci-Fi (post apocalyptic). How they manage to lump it all together into an ADD-reminiscent experience, yet still be successfully coherent is beyond me. Expand

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.