User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 204 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 204
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  1. JamesM.
    Nov 6, 2005
    10
    I am surprised that this didn't recieve a better score than it did. A huge majority of the reviews that I've read say how 'terrible' the film is because it has no huge forward motion into action or anything. But, excuse me, but Isn't that the whole idea? I'm sorry, but I loved the fact that this was an actionless war film. Not all war veterns see action all I am surprised that this didn't recieve a better score than it did. A huge majority of the reviews that I've read say how 'terrible' the film is because it has no huge forward motion into action or anything. But, excuse me, but Isn't that the whole idea? I'm sorry, but I loved the fact that this was an actionless war film. Not all war veterns see action all the time like in some other war films, so it's a relief to see some change in the genre. I recommend this movie to anyone who doesnt have a problem with a near actionless story. If you come in to this film looking for a good action film, you're going to be bored. If you go in to it looking for a character driven story, then you'll enjoy it. Expand
  2. JeroenV.
    Jan 4, 2009
    9
    The actors are great, the music is great, the atmosphere is great and the movie is great.
  3. IronC.
    Nov 7, 2005
    9
    At first, this movie was funny as hell! It made me laugh. A lot of masterbation jokes...then they hit the desert... I felt sick after this part in the film. Not from the action in it. In fact there really was no action in this film. It was the mind set of the Marines and what they saw in the Gulf that messed with me. They wanted to kill. That messed with me. The pills they had to take, At first, this movie was funny as hell! It made me laugh. A lot of masterbation jokes...then they hit the desert... I felt sick after this part in the film. Not from the action in it. In fact there really was no action in this film. It was the mind set of the Marines and what they saw in the Gulf that messed with me. They wanted to kill. That messed with me. The pills they had to take, the burning oil wells, that horse, the endless air strikes, this movie had such powerful cinematography/imagery in it... If you went to see an action film, I recomend Black Hawk Down or something like that for modern warfare movie cause JARHEAD is a mind-f... Expand
  4. Chris
    Nov 7, 2005
    10
    Wow...this movie blew me away. I am not all that surprised that the US Media is panning the reviews. They really want to see "war" don't they? Well, this is far deeper than that.
  5. FranH.
    Nov 10, 2005
    10
    I have many family members who have or are serving this country. I thought the movie was on target. I'm glad it was'nt blood and guts or making any political statement. Leave that to Michael Moore. Jake rocks.
  6. LaurenW.
    Nov 14, 2005
    9
    I thought this was a great movie. Any arguement that there wasnt enough killing completely missed the point of the movie. Unfortunately people like that are the reason that film makers feel the need to explain the movie at the end.
  7. AlexandraK.
    Nov 20, 2005
    10
    When the movie ended people just sat a staired in aww... Now that's an amazing movie.
  8. RickK.
    Nov 4, 2005
    10
    It's funny how the only 2 "negative" reviews by "professional" critics ARE negative because of minute details they don't care for. Being in OIF in the Army I saw Iraq first-hand, not from a movie theater whining about not enough butter on my popcorn like the critics who didn't like this movie. The moral of this you ask? It's simple: don't talk sh.t about something It's funny how the only 2 "negative" reviews by "professional" critics ARE negative because of minute details they don't care for. Being in OIF in the Army I saw Iraq first-hand, not from a movie theater whining about not enough butter on my popcorn like the critics who didn't like this movie. The moral of this you ask? It's simple: don't talk sh.t about something you don't know about aside from a movie you watched. Expand
  9. ClarisseP.
    Jun 12, 2006
    10
    A wonderful, funny, exciting movie ! We don't see movies against war nowadays and this one is brillant!
  10. Marine0621
    Feb 2, 2010
    9
    Sorry America if your appalled. Yes we make dick jokes, yes most women don't make it and YES we do a lot of stupid shit when we are bored. More real than America was ready for.
