Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 33
  2. Negative: 4 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    This is the kind of movie that has always polarized serious film folk, while the public usually elects to stay home and prune shrubs.
  2. 88
    It is a bold, reckless gesture.
  3. Can be unbearably moving or annoyingly mawkish, sometimes in the same scene.
  4. The song-and-dance numbers that make this musical tragedy a celebration of life despite its awfully grim climax.
  5. What is meant to be an innovative, cutting-edge musical melodrama is so jumbled, irrational and amateurish that it makes dinner theater look like the Old Vic.
  6. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    60
    Aside from Bjork's astonishing performance, it's a grim tragedy that's deliberately drab and exceedingly painful to watch.
  7. 40
    Two-and-a-half hour slice of unmitigated depression.
  8. Like a naive modernist hymn made by someone who doesn't, deep down, believe in hymns.
  9. Fairly incompetent as a musical and rather silly as a drama.
  10. 80
    I was astonished to find myself weeping copiously over von Trier's latest, which is another parable of monomaniacal sainthood.
  11. 80
    This is a film like no other this year, and on that grounds alone you should see it.
  12. You may leave this movie exhilarated by its no-holds-barred boldness or annoyed and bewildered at the unpredictable course it takes.
  13. 70
    This deliriously downbeat vehicle for the postpunk diva Björk has generated the controversy the Danish dogmatist has relentlessly court.
  14. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    70
    Slow and depressing, but ultimately haunting film.
  15. My only reason to recommend this movie is that there's nothing quite like it.
  16. Both stupefyingly bad and utterly overpowering; it can elicit, sometimes within a single scene, a gasp of rapture and a spasm of revulsion.
  17. 40
    Lars von Trier is a mechanic, not an artist. And his movies are meat grinders he feeds his characters through.
  18. Björk holds the movie together, her natural charisma and the overwhelming intensity of her emotions should blind a lot of viewers to the ludicrousness of the story and the intentionally rotten videography.
  19. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    30
    At times the movie's crudeness has an eerie beauty, but the musical fantasies are a bewildering hash, and the protracted climax on death row is nearly unendurable.
  20. So exasperating in its contradictions, so frustrating in its fakery, so deeply irritating in its pretensions, it's frankly hard to know where to begin to dissect it.
  21. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    20
    A 2½-hour demo of auteurist self-importance that's artistically bankrupt on almost every level.
  22. 89
    Easily the year's most trying, tormented, and thrilling movie ordeal.
  23. 100
    One of the most searing experiences to be had at the movies this year.
  24. (The film is) one of the most anguished, intense and weirdly brilliant of the year.
  25. A movie too smart and too urgent to be categorically awful. Clinically insane may be another matter altogether.
  26. A film of so much daring, a film that takes so many chances, it's impossible not to be impressed.
  27. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    63
    Leaves you questioning its intentions.
  28. If it weren't for a terrific central performance by the Icelandic pop singer Bjork, Dancer in the Dark would be all but unwatchable.
  29. A movie that by turns is wincingly awful and heartbreakingly fine. It boasts an unforgettable performance by Björk.
  30. 75
    Ought to win a prize for sheer audacity.
  31. 90
    For all its fancy pedigree, the spellbinding Dancer in the Dark aims right for the heart and aces its target.
  32. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    80
    Bjork gives what may be the most wrenching performance ever given by someone who has no interest in being an actor.
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 131 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 48
  2. Negative: 3 out of 48
  1. Dec 20, 2010
    10
    Dancer in the Dark is one of my favourite films ever. I cannot help but cry every time I watch it. The excellent performance by Bjork (surprisingly excellent, might I add) and the genius direction of Lars von Trier work perfectly to make one of the best films that have graced the film screen. Intensely disturbing, yet intensely gratifying and rewarding. Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2010
    2
    A movie that will tear your heart apart - that is if you don't tear your eyes out first. It's too bad, because Björk showed so much promise as an actress in the beginning - but by the end her performance just relies on viewer sympathy and nothing else. To give it some credit, the musical sequences are very well done on their own, but they have no stylistic place in this movie Full Review »
  3. Jeremy
    May 2, 2007
    10
    [maybe spoilers] Spectacular movie. Spectacular performances. Had this been done by a major famous Hollywood director, it'd be up for an Oscar - if anything for Bjork's wondrous lead performance. One thing that bothers me most about the critics giving poor reviews (20s, 30s, 40s) is that they blame it on the depression. "This si 2.5 hours of pure depression," or "the climax: with death row unendurable." It bugs me cause THATS WHAT THE MOVIE IS! It's supposed to be gut-wrenching, and heart-wrenching. It's supposed to make you cry. Make you feel. Make you hate it. It drains you mentally and emotionally, and, sometimes, physically. It's not unendurable though, cause you need to see what happens to her. And then that last song and it's pure misery backing it up - it really gets to you. And when it gets cut off.... one of the most depressing and best endings I've seen to a movie. Though probably the most depressing movie I've ever seen, and probably one of the most depressing movies EVER MADE... it's incredibly well done and it ranks among my favorites. Full Review »