Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic 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. 88
    Draws its audience along a rarely-traveled path whose scope can only be fully appreciated in the silence of the aftermath.
  3. Dark and giddy at the same time, Leaving Las Vegas takes us into dreamy, intoxicated places that no movie about an alcoholic has gone before.
  4. 90
    A uniquely hypnotic and haunting love story sparked by Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue at their career best.
  5. Cage's great performance is matched by Shue, who becomes the focus by the middle of the picture.
  6. Beautifully put together, sensitively acted by Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue, directed by Mike Figgis with assurance and style and making exceptional use of its musical score, this doomed romance is finally not as satisfying as all of that would have you believe.
  7. What keeps the film (adapted from the late John O'Brien's harrowing semi-autobiographical book) from being completely unbearable are the extraordinary performances.
  8. Needless to say, the plot goes nowhere, but under the pornographic circumstances Figgis, Cage, and Shue all do fine jobs.
  9. 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.
  10. At best, Leaving Las Vegas is pure alchemy -- it makes of flawed humanity a hymn, and of forlorn hope a beacon.
  11. I don't see how you can get away from calling Cage’s performance a great one. [10 November 1995, Friday, p.C]
  12. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    Deliberately downbeat, it's best as a two-person character study, stumbling a bit whenever it extends its parameters.
  13. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    Anyone who cares about ravishing filmmaking, superb acting and movies willing to dive into the mystery of unconditional love will leave this dark romance both shaken and invigorated.
  14. 80
    Doesn't go down smooth, but it doesn't promise to.
  15. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    50
    A movie that may be just a bit too pleased with its own artful bleakness.
  16. Mr. Cage digs deep to find his character's inner demons while also capturing the riotous energy of his outward charm. [27 October 1995, p. C3]
  17. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    90
    Furiously uncompromising, and therefore absolutely alive.
  18. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    90
    Cage again proves himself the most fearless actor now working in movies.
  19. Nicolas Cage gives one of the best performances of his strange, courageous career.
  20. Reviewed by: Anne Harris
    88
    Leaving Las Vegas may not be a top choice for an upbeat outing, but there's something oddly poetic about the simplicity of Ben's mission and Sera's acceptance of it.
  21. Reviewed by: Harlan Jacobson
    60
    Leaving Las Vegas is special. A courageous plane wreck of character study.
  22. Reviewed by: Leonard Klady
    100
    The film pulls no punches, takes no prisoners and flies in the face of feel-good pictures.
  23. Reviewed by: Keith Simanton
    90
    Stands on its grim integrity and the astonishing performances of the leads.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 48 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16
  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 and Elisabeth Shue also deliver flawless performances. Full Review »
  2. 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 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. Full Review »
  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 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. Full Review »