Universal acclaim - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    May 27, 2014
    A pained and gorgeous summoning, Petra Costa's haunted doc Elena dances with death, memory, and family, seducing viewers and then breaking their hearts.
  2. Reviewed by: Katie Walsh
    May 29, 2014
    This is avant-garde autobiographical filmmaking at its finest, and the results are stunningly beautiful, and achingly emotional within a lyrical and dreamlike aesthetic.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    May 29, 2014
    Shot like a dream, spoken like an elegy, it takes nonfiction where it seldom wants to go – away from the comforting embrace of fact and into a realm of expressionistic possibility.
  4. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    May 29, 2014
    Elena is an elegiac cinematic essay that is both haunting and unforgettable.
  5. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Jun 12, 2014
    The result is a type of cinematic performance art, with all the self-consciousness that suggests — a sibling love story that's no less heartfelt for being in the form of a first-person poem.
  6. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    May 29, 2014
    With its free-floating imagery, Elena unfolds like a cinematic dream whose central image is water, which symbolizes the washing away of grief. But more than that, it represents the stream of life, with beautiful images of women floating through time.
  7. Elena is at once a portrait, an autobiography and a history of family trauma.
  8. Reviewed by: Diego Semerene
    May 27, 2014
    This is a film about the invisible things passed down from generation to generation, that nasty inheritance that cages us into patterns and puzzles we try to solve in someone else's name.
  9. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    May 30, 2014
    Intimate and impressionistic but ultimately a little self-indulgent.

Awards & Rankings

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