  11. SteveS.
    Nov 1, 2005
    9
    I thought the movie was excellent, and captured the essence of the book very well. My wife hadn't read the book, and having seen the movie she wants to read the book too; she liked the movie a lot too. People expecting a giant war movie may be disappointed, but they should know better -- the war was Desert Shield and Desert Storm, after all. The real story is the overall experience I thought the movie was excellent, and captured the essence of the book very well. My wife hadn't read the book, and having seen the movie she wants to read the book too; she liked the movie a lot too. People expecting a giant war movie may be disappointed, but they should know better -- the war was Desert Shield and Desert Storm, after all. The real story is the overall experience of being a Marine, through arrival, training, peacetime military, buildup to war, battle, and return to civilian life. Jake Gyllenhaal's acting is very good. He has a convincing intensity. Peter Sarsgaard is very good also. Jamie Foxx doesn't get a lot of screen time, but his part is important, and he is excellent. Chris Cooper has little more than a cameo, but he plays it well too. The directing is excellent; Sam Mendes picked up lots of awards for _American Beauty_, and he has done another fine job. The cinematography is impressive too. The screenplay does a great job of matching the mood of the book, which was a huge seller in 2003. Given the timing of the movie, during another war in the same country as the one featured in the book and movie, some people might expect a political message. There is practically none at all. It's not about why the Marines were sent off to that war, it's about their experiences as Marines, particularly Swofford's experiences. Some people may take away a political message, but if they do they're reading their own attitudes into the movie, because the movie is strongly apolitical. The one Marine in the movie who brings up political issues is shouted down by the others. The sole exception is wartime censorship; when the media visit, the soldiers are annoyed that their censorship orders go absurdly beyond protection of military information. Expand
  12. JoelC.
    Nov 2, 2005
    10
    Take it from a vet of the gulf war era, this movie kix buttocks.
  13. RussellL-H
    Nov 4, 2005
    10
    Please go see this movie. It has no agenda other than to honestly tell the personal cost of war. I was moved emotionally; challenged intellectually; and angered politically. Amazing. Powerful.
  14. MikeM.
    Nov 7, 2005
    10
    These mixed reviews are crazy talk, and baffling coming from film critics who one would think would appreciate something a bit less formulaic. the fact that jake gyllenhal's character is reading camus' "The Stranger" throughout the movie should illustrate the pure absurdity of the situtation, as the experience of the soldiers in the Gulf War are equated to the experience ofThese mixed reviews are crazy talk, and baffling coming from film critics who one would think would appreciate something a bit less formulaic. the fact that jake gyllenhal's character is reading camus' "The Stranger" throughout the movie should illustrate the pure absurdity of the situtation, as the experience of the soldiers in the Gulf War are equated to the experience of unfathomable persecution. Very existential, excellent performances, beautiful cinematography that can only be appreciated on the big screen. Expand
  15. AdrianaM.
    Nov 7, 2005
    9
    I agree w/ James M. No need to make another "bloody" sensationalized war movie. It was really interesting to see a whole other perspective, especially on a war that seems to be having a longer more hideous real-life sequel, now.
  16. AJSims
    Nov 7, 2005
    10
    Wonderful...Best movie ever made.
  17. JakeF.
    Dec 3, 2005
    9
    Breathtaking. Moving without being maudlin.
  18. JorgeM.
    Oct 29, 2005
    10
    I really enjoyed this movie. The action was good and it had a great story. i recommend that if you are into war movies that you definnitely go see it.
  19. KevinE.
    Oct 30, 2005
    10
    Nothing short of spectacular. Jarhead pulls all the right kind of emotional punches. Amazing Performances by Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard, Chris Cooper, Lucas Black. But a truly sensational oscar calilber performance by Jake Gylenhaal. Mendes never fails to amaze me. After only 3 films he can be consider a living Directing ledgend. This may not be his best film, but it'll definatly be Nothing short of spectacular. Jarhead pulls all the right kind of emotional punches. Amazing Performances by Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard, Chris Cooper, Lucas Black. But a truly sensational oscar calilber performance by Jake Gylenhaal. Mendes never fails to amaze me. After only 3 films he can be consider a living Directing ledgend. This may not be his best film, but it'll definatly be the best of the year Expand
