Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 63 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: After being fired, an alcoholic screenwriter (Cage) takes his final paycheck to Las Vegas where he plans to drink himself to death. He comes in contact with a prostitute (Shue) who needs to be needed.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 100
    Cage and Shue make these cliches into unforgettable people.
  2. Reviewed by: Leonard Klady
    100
    The film pulls no punches, takes no prisoners and flies in the face of feel-good pictures.
  3. 90
    A uniquely hypnotic and haunting love story sparked by Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue at their career best.
  4. I don't see how you can get away from calling Cage’s performance a great one. [10 November 1995, Friday, p.C]
  5. What keeps the film (adapted from the late John O'Brien's harrowing semi-autobiographical book) from being completely unbearable are the extraordinary performances.
  6. An amazing, bracing, funny, audacious, tender, and sobering piece of filmmaking. Few movies have ever dared to be this remorseless in their portraits of addiction.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    50
    A movie that may be just a bit too pleased with its own artful bleakness.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 17
  2. Negative: 3 out of 17
  1. Nov 15, 2012
    10
    It's deep, surreal, and offers a kind of operatic ecstasy that is both wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. Nicholas Cage andIt's deep, surreal, and offers a kind of operatic ecstasy that is both wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. Nicholas Cage and Elisabeth Shue also deliver flawless performances. Expand
  2. JobA.
    Dec 21, 2005
    10
    I've seen this movie probably 30 times.The acting by cage is really unbelievable.Who ever doesn't like this movie never really paid I've seen this movie probably 30 times.The acting by cage is really unbelievable.Who ever doesn't like this movie never really paid attention to the amazing story and acting.A work of art. Expand
  3. HaroldP.
    Dec 30, 2008
    10
    Won't say it's the finest movie ever made, but it's my favorite ever. This film haunts me days after I watch it. Elisabeth Won't say it's the finest movie ever made, but it's my favorite ever. This film haunts me days after I watch it. Elisabeth Shue's tragic beauty is almost too much to bear. If you've ever loved and lost you understand what I mean.... This is Nicolas Cage's best performance, it's clear he knows his way around the bottle. Depressing, yes, ultimately uplifting...no. Just a small window into the lives of two hurt souls who finally find a lover and friend, even if they both know it's much too late...awesome. Expand
  4. Jan 23, 2012
    9
    This movie cannot be taken at face value otherwise you will entirely miss the point. This move DOES have phenomenal philosophical value andThis movie cannot be taken at face value otherwise you will entirely miss the point. This move DOES have phenomenal philosophical value and depth. I can see how watching this movie without any guidance will lead you to believe it is possibly the most terrible movie ever made but I was asked to watch this for a Philosophy course called The Meaning of Life and looking at the film through that lens made all the difference. Watch this movie, pretend to be super philosophical and deep, and see what you can get out of it. Expand
  5. TedK.
    Jun 20, 2008
    8
    Cage's performance is mesmerizing. This movie will resonate with anyone who has struggled with alcoholism. It can be a downer but the Cage's performance is mesmerizing. This movie will resonate with anyone who has struggled with alcoholism. It can be a downer but the film--and Cage in particular--is so memorable that it's worth watching. Expand
  6. Aug 14, 2014
    5
    This is the first movie that has positive reviews and I give it a mixed review. I think the movie is well acted (Nicolas Cage nails it) butThis is the first movie that has positive reviews and I give it a mixed review. I think the movie is well acted (Nicolas Cage nails it) but the rest of movie is entirely depressing, with no compelling characters or storytelling Expand

See all 17 User Reviews

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