Elena Image
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 9 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

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  • Summary: Elena, a young Brazilian woman, travels to New York with dreams of becoming an actress. She leaves behind a childhood spent in hiding during the military dictatorship, and she leaves behind Petra, her seven-year-old sister. Two decades later, Petra goes to New York to pursue acting and inElena, a young Brazilian woman, travels to New York with dreams of becoming an actress. She leaves behind a childhood spent in hiding during the military dictatorship, and she leaves behind Petra, her seven-year-old sister. Two decades later, Petra goes to New York to pursue acting and in search of Elena. But the film (and the filmmaker) cannot escape the similarities between Petra and Elena’s stories, and as they overlap, they begin to blur.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    May 27, 2014
    100
    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: John Anderson
    May 29, 2014
    91
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Katie Walsh
    May 29, 2014
    91
    This is avant-garde autobiographical filmmaking at its finest, and the results are stunningly beautiful, and achingly emotional within a lyrical and dreamlike aesthetic.
  4. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    May 29, 2014
    80
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Jun 12, 2014
    80
    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: Robert Everett-Green
    Aug 8, 2014
    75
    Elena is at once a portrait, an autobiography and a history of family trauma.
  7. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    May 30, 2014
    63
    Intimate and impressionistic but ultimately a little self-indulgent.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of
  2. Mixed: 0 out of
  3. Negative: 0 out of