  20. ArielG.
    Feb 2, 2006
    9
    I really loved this movie. Great cast, everyone played their parts well. Another great direction from Sam Mendes. It had comedy and drama. Not much action though, so please don't go into the theatres expecting a thrilling action shoot-em-up movie or you'll be disappointed. [***SPOILERS***] It was a very graphic and unflinching look at the marines in training and fighting in the I really loved this movie. Great cast, everyone played their parts well. Another great direction from Sam Mendes. It had comedy and drama. Not much action though, so please don't go into the theatres expecting a thrilling action shoot-em-up movie or you'll be disappointed. [***SPOILERS***] It was a very graphic and unflinching look at the marines in training and fighting in the first Gulf War. Not just the physical aspects of war, but also the psychological and emotional (the desert heat, sleeping in sand holes, unfaithful partners back home, the futility of their mission, no right to free speech, censorship to the media, initiations, the loss of comrades, etc). I didn't see it as anti-war propaganda at all. I recommended this movie for those who are interested in seeing what it is like in the military, from the point of view of a former marine. Expand
  21. J.S.
    Feb 5, 2006
    9
    Terrific. Sadly overlooked by the academy...at least for best cinematography. I have a feeling it'll be more appreciated in a couple decades or so...when the soon-to-be legendary Mendes releases a box set. Remember...Apocalypse Now was mixed reviewed when it was first released.
  22. NickS.
    Mar 17, 2006
    10
    Jarhead is not perfectly executed, but that fact is neglible in rating. It is many profound and poignant statements on many contemporary issues. If you're lazy or only half-interested while watching film you will probably fail to realize it's about much more than just the profound effect of war on a human being. It is equally about the man before this change, and about the state Jarhead is not perfectly executed, but that fact is neglible in rating. It is many profound and poignant statements on many contemporary issues. If you're lazy or only half-interested while watching film you will probably fail to realize it's about much more than just the profound effect of war on a human being. It is equally about the man before this change, and about the state of his society. Naturally, these themes can also strongly be found in the director's previous work, American Beauty. And a note to those unsure: the depictions in the film are accurate. The filmmaker was actively directed by two former marines, one who served in Vietnam and another who IS the main character in the film (and wrote the memoric-ish book the film is based on). Expand
  23. JamesB.
    Apr 6, 2006
    9
    This is a very realistic movie. War isnt all heroism and grand battles. Much of it is just as this film depicts it. Great performances by Foxx, Sarsgaard, and especially Jake Gyllenhaal.
  24. ALEXA.
    Nov 1, 2005
    10
    Masterpiece.
  25. HM2(FMF/SW)
    Nov 16, 2005
    10
    Obviously Brian G doesnt understand that the whole point of the movie is about the marines waiting to fight and not getting to. The moving around the desert aimlessly looking to fight an enemy they never saw. As for the comments about mis portrayal of marines. I work with marines being a Corpsmen with them and the general census is in a warzone you lose all manners and you say what you Obviously Brian G doesnt understand that the whole point of the movie is about the marines waiting to fight and not getting to. The moving around the desert aimlessly looking to fight an enemy they never saw. As for the comments about mis portrayal of marines. I work with marines being a Corpsmen with them and the general census is in a warzone you lose all manners and you say what you wanna say and act how you wanna act. Because all that matters is you do your job and do it right. This movie is fantastic and i recomend it to anyone. It is not your normal "blood guts gore everyone dies in extravagent ways" movie. But a movie truly portraying war. It's not political in the sense of anti-american views, but political in the sense to make you think about war differantly. Collapse
  26. RC
    Nov 18, 2005
    10
    Excellent. I'm glad someone had the wits to make a film such as this. This is a new type of war film in it's own right. If you think if it more like a documentary rather than a feature film, then you'll enjoy it more.
  27. ZakT.
    Nov 26, 2005
    9
    I thought the movie was excellent.
