Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23

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Critic Reviews

  1. Fiennes has imagined and created from within. His Luther is not the thunderer we might expect, but he is, wondrously, the incarnation of a man passionate for God and angry with mundane intercessions.
  2. Veteran British director Eric Till otherwise does a credible job of sweeping us through this huge life, and his eye for detail combines with the Oscar-worthy production design and a succession of striking Eastern European locations to create a rich visual tapestry of the Middle Ages.
  3. 75
    Overall, Luther does a satisfying job of restoring humanity to a woodcut icon.
  4. Rising above the throng is the great wreck of Sir Peter Ustinov, who, as the canny, saucy German Prince Frederick, distinguishes both himself and the movie.
  5. 63
    Aside from a couple of unintelligible conversations with himself, there's barely any God here. The film would rather just be inclusive. Luther might have wanted it that way, but as moviegoers, it's hard not to want more.
  6. An entertaining history lesson. That is, a history lesson that synopsizes and simplifies a complex life and complicated times into easily digestible panels of action, intrigue, martyrdom and sticking it to the papacy.
  7. 63
    The film winds up stranding us in a desperate wilderness of collapse and betrothal.
  8. With Joseph Fiennes as the conflicted, frequently self-hating Luther, this historical drama/biopic offers a fairly thorough overview of the period (although it's weak on the "good deeds" angle) but is somewhat dry and weighted with significance.
  9. 60
    The unimposing Fiennes may not suggest the burly Luther's plain-talking peasant background, but he at least captures the charisma.
  10. 60
    It's just unfortunate that a movie about such a daring man ultimately takes few risks.
  11. After a summer of numbing mindlessness, there is something frankly refreshing about a movie that deals even superficially with as significant a figure as the rebellious 16th century theologian Martin Luther, one of the founders of Protestantism and the man who put the reform in the Reformation.
  12. Plunges energetically into the 16th-century religious rebel's activities and philosophies. It dodges some significant issues in Luther's life, however, reducing its value as an educational film.
  13. But for that one bright, incongruous yuk-fest in the classroom, Luther is deadly material, full of self-righteousness and devoid of balance.
  14. 50
    Solid performances by Fiennes, Jonathan Firth, and a frail but funny Peter Ustinov keep this watchable.
  15. 50
    Who was Joseph Fiennes channeling when he chose this muddled tone? Obviously he was reluctant to gave a broad, inspirational performance of the kind you find in deliberately religious films.
  16. 50
    How did this rude monk, prey to depression and satanic hallucinations, change the course of history? Luther offers scant illumination, for the big brown eyes that served Joseph Fiennes so well in "Elizabeth" are little help with the spirit of Reformation.
  17. As the film veers uncertainly between meticulous historical recapitulation and shameless hokum, it brings enough characters to populate a mini-series. When the historical details become too clogged, the movie shamelessly overcompensates by wallowing in cheap sentimentality.
  18. 40
    Corny and irritatingly simplistic though this fast-paced biography of 16th-century German religious reformer Martin Luther may be, it's undeniably entertaining.
  19. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Proceeds like a stultifying history pageant rather than a movie with a pulse of its own.
  20. Joseph Fiennes smolders as young Luther, but it’s a performance that makes you wish instead that his older brother Ralph -– an actor who is one of the greatest at being able to portray inner torture and anguish -– were playing the part.
  21. 20
    British director Eric Till’s ghastly Euro-pudding co-production (with all the international accents and badly post-synchronized dialogue that implies) manages to make a travesty of its title subject.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Jan 19, 2014
    How did anyone even enjoy this crap! First off, it is pretentiously long! It's filled with so much story that's never very clear. The storyHow did anyone even enjoy this crap! First off, it is pretentiously long! It's filled with so much story that's never very clear. The story just jumps place to place and sometimes is confusing to fully understand. Second, the characters! Joseph Fiennes as Luther is fine (I guess) but the other characters are utter crap! Plus, there are characters that aren't shown very well. There in the movie, but there just there. It cuts back to them now and then, but they're just there for appearance. A prefect example, Alfred Molina as John Tetzel! He shows up for like 5-10 mins and you'd think he'd become a main character or a strong supporting character at least! No! He's just gone. Don't know why! That was probably the only part of the movie that I truly liked. This is movie is like going to a bad sermon that never spits the message out clearly. Overall, this is lame!!!!!! It gets an F!!!!!! Full Review »
  2. JeffC.
    Nov 23, 2008
    A wonderful depiction with only minor historical inaccuracies. A movie every Christian should watch.
  3. JaredC.
    Dec 19, 2007
    Based on the quality of Luther, it sadly doesn't reach the expectations of my personal discussions with society. It has a fine tone and Based on the quality of Luther, it sadly doesn't reach the expectations of my personal discussions with society. It has a fine tone and starts out clueless, though eventually builds up momentum and suspense after gathering a substantial amount of information, that gets to the point of overload, and blasts with a finale that finishes with a breathtaking conclusion. It's a great churchgoer motion picture, and relates a lot to Renassaince studies which really overthinks me a bit. Everything is cause and Effect in Luther, it builds up a