Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Apr 9, 2012
    100
    Nothing has exploded on the screen in recent years as violently as that mad quarrel in a tiny room - a room that is Israel itself. [16 April 2012, p.86]
  2. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Mar 22, 2012
    100
    Israeli writer-director Joseph Cedar imbues his tale of academic maneuvering, misunderstanding and mystery with the zest of passion and the zing of intrigue, It's a vivacious film, having its little fun with suspense-flick conventions (including Amit Poznansky's bouncing score) that build to a climactic finish.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Mar 14, 2012
    100
    It's one of the smartest and most merciless comedies to come along in a while. It centers on an area of fairly narrow interest, but in its study of human nature, it is deep and takes no prisoners.
  4. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Mar 7, 2012
    100
    Footnote is itself a perfect little piece of Talmud, full of text, commentary, and colorful argument.
  5. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 22, 2012
    90
    Some of the behavior of Uriel and Eliezer will make you squirm. But Ashkenazi and Bar-Aba are so compelling in their performances of difficult men that you'll gladly suffer.
  6. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Mar 15, 2012
    90
    Intensely specific in story yet wide-ranging in themes, with a tone that turns on a dime from comic absurdity to close to tragedy, this is brainy, bravura filmmaking of the highest level, a motion picture that is as difficult to pigeonhole as it is a pleasure to enjoy.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Mar 10, 2012
    90
    Footnote has two of the best performances I've seen in world cinema over the past year: One from Shlomo Bar Aba (apparently best known in Israel as a stand-up comic and stage actor), playing the aging, bitter philologist Eliezer Shkolnik, and the other from Lior Ashkenazi, one of the country's best known movie stars, as his son and rival, Uriel.
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Mar 8, 2012
    90
    Footnote does function as a character study, an exceptionally rich one.
  9. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 8, 2012
    90
    It is a truism that academic arguments are so passionate because the stakes are so small. Footnote, a wonderful new film from the American-born Israeli director Joseph Cedar, at once affirms this conventional wisdom and calls it into question.
  10. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Mar 4, 2012
    90
    Joseph Cedar's Footnote is a wry, wise little film that revels in the cataclysmic import of a life's most ostensibly trivial details.
  11. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Apr 26, 2012
    88
    Cedar is mostly interested in the father-son dynamics, and he cast excellent actors. Lewensohn, a famous Israeli theatrical director, makes his film acting debut, while the veteran Ashkenazi ("Late Wedding") handles his low-key role with bearlike grace.
  12. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Mar 15, 2012
    88
    The main thing with Cedar's film, I think, is to approach it not as a farce, not as a drama, not as a mystery, not as any genre in particular. It's a comic nightmare, in the vein of the Coen brothers' "A Serious Man," and Cedar proves masterly at playing the stakes for real.
  13. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Mar 9, 2012
    85
    The movie is not a story but a text, and Cedar is its playfully intrusive interpreter.
  14. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Mar 6, 2012
    80
    Cedar's idiosyncratically brilliant script also has a moral question at its heart: Is lying to spare someone's feelings ever justified? Surely the Talmud has a thing or two to say about that.
  15. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Apr 11, 2012
    78
    This is a film that skims the surface layer of politesse from human interactions and reveals us as the blustering bundles of ego that we all are.
  16. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 13, 2012
    75
    Footnote is faintly comic, and director Joseph Cedar mines dark humor from the humiliations of identity checks and pecking orders.
  17. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Mar 23, 2012
    75
    Most footnotes don't get a passing glance, but this one proves worthy of careful study.
  18. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Mar 23, 2012
    75
    At its best when it gets into the cutthroat dynamics of academic competition, which are both horrifying and amusing.
  19. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Mar 9, 2012
    75
    Once it calms down and stops trying to be funny, it turns into a thoughtful and intriguing drama.
  20. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Mar 7, 2012
    75
    The love, jealousy, and stubborn pride of the relationship between Ashkenazi and Bar-Aba is the heart of the film, and that makes the deliberately uncertain note of the ending particularly frustrating.
  21. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Mar 7, 2012
    75
    What Cedar captures here is the way a father and son can be bound so tightly they almost choke the air out of one another. You can't exactly call it affection; it's that far more complicated thing we call kinship.
  22. 75
    A father-son academic rivalry provides fodder for this caustic comedy set in the Talmud Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  23. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Mar 6, 2012
    70
    Something between a comedy of everyday absurdity and a family tragedy pushed into the realm of the hyper-real, Footnote uses its characters' differing relationships to authenticity as the basis for an enigmatic riff on representation.
  24. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Mar 22, 2012
    63
    Footnote culminates with stirring gravity that you wish Cedar had the confidence - in himself, his material, and us - to sustain. Both Uriel's dilemma and his father's are unenviable, even as you understand the deep guilt, sense of conflict, and hubris this mix-up provokes.
  25. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Mar 4, 2012
    60
    Jewish and academically inclined audiences worldwide will respond to numerous aspects of this unusual drama, although it is paradoxically both too broad and too esoteric for the general art house public.
  26. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Mar 4, 2012
    60
    Footnote is a decidedly male-centric film. Structurally, the picture is divided into named chapters that make for cute markers but give it the not-entirely satisfying feel of a jaunty satire.
  27. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Mar 4, 2012
    50
    Joseph Cedar's Footnote is a sour, rather unpleasant affair that hinges on acts of Jews behaving badly.
User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Dec 12, 2012
    9
    An impeccably written character study from Israel that is at times exhilarating, angry, passionate, funny, provocative, and is never less thanAn impeccably written character study from Israel that is at times exhilarating, angry, passionate, funny, provocative, and is never less than absolutely absorbing. The writing, first of all, is due the most praise. It is so focused and attuned to the tone of the story that I instantly knew these two men. I was never left scratching my head at any point, lost in all of the talk of Talmud scholarship. The acting is amazingly restrained. The two actors who play father and son, competing in the same, very small field, are astounding. I feel as though they have lived these lives and completely understand the relationship they have and only through their eyes. I would only dismiss Full Review »
  2. Lyn
    Oct 7, 2014
    7
    This tense but at times funny film takes father-son tension to a place we haven't really seen before -- the Talmud runs through it. Not aThis tense but at times funny film takes father-son tension to a place we haven't really seen before -- the Talmud runs through it. Not a single character is wholly sympathetic, which makes the drama brave and engrossing. It is wrenching to see the son's fierce defense of his father -- in a tiny room crowded with academic egos -- and wonder not only whether he'll ever receive anything back, but whether he'll be able to do better with his own son. The action slows down and I did wish for a bit of resolution that never quite came. Full Review »
  3. Apr 22, 2012
    10
    A brilliant film. Academic infighting provides the comedy, and father-son relationship provides the pathos. Not for anyone who does not knowA brilliant film. Academic infighting provides the comedy, and father-son relationship provides the pathos. Not for anyone who does not know what "philology" is, but for audiences that lament the absence of intelligent films, this is a must. Full Review »