  28. PauldeRevere
    Nov 3, 2005
    9
    A gripping and intense movie that, unlike what most people probably expected through nearly a year of this movie's studio hype, doesn't choose to make a statement of its own about war ("THE war," the one we're in now), the U.S. Marine Corps or the Gulf War. "Jarhed" may tell us that the Gulf War was "fucked up," but most of us go in already knowing that. If there's any A gripping and intense movie that, unlike what most people probably expected through nearly a year of this movie's studio hype, doesn't choose to make a statement of its own about war ("THE war," the one we're in now), the U.S. Marine Corps or the Gulf War. "Jarhed" may tell us that the Gulf War was "fucked up," but most of us go in already knowing that. If there's any statement to be made through "Jarhead," its purely in context and not subtext-- be you a civilian or a soldier, pro-war or anti-war. In the way of its other contemporaries, ("Three Kings" and especially "Gunner Palace") "Jarhead" balances the reality of war and the surreality of a mind subjected to war in a film with rich visuals, tour de force acting and "realistic," some would call underwhelming, dialogue. I call it a triumph. It is, in a word, as "real" as fictional filmmaking gets. Expand
  29. DoranW.
    Nov 4, 2005
    10
    The reasoning for a bad review for this movie: "muddled." Nothing about this war, nor the book this great movie was based on, was clear. Gyllenhaal, Saarsgard are quite strong here. Foxx is just phoning it in.
  30. BillyS.
    Nov 5, 2005
    9
    Start with the stark coldness of Kubricks "Full Metal Jacket", then add the visual poetic beauty of Malicks "The Thin Red Line", take away the righteous glory of fighting a war for freedom in Speilbergs "Saving Private Ryan", mix it all together to get the lonely emptiness of fighting a war for oil in Sam Mendes's "Jarhead". An instant classic in any genre, as a war movie without a Start with the stark coldness of Kubricks "Full Metal Jacket", then add the visual poetic beauty of Malicks "The Thin Red Line", take away the righteous glory of fighting a war for freedom in Speilbergs "Saving Private Ryan", mix it all together to get the lonely emptiness of fighting a war for oil in Sam Mendes's "Jarhead". An instant classic in any genre, as a war movie without a political agenda- a precedent. BRAVO! Expand
  31. DavidA.
    Nov 5, 2005
    10
    The Best movie I've seen this year. I think it reflects a soldiers life and shows that you don't have to kill to make a good movie. Even though I do love action movies. I recommened everybody to gosse this movie it's awsome! You won't regret it.
  32. SamS.
    Nov 6, 2005
    10
    Captures all aspects in perfect unicin of the Gulf War. Understands it is not a big was and captrues that in every scene. Brilliant, touching, and powerful interactions and preformences between all actors. Shows realistic and political aspects of the Gulf War. A slap in in face to military wives, that is true, but that is the only fault of this supurbley acted, incredibly beautifal film. Captures all aspects in perfect unicin of the Gulf War. Understands it is not a big was and captrues that in every scene. Brilliant, touching, and powerful interactions and preformences between all actors. Shows realistic and political aspects of the Gulf War. A slap in in face to military wives, that is true, but that is the only fault of this supurbley acted, incredibly beautifal film. Jamie Foxx and Jake Gylenhall are only two examples of wonderful actors. Peter Sarsgaard diserves a oscar. Expand
  33. JanetteY.
    Nov 6, 2005
    10
    A war movie without actual war combats, and yet with the ability to rattle the audience's emotions and to propel profound suspense and intensity. It brilliantly unearths the uncontrollerable changes g to human personities and traits with respect to situations. A great film for character study and the cast of actors bring stunning credibility to their roles. Never a dull moment and A war movie without actual war combats, and yet with the ability to rattle the audience's emotions and to propel profound suspense and intensity. It brilliantly unearths the uncontrollerable changes g to human personities and traits with respect to situations. A great film for character study and the cast of actors bring stunning credibility to their roles. Never a dull moment and absolutely mesmerizing! A superbly edited film, too. Expand
  34. SusanM.
    Nov 7, 2005
    9
    A really great movie, I think it was probably a pretty accurate depiction of what a lot of soldiers went through in the Gulf War. The acting was awesome and the dialogue was smart. Go see it!!
