Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Sydney (Hall) is a poker-faced professional gambler with a soft heart for a hard luck story. He plays guardian angel to unlucky John (Reilly) and a hooker, Clementine (Paltrow), whom he grows to love like family. When John's and Clementine's honeymoon night leads to a disastrous hostage situation, Sydney takes care of it, as usual. But when slick casino pro Jimmy (Jackson) threatens to reveal a secret from Sydney's past that could destroy his relationship with the newlyweds, Sydney decides to hedge his bets and not leave anything to chance. (Sony) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. 100
    One of the best films of the year.
  2. 100
    Anderson, who makes as impressive a directing debut as has been seen in some time, creates a perfectly modulated mystery that doesn't even feel like one. It's a character play, and Hall, Reilly and Paltrow are so convincingly damaged they take on the properties of fine china.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    90
    Four excellent lead performances, vividly evoked ambience and a masterfully sustained mood of quiet desperation mark Sydney as an impressive piece of work.
  4. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson crafts a plot of manipulation and chance, in which some zigs and zags are more convincing than others. Still, his feel for scuzz, for people living at the raw extremes of appetite, is palpable.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    We accept the sincerity and altruistic motives of the aging loner he (Philip Baker Hall) portrays in this consciously spare Nevada-set sleeper. [13 March 1997, p. 8D]
  6. 75
    There's something almost hypnotic about the way Hard Eight develops -- even in its slowest, most tedious moments, it keeps our attention.
  7. Noirish thrillers live or die by their plot twists and dialogue -- talk literally being cheap compared to action shots. Unfortunately, the script by first-time filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson fails on both counts.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Apr 7, 2011
    10
    **** is this movie great. There are only a few number of filmakers that have a flawless track record. And PT Anderson is definitely one of those. Because this film has some great characters. ANd it has everything that Ocean's Eleven should've had. Expand
  2. Feb 7, 2014
    7
    Really well done. Amazing to think that this was Paul Thomas Anderson's first effort, because he handles everything like a grisled vet in this. The film was slow, but built up nicely and the characters were all marvelously crafted. Main complaint were that while it was really well done, it never really made that "jump". I think this one could have been even better, but it seemed content being what it was and was relatively safe all around. In addition, I just never really bought into John C. Reilly's performance. All of the other performances were great, but his stood out to me as something that just did not quite fit with the rest of the film. Expand

See all 4 User Reviews

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