Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. 91
    Though its procedural goes a little soft in the middle, Gone Baby Gone quietly accumulates in power, leading to one of the more subtly devastating final shots in recent memory.
  2. 88
    Gone Baby Gone is full of dark secrets, and how they unravel will keep you glued.
  3. 88
    The result is a superior police procedural, and something more -- a study in devious human nature.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    There is a compelling ethical question raised skillfully that will haunt viewers. The poignant conclusion probably will incite debate.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    The joke's on us, it turns out; as a director, Affleck has come through with a sharp, morally ambiguous piece of pulp crackerjack.
  6. 88
    Gone Baby Gone is powerful stuff - a movie that derives its plot twists from moral conundrums rather than from narrative sleight of hand.
  7. Gone Baby Gone would be an accomplishment with anyone at the helm; from a first-timer, it's a revelation.
  8. 83
    It's a fine debut, far more grounded, plausible and engrossing than most Hollywood thrillers.
  9. 83
    In the strongest scenes, Ben Affleck gets his lead actors to extract the bitter juice from Lehane's wood-alcohol prose. The movie has its horrifying Gothic twists and turns, but it's never better than when it takes these two into places where the underclass goes to forget or be forgotten or get lost.
  10. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    80
    It's a tribute to this thoughtful, deeply poignant, splendidly executed film that we replay the conclusion in our minds long after the lights come on.
  11. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    80
    A superior, haunting thriller of abduction, deception and ethical dilemma with a sobering ending - a moral quandary that demands strong debate outside the cinema.
  12. Reviewed by: Jim Ridley
    80
    In his strikingly downbeat directorial debut, Affleck has created something of a blue-moon rarity: an American movie of genuine moral complexity.
  13. One of the graces of Gone Baby Gone is its sensitivity to real struggle, to the lived-in spaces and worn-out consciences that can come when despair turns into nihilism.
  14. 80
    Ben Affleck directed and cowrote the script; his biggest gamble was casting his irksome little brother as a pistol-whipping tough guy, but the picture is so superbly executed in every other respect that Casey seems more quirky than miscast.
  15. 75
    The only real casualty of Lehane's novel is Angie, here reduced to a supporting player who bears no resemblance to the original character, who is every bit as smart and tough and interesting as her boyfriend. It's a regrettable loss in a film that otherwise indicates its first-time director knows what he's doing.
  16. The film's standout performance belongs to Ed Harris, who plays a Boston detective with decades of experience and an equal amount of built-up resentment toward people who would harm children.
  17. 75
    For all of Affleck's skill, he can't entirely put over a credulity-straining ending that probably worked better on the printed page. At the same time, the deeply disturbing windup of "Gone Baby Gone" is a real talker. And that's not something you can say about many movies these days.
  18. Casey's big brother has made a tough, taut mystery.
  19. A story so good that maybe anybody could have turned out something decent.
  20. 75
    Fans of Lehane's Kenzie-Gennaro books will lament the fact that starting with the fourth book means losing the couple's extensive backstory, but the essence of their fragile, damaged bond comes through even if you don't know what shaped it.
  21. 70
    Doesn’t always hit all the right notes...But in the end, Affleck displays a surprisingly sure hand, and Gone Baby Gone largely delivers.
  22. Casey Affleck has never had a pedestal like the one his brother provides him, and he earns it. His Patrick is pale and raspy, with a slight grogginess that gives him an astounding vulnerability--and makes his bursts of temper shocking.
  23. By and large a notable piece of work, a strong directing debut by actor Ben Affleck that highlights attention-getting performances...But, as adapted from the novel by Dennis Lehane, this brooding, somber film is also ragged around the edges and not without problematic aspects.
  24. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    70
    Moral ambiguity is the real star of Ben Affleck's helming debut, Gone Baby Gone, an involving Boston-set tale of mixed motives, selflessness and perfidy in the wake of a 4-year-old girl's disappearance.
  25. The movie is taut, fast, achingly authentic and terribly melancholy.
  26. As a leading man, Casey Affleck has a nebbishy quality and a mumbly speaking voice that I personally find disruptive to a movie's flow.
  27. Affleck the director shows excellent instincts, not least of which is letting his younger brother, Casey, hold the center as a young guy not as smaht as he thinks he is.
  28. The story is patently implausible and unnecessarily confusing, and it works to a moral dilemma for its hero -- and a trick ending for the audience -- that resolves the action with so little satisfaction that you wish they hadn't bothered.
  29. The film is reasonably effective all the same, though Affleck has yet to learn how to conduct each scene like a musical score, paying attention to matters of tempo and dynamics.
  30. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    63
    It's been well-publicized that Affleck, going for as authentic a feel as possible, cast many genuine South Bostoners in both extra and speaking roles, and, while that's salutary, in some scenes his strategy backfires, yielding caricatures that are merely more vivid than the ones turned out by Central Casting Hollywood productions.
  31. Very few movies end so much better than they begin. For that reason, and only that reason, this is an exceptional picture.
  32. 60
    Ben Affleck is smart about setting the scene -- he's even better at it than Clint Eastwood was in another Lehane adaptation, "Mystic River." But he's less adept at defining individual personalities, at making us care about the characters who deserve our sympathy -- or, maybe more important, the ones who don't.
  33. 60
    Ben Affleck probably respects Lehane the genre writer (there are five books with Patrick Kenzie as the hero) more than he should. He also has some way to go before he becomes a good director of action.
  34. Storytelling problems surface toward the overwrought climax, but the worst problem is the unrelenting grimness. It's hard to like a movie that leaves you with no hope.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 175 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 83
  2. Negative: 8 out of 83
  1. Jan 25, 2011
    8
    A gritty down and dirty Boston flick that leaves you pondering questions that you may find you don't have an answer for. If you are the type that doesn't enjoy a movie with a happy ending that don't even put Gone Baby Gone into your DVD player as it will leave you with an empty feeling inside and will eat away at you logic and ethical viewpoints. If on the other hand you can handle a depressing ending than Gone Baby Gone is a movie that provokes a myriad of question and ethical discussion topics while also providing top notch acting and superb directing by first timer Ben Affleck. Full Review »
  2. Aug 31, 2014
    7
    As far as directorial debuts go, this is the type of film new directors would kill to be a part of. Ben Affleck creates a moving tale set in Boston, with several award-worthy performances from Casey Affleck and Amy Ryan. Full Review »
  3. Aug 15, 2014
    8
    Casey Affleck needs much more credit than he has to his name. His acting was both believable and really challenges the viewer to walk in his shoes for the 2 hours. Without offering any spoilers if you are a fan of the crime genre and like a good detective drama, this is one for the screen! The language isn't that great, but for the time and place they are in, it fits. It isn't used for 'humor' or 'entertainment' which can make it easier to deal with. I love it's challenge on morality. Full Review »