Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    A heart-rending account of people trying to dodge the hurdles that politics puts in front of them. By the end of this humanist epic, some are ennobled by their struggle. Most are exhausted.
  2. The creators of the magnificent Balseros stayed involved with its subject, a group of Cuban boat people who made it to the United States, for a full seven years. If you put in that kind of time, you witness life happening in front of you in all its compelling, confounding drama. What could be better than that?
  3. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Brilliantly edited from well over 100 hours of tape, the final two-hour film recalls Michael Apted's 7 UP series.
  4. 88
    The results, for the most part, aren't pretty. The newly expanded Balseros, which adds an hour of footage to the previous film, is an even more compelling, if grimmer, work than the original.
  5. 75
    Well-done documentary.
  6. 80
    Becalmed or bobbing along, they remain balseros -- but then, as this engrossing documentary suggests, so are we all.
  7. 50
    Balseros doesn't fully measure up to Michael Apted's work because of the dingy quality of its video-to-film transfer, as well as flaws inherent to a project that started as one type of documentary and ended up as another--namely, that the filmmakers didn't ask enough of the right questions in the first two installments to make the third fully connect.
  8. 50
    What's fresh for these people is, frankly, old news for anyone who has seen even one or two documentaries on similar subject matter.
  9. 80
    It remains a documentary at heart, full of astonishing glimpses of human resiliency that have nothing to do with artfulness and everything to do with patience, persistence and sympathy.
  10. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    Noteworthy for its detail and evenhandedness.
  11. Full of drama, poignancy and some heartbreaking moments.
  12. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Achieves a rare depth and intimacy in its portrait of dreams fulfilled and shattered.
  13. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    An ambitious, smartly edited documentary epic by a pair of journalists who tenaciously followed their subjects over the course of seven years, the film is both intimate and sweeping.

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