User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 61 out of 72
  2. Negative: 7 out of 72

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Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 40
    The movie chickens out. In the Valley of Elah could have been really interesting -- and really daring -- if it had focused on Hank's realization that his own child, supposedly a good kid, had perhaps committed the kinds of atrocities that would make any decent human being recoil. The movie (which Haggis also wrote) dances around that territory, but doesn't dare to march straight into its terrifying maw.
  2. 80
    No one could mistake the movie for a documentary, but the picture has some of the rectitude of a good documentary--a tone of plainness without flatness.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    This is a sad, subtle and very good movie, designed not so much to make you think, but to make you feel the impact of large events on little lives.