Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. 100
    Rotates its story through satire, comedy, suspense and violence, until it emerges as one of the best films I've ever seen.
  2. 100
    The fans of their best work -- "Blood Simple, "Raising Arizona," "Barton Fink" -- now can add Fargo to the list, pushing the Coens to the first rank of contemporary American filmmakers. [8 March 1996, Friday, p.B]
  3. A crime gem that is darkly funny even when it's chilling -- and certain to become a classic.
  4. 100
    It's a miracle: A tough, honest, bloody film set so far from the bright lights it feels as if it's on a different planet, yet knowable and absolutely compelling from start to finish.
  5. Dizzily rich, witty, and satisfying.
  6. Reviewed by: Arnold Wayne Jones
    100
    Fargo is a concert performance--an illuminating amalgam of emotion and thought. It glimpses into the heart of man and unearths a blackly comic nature, hellishly mercurial and selfish, yet strangely innocent. If it weren't so funny, it would be unbearably disturbing.
  7. Reviewed by: Gabriel J.P. Goldberg
    100
    As gruesome as Fargo is, the Coens keep us laughing with a Hollywood-centric view of middle America.
  8. Reviewed by: Richard T. Jameson
    90
    The Coens are masters at striking a tone and holding it.
  9. For all its exaggerated ordinariness, this film seems to start where others leave off.
  10. Reviewed by: Leonard Klady
    90
    In the darkly humorous Fargo, iconoclastic filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen manage the precarious balancing act of respecting genre conventions and simultaneously pushing them to an almost surrealistic extreme. Very funny stuff.
  11. Frances McDormand enjoys the comedic role of her career.
  12. 90
    The brothers, who have always seemed fond of their characters, have never taken quite so overt a stand for life's simple joys.
  13. 89
    An immersion into the characters' world in toto, from the "Oh geezes" and the "Oh, yaahs" to the dark and flinty core beneath.
  14. The Coens haven't been this sharp, focused and fluid since their first film. This is "Blood Simple's" promise fulfilled.
  15. 80
    This mordant, macabre look at the American obsession with fast food, television and murder is icily funny.
  16. With the perfect assist from their actors, all of whom are well in on the joke, this affectionate look at the frozen North brings the Coens back in from the cold.
  17. The Coen brothers wrote McDormand’s role best. Much of the time they seem to have had “Pulp Fiction” in their ears--strings of incongruous banalities; but with this pregnant cop, they struck some gold of their own. [March 25, 1996]
  18. What mainly registers is the quiet desperation and simple pleasures of ordinary midwestern lives, the fatuous ways that people cover up their emotional and intellectual gaps, and the alternating pointlessness and cuteness of human existence. This may be a masterpiece of sorts, but it left me feeling rotten.
  19. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    Lean, mean and mordant black comedy.
  20. 75
    It's easy to admire what the Coens are trying to do in Fargo, but more difficult to actually like the film.
  21. Reviewed by: Keith Simanton
    70
    Uniquely fascinating.
  22. Reviewed by: Frank Lovece
    60
    Born and raised in Minnesota, the Coens know their targets well and generally hit them squarely.
  23. Reviewed by: Laura Miller
    50
    To the extent that the joke is on us, the audience, and the decadent taste we've acquired for flashy violence, it works; point taken.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    40
    All attitude and low aptitude.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 263 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 61
  2. Negative: 5 out of 61
  1. Sep 30, 2011
    9
    The Coen Brothers presents "Fargo" not as a movie; they present it as a extreme state of art, a art that conveys silence and enlightenment altogether. If you are one of those people who really understand movies, this one's definitely for you. Full Review »
  2. Jul 6, 2011
    0
    This movie won two Oscars...it must have been a bad year at the movies. The movie never can decide if it wants to be a comedy or a thriller. Dorky cops, quirky characters that seem to have escaped from a slapstick flick, yet a brutal killer is at work, too. It doesn't go together. It's never funny, never believable, never exciting. In short, a waste of time. Full Review »
  3. Dec 30, 2011
    4
    Fargo is not thrilling nor is it funny nor is it great. The Coen brothers film lack's suspense because most of the story is layed out for the viewer. The character's are all jerks except for Marge who is slightly annoying and stupid. Many people will say im not respecting the art that is put into Fargo but I just don't see it. The film's simplicity does not go to it's advantage because it does not give the viewer anything special about it. In the end Fargo is a crime comedy that is average with it's crime story and is a film that is not very funny. Full Review »