  35. Rickiseidman
    Nov 7, 2005
    9
    Perfect non-fiction companion to Three Kings.
  36. LouisF.
    Nov 7, 2005
    9
    This is a very good film which is neither a new Full Metal Jacket or Platoon, though it takes direct cues from them. Like them, it illustrates the dirty and cruel aspects of the military, but concentrates more on the futility of war by presenting the profoundly deceptive experience of a small group to whom the training and brainwashing left only one desire: to kill. The fact that the only This is a very good film which is neither a new Full Metal Jacket or Platoon, though it takes direct cues from them. Like them, it illustrates the dirty and cruel aspects of the military, but concentrates more on the futility of war by presenting the profoundly deceptive experience of a small group to whom the training and brainwashing left only one desire: to kill. The fact that the only death shown on screen is an accidental suicide highlights the general irony. The movie captures very well the state of waiting and eagerness of the soldiers, though it is true that their psychology remains quite obscure and their relationships flat. The effects and directing are well balanced and the meditative and anti-climactic final act is poignantt. The prologue and epilogue, granted, are standard. Expand
  37. JOhnG.
    Nov 8, 2005
    9
    This movie is good. The fact that there is no combat, or lack of political topics is there for a purpose. It has nothing going on for a reason. I saw this movie with my father, a US Military Veteran. He helped me understand that the constant waiting, Dear John letters, and bore is the way the military (and the Middle East) is really like. Much like the characters explained, my father felt This movie is good. The fact that there is no combat, or lack of political topics is there for a purpose. It has nothing going on for a reason. I saw this movie with my father, a US Military Veteran. He helped me understand that the constant waiting, Dear John letters, and bore is the way the military (and the Middle East) is really like. Much like the characters explained, my father felt like nobody cares what they really do out there. And people still don't care if they think that a 1st person of a marine is boring. Well worth the time... Expand
  38. Richard
    Nov 9, 2005
    9
    Apparently, most viewers wanted a bang-bang shoot-em up war film. Unfortunately, the first gulf war wasn't like that, as this film makes perfectly clear. As for those complaining about the film's politics, I have no idea what they are talking about since there is virtually no discussion of politics in the film at all!. I found the film engrossing and wasn't bored at all. Apparently, most viewers wanted a bang-bang shoot-em up war film. Unfortunately, the first gulf war wasn't like that, as this film makes perfectly clear. As for those complaining about the film's politics, I have no idea what they are talking about since there is virtually no discussion of politics in the film at all!. I found the film engrossing and wasn't bored at all. Well worth the money. Expand
  39. JaredSS
    Nov 9, 2005
    9
    Fantastic. A perfect examination of how our current generation perceives war. And judging by these reviews, it did it's job. The "waiting" to kill the "enemy" is much more gruelling than the actually killing of the "enemy" these days. I'm glad somebody finally made a war movie worth seeing...it'd have to be the first war movie to offer a unique perspective in quite some Fantastic. A perfect examination of how our current generation perceives war. And judging by these reviews, it did it's job. The "waiting" to kill the "enemy" is much more gruelling than the actually killing of the "enemy" these days. I'm glad somebody finally made a war movie worth seeing...it'd have to be the first war movie to offer a unique perspective in quite some time. Gyllenhaal is surprisingly superb. Mendes scores again, he's headed for Kubrick stature. Just wait until he does "Sweeny Todd" Oh...and Andrew K....you're so right. Maybe now everybody will wait to see what you say before posting their OWN opinions about anything. God forbid them to not agree with you. A good way to "knock" a film is to take what somebody else THOUGHT about it and pretend that it derived from the very same place your opinions come from. Stop wasting your time. Expand
  40. AlexA.
    Oct 31, 2005
    10
    the courage to be ambivalent. really a masterpiece that will only get better as the years go by.
  41. GrantN.
    Jan 16, 2006
    9
    Many people will dislike this movie solely because they came into it expecting an action movie and its not. It shows what the first Iraqi war was really like for a soldier and was one of the best movies of the year.
