Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. The biggest little movie of the year - and one of the best ever about the news media.
  2. 100
    Vividly re- creates TV news icon Edward R. Murrow's historic face-off with Sen. Joseph McCarthy in devastatingly low-key detail -- is the right movie at the right time.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The only things missing from making this showdown worthy of a Western is Murrow's sheriff's badge, a dusty street and maybe a spittoon for McCarthy's infamous invectives.
  4. 100
    The other key character is McCarthy himself, and Clooney uses a masterstroke: He employs actual news footage of McCarthy, who therefore plays himself.
  5. It'll preach mainly to the choir - lazy thinkers won't attend, despite George Clooney's attachment as director and actor - but maybe it'll wake a few sleepers.
  6. 100
    You go to Good Night, and Good Luck expecting inspiration, and you get it. It's also unexpectedly subtle, tense, and challenging, complex both in its take on its subject and in its craftsmanship. So the movie brings you to your feet - and, at times, to tears.
  7. A riveting movie that's as entertaining as it is socially and politically important.
  8. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    It's a passionate, serious, impeccably crafted movie tackling a subject Clooney cares about deeply: the duty of journalism to speak truth to power. It also happens to be the most compelling American movie of the year so far.
  9. A paragon of subtlety. Yet this message is exactly what we carry out of the theater, and it lingers on with a powerful resonance.
  10. Couldn't be more unlikely, more unfashionable -- or more compelling.
  11. He [Clooney] has found a cogent subject, an urgent set of ideas and a formally inventive, absolutely convincing way to make them live on screen.
  12. 90
    This is an elegant and stirring entertainment about the hard-drinking, hard-smoking reporters of "See It Now," the show that Murrow and the producer Fred Friendly put together every week.
  13. Langella is terrific in a small but critical role as CBS president William Paley, although the one essential problem with the film is that it never clearly delineates the jobs fulfilled by the cluster of other newsroom employees that are always huddled about.
  14. 88
    In ninety-three tight, terrifically exciting minutes, Clooney makes integrity look mighty sexy.
  15. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    That the film should have the look and feel of a classic teleplay by, say, Rod Serling, is probably no accident -- the style is one more reminder of just how regrettably short of Murrow's vision we've fallen.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    A puzzle: a hermetically sealed period piece so intensely relevant to our current state of affairs that it takes your breath away.
  17. 88
    Like other actors who successfully create a cinematic doppelganger of a real person, Strathairn gets under the character's skin.
  18. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    David Strathairn, playing Murrow, follows his writers' lead beautifully, delivering a performance that's all understatement on the surface and searing fire underneath.
  19. Good Night, and Good Luck has a small-scale time-capsule fascination, yet its hermeticism is really a form of moral caution -- a way of keeping the issues neat, the liberal idealism untainted.
  20. A solid achievement, but those in the press who have been trumpeting its greatness may be going in for a bit of self-congratulation. The movie plays very well to the choir.
  21. 83
    An unusual and absorbing, if somewhat preachy film.
  22. Reviewed by: Simon Crook
    Provocative, principled and richly detailed, this is compelling stuff. Emotionally it’s a little dry, but as brain-food, it’s absolutely invigorating.
  23. 80
    It doesn't sacrifice craftsmanship and elegance at the altar of its strong convictions.
  24. Good Night, and Good Luck's primary handicap is history itself -- the toe-to-toe televised dialogue between McCarthy and Murrow was, however arguably vital to the Wisconsin senator's eventual retreat, brief and less than epochal. Even so, the wonderfully mustered context wins out.
  25. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    A passionate and rousing piece of filmmaking--a civics lesson with the punch of a good melodrama.
  26. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A vital chapter of mid-century history is brought to life concisely, with intimacy and matter-of-fact artistry.
  27. Many movies these days are too long; this one, at 90 minutes, feels too short. That's because its purpose is so sharply defined: a tight close-up, in black and white, of a single, seminal moment -- a black and white moment -- in American history, and American journalism.
  28. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    The result, then, is good, not great. But it is hard to come by good films about media and politics, and why the intersection thereof matters so much in a democracy.
  29. 75
    None-too-subtly implies Murrow could easily be talking about the present day.
  30. An entertaining slice of American political and cultural history.
  31. Good Night, and Good Luck may be simplified history, but it's almost consistently well-crafted.
  32. Moviegoers who know their American political history will respond to the film's immediacy and forgive the film's tight focus and narrow view. Anyone hoping for an entertaining drama about newsmen and politics along the lines of "All the President's Men" will be disappointed.
  33. 70
    Though I'm not fully convinced that cool and jazzy is the way to go with one of the great civil-rights battles of 20th-century America, George Clooney's elegantly muted take on Edward R. Murrow's fight with Joe McCarthy offers many riches, notably a wicked character study of Murrow and a sexy homage to the pleasures of teamwork when the team is a bunch of smart-ass liberal reporters making common cause against a wannabe dictator.
  34. 70
    Where "Quiz Show" elevated its story to the level of Shakespearean tragedy, Clooney's film is too lightweight to reach such tragic heights. In part, it's too short--at 90 minutes, including musical interludes and lengthy monologues taken whole-cloth from the historical record, Good Night breezes by effortlessly when it really needs time and space to build up to appropriately epic dimensions.
  35. Clooney may be a specialist in embattled camaraderie--he helped revive "Ocean's Eleven," after all--but as in that caper remake, there's no depth to these characterizations, and Downey and Clarkson are squandered in a goes-nowhere subplot about their secret marriage.
  36. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    There is more to the intertwined stories of Murrow and McCarthy than this simpleminded, rhetorically driven movie begins to encompass.
  37. The film, therefore, is like a child's view of these events, untroubled by complexity, hungry for myth and simplicity.
  38. Yet the McCarthy/Murrow conflict in the picture is not pressing enough--these days, anyway--to justify the considerable skill expended on it.
  39. The film adopts, somewhat insidiously, the myth that life was simpler back in 1953 and '54, and it offers Murrow as a lesson for today.
  40. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    Clooney has littered his film with such a high quantity of mistakes that it is hard to know where exactly to begin finding fault.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 151 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 75
  2. Negative: 11 out of 75
  1. Feb 22, 2012
    "Good Night, and Good Luck" isn't really a masterpiece as the critics claim, but it has it's sophisticated entertainment values thanks to the"Good Night, and Good Luck" isn't really a masterpiece as the critics claim, but it has it's sophisticated entertainment values thanks to the wonderful direction / performance of George Clooney and his crew. Full Review »
  2. Feb 7, 2014
    The acting is great, but this film is classic director George Clooney for me. It is a very interesting subject matter that moves at a snail'sThe acting is great, but this film is classic director George Clooney for me. It is a very interesting subject matter that moves at a snail's pace and all interest in the story is lost, ultimately winding up being a quite boring film. I wanted to like it, but I simply cannot.

    However, I felt as though the black and white worked well, as I said before, the acting was really well done, and I really liked the blending of the real newscasts with the events going on in the screening room.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 7, 2013
    Good film. Great cast. George Clooney directs the heck out of this film; I liked his subtle approach of the material, but I also feel likeGood film. Great cast. George Clooney directs the heck out of this film; I liked his subtle approach of the material, but I also feel like that held the film back a bit. Also, it's a little short. Full Review »