Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jun 8, 2011
    100
    Incendies is a gallery of nightly news atrocities - a bus massacre, rape, children with guns - yet it's made intensely personal under the director's steady hand.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    May 27, 2011
    100
    It knocks you off your feet and leaves you shaken.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Apr 28, 2011
    100
    Incendies is no mere riff on a Greek mainstay. It is its own entity, delicate and fierce. Already I've risked making it sound like homework. It's not; it's an enthralling drama of survival.
  4. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Apr 25, 2011
    100
    The storytelling in Incendies strikes me as primal the way Greek tragedy is primal. Shattering. Cathartic. It is a breathtaking film.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 21, 2011
    100
    Denis Villeneuve's screen adaptation of a play by the Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad tells a story-masterfully-of courage, cruelty, family mysteries and a chain of anger that can only be broken by love.
  6. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Apr 19, 2011
    100
    A staggering political drama that could put you in mind of the intimate sweep of Bernardo Bertolucci, Incendies feels like a mighty movie in our midst.
  7. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Apr 19, 2011
    91
    The movie is a bumpy road of twists that leads to a revelation that has the shock and force of Greek tragedy.
  8. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    May 12, 2011
    90
    Villeneuve's telling of her story - and of her children's - is painful, searing and something close to brilliant.
  9. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    Apr 19, 2011
    90
    Although the film runs more than two hours, the story is so compelling and the production so beautifully controlled that we are gripped by the characters' quest right up to the shocking end of the story.
  10. 90
    The movie doesn't quite jell, but you'll feel its sting for hours.
  11. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jul 15, 2011
    88
    A story of hope amid the ruins -- one that everybody can appreciate, no matter their politics.
  12. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    May 19, 2011
    88
    Reverberates with the power and passion of Greek tragedy.
  13. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 19, 2011
    88
    The movie, engrossing as it is intentionally horrifying, is capped by a last-minute revelation that brings the story to a haunting, powerful close.
  14. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    May 12, 2011
    88
    A mystery, a melodrama, a prison film, and a love story, Incendies is foremost a scream of rage at a society destroyed by religion and by men.
  15. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Apr 27, 2011
    88
    Most people do not choose their religions but have them forced upon themselves by birth, and the lesson of Incendies is that an accident of birth is not a reason for hatred.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Apr 21, 2011
    88
    A devastating mystery thriller from Quebec filmmaker Denis Villeneuve that grabs you hard and won't let go.
  17. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Apr 21, 2011
    83
    The climax is a little too clever and far-fetched-an unnecessarily neat finale for a movie that works fine when dealing in broad strokes, some of which are nothing short of masterful.
  18. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Jun 20, 2011
    80
    A thriller that twists and turns with an understated power that will have you gripping the arm of your seat. Terrific stuff.
  19. Reviewed by: Andrea Gronvall
    Apr 28, 2011
    80
    By the end theyve acquired a measure of self-knowledge at a cost dearer than they expected, which reminds us that what we think we know can be just the beginning of an existential journey.
  20. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Apr 22, 2011
    80
    Filled with striking images and the ghosts of lives lived in hardship and war, Incendies is tough but impactful.
  21. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Apr 21, 2011
    80
    Mr. Villeneuve tells Nawal's story in a way that is both subtle and emphatic, and Ms. Azabal, portraying Nawal from hopeful youth to despairing middle age, gives a performance that is all the more powerful for the restrained, unshakeable sense of dignity she brings to it.
  22. Reviewed by: Ed Schied
    Apr 19, 2011
    80
    Azabal is superb, conveying Nawal's fiery presence, determination and mounting bitterness. The impressive cast includes non-professionals from Jordan, where Incendies was filmed.
  23. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Apr 19, 2011
    80
    Incendies vaults Denis Villeneuve to the status of serious director.
  24. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jun 2, 2011
    78
    It would be difficult not to be swept away by the dramatic intensity of Incendies.
  25. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jun 23, 2011
    75
    The story might have worked as well without that stick-in-the-craw coincidence, which was inserted to maximize the horrors of Nawal's past.
  26. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    May 17, 2011
    75
    Incendies is occasionally compelling, but also overlong and vexing in the ways it draws out a "shocking" conclusion that we unravel long before the characters do.
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Apr 23, 2011
    75
    The film's moral lesson – that violence begets violence – isn't exactly a showstopper, and the balm that is laid on Nawal and her riven family can't quite compensate for the poison that preceded it.
  28. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Apr 21, 2011
    70
    The past is where all the intrigue of the movie lies, and that is where the film is at its most compelling, with the present sometimes wilting in the desert heat.
  29. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    May 19, 2011
    67
    Incendies was likely a crackling thing to read, but it's not quite so vivid as a finished film.
  30. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Apr 21, 2011
    67
    While the film will likely stick with viewers, it's ultimately a tossup what they'll remember most: the stunning buildup, or the massive letdown.
  31. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    May 20, 2011
    63
    Canadian director Denis Villaneuve knows how to stoke a hot debate about the legacy of violence. But in this case, where there's smoke, there's not enough air.
  32. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    May 5, 2011
    50
    Skillfully made and offering moments of great power, the French Canadian drama Incendies nevertheless overplays its hand, piling tragedy on tragedy until we feel browbeaten with misery.
  33. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Apr 22, 2011
    50
    A kind name for this attitude is false moral equivalence, or perhaps post-imperial cringe. A less kind one is Western self-hatred, or an urgent plea to tolerate the intolerant.
  34. Reviewed by: Mark Holcomb
    Apr 19, 2011
    50
    Nawal's travails are more in the vein of a Latin American soap opera than Greek tragedy, and Jeanne and Simon's climactic, genuinely god-awful discovery plays like artistic sleight-of-hand rather than the profoundly tautological revelation it aspires to be.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 64 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. Apr 28, 2011
    9
    A tremendous film. Even though there's a lot going on, and there's much to unpack, the way the story unfolds is so effortlessly handled, and it's quite a story - packs an enormous punch. Throughout, I kept having to resist my yearning for more historical & geographical context, but I'm guessing the writer/director wanted to keep the focus on Marwan and her personal struggles and tortured history. Highly recommended. Full Review »
  2. Apr 27, 2011
    10
    A wonderful piece of motion art with a disturbing conclusion . Its a painting of a harrowing scene told in the most beautiful strokes. It stays with you long after. Full Review »
  3. Oct 15, 2011
    10
    Greatly made building up suspense until it dazzle's you with it's shocking finish. One of the best movies of last year!