  42. Sophie
    Feb 28, 2006
    9
    I thought Jarhead was one of the best films that has been showing over the summer (aus). Some of the scenes were stunning - the oil, the openess of the desert. I think it portrayed some of the parts of the army well and it did not deserve some of the major slashings that it received from some critics.
  43. MichaelL.
    Mar 14, 2006
    9
    Do not go in expecting Saving Private Ryan or anything action. I applaud this effort in filmmaking. It shows the dullness of today's war effort when troops are not on the front line. You leave the movie the way swofford leaves the war: disappointed. but that's the reality isn't it? that's what makes it so good.. you feel the exact emotions of swofford throughout.
  44. Adam
    Nov 4, 2007
    9
    I have read several of the reviews that have been written about this movie and it seems that most of the complaints are that marines wouldn't act that way or that it wasn't action packed. Well, I have had many discussions with Marines that were actually there and for the most part everything that happened in that movie was accurate. The only scene that was confirmed from the I have read several of the reviews that have been written about this movie and it seems that most of the complaints are that marines wouldn't act that way or that it wasn't action packed. Well, I have had many discussions with Marines that were actually there and for the most part everything that happened in that movie was accurate. The only scene that was confirmed from the veterans that I talked to was the movie that contained a unfaithful wife. Even though that scene wasn't fully confirmed, some of the veterans did actually hear about things like that happening, so I would suspect that it is possible that actually did happen. Now in regards to the action, the Veterans that I have spoken with saw very little to absolutely no action during the war. It was not a bloody war like World War II or Vietnam. It was mostly fought by tanks and aircraft, as depicted in the movie, the ground forces saw almost nothing but the aftermath of the tank's and aircraft's devestation. Looking at this movie as it should be looked at, especially since the original book that the movie was based on was written by a Veteran of the war, this movie is amazing. Watch this movie if and only if you want to see a great depiction of what actually went on in the desert during that unfortunate conflict. Expand
  45. MattD
    Nov 12, 2005
    10
    One of the best movies i've seen in years. Intense, interesting and brilliant. Don't expect Saving Private Ryan thou. Nothing Exciting Happened In The Gulf War!
  46. Dec 14, 2012
    9
    One of my favorite movies but not for everyone. I was expecting a war film such as the classic Saving Private Ryan or even We Were Soldiers but this film is not like that at all. This film focuses on the psyche of a soldier. It focuses on the relationships and all the rubbish they have to go through for an ultimately disappointing and unfulfilled life. Watch this expecting a classic warOne of my favorite movies but not for everyone. I was expecting a war film such as the classic Saving Private Ryan or even We Were Soldiers but this film is not like that at all. This film focuses on the psyche of a soldier. It focuses on the relationships and all the rubbish they have to go through for an ultimately disappointing and unfulfilled life. Watch this expecting a classic war film, hate it. Watch this expecting something else and you might just enjoy it. Easily in my top 10. Expand
  47. Aug 13, 2014
    9
    Say what you want about this movie, but I liked Jarhead. Yes, it doesn't live up to its full potential of being the psycho-analysis of Desert Storm Marines that it wanted to be, but it kept me entertained. It has good acting, a stronger-than-I-expected-script, and lots of funny moments to bring levity to the situation at hand; that's all I wanted.
  48. Feb 24, 2014
    9
    This is a very powerful film with violent action scenes are amazing performances. Director Sam Mendes is definitely one of the best filmmakers currently working in the movies today. His films are always powerful and leave the viewer thinking.
Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 40
  2. Negative: 2 out of 40
  1. Jarhead refuses to engage in its own point of view toward events it depicts. So the film feels empty and tentative, uncertain of what if anything these events add up to.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    Part absurdist drama, part personal observational commentary and part hormonal explosion, all seen through the filter of previous war pics, Sam Mendes' third feature has numerous arresting moments but never achieves a confident, consistent or sufficiently audacious tone.
  3. As a result, Jarhead is utterly predictable (boys endure tough training; boys encounter another culture and are baffled), studded with first-rate performances.