Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 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.
  2. 100
    Cage and Shue make these cliches into unforgettable people.
  3. At best, Leaving Las Vegas is pure alchemy -- it makes of flawed humanity a hymn, and of forlorn hope a beacon.
  4. 88
    Draws its audience along a rarely-traveled path whose scope can only be fully appreciated in the silence of the aftermath.
  5. Cage's great performance is matched by Shue, who becomes the focus by the middle of the picture.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    Deliberately downbeat, it's best as a two-person character study, stumbling a bit whenever it extends its parameters.
  7. Nicolas Cage gives one of the best performances of his strange, courageous career.
  8. Reviewed by: Harlan Jacobson
    60
    Leaving Las Vegas is special. A courageous plane wreck of character study.
  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. 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.
  11. Reviewed by: Leonard Klady
    100
    The film pulls no punches, takes no prisoners and flies in the face of feel-good pictures.
  12. 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.
  13. What keeps the film (adapted from the late John O'Brien's harrowing semi-autobiographical book) from being completely unbearable are the extraordinary performances.
  14. 80
    Doesn't go down smooth, but it doesn't promise to.
  15. 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.
  16. Needless to say, the plot goes nowhere, but under the pornographic circumstances Figgis, Cage, and Shue all do fine jobs.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    50
    A movie that may be just a bit too pleased with its own artful bleakness.
  18. I don't see how you can get away from calling Cage’s performance a great one. [10 November 1995, Friday, p.C]
  19. 90
    A uniquely hypnotic and haunting love story sparked by Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue at their career best.
  20. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    90
    Cage again proves himself the most fearless actor now working in movies.
  21. Reviewed by: Keith Simanton
    90
    Stands on its grim integrity and the astonishing performances of the leads.
  22. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    90
    Furiously uncompromising, and therefore absolutely alive.
  23. 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]
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 63 Ratings

User 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. 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 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. Full Review »
  3. 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 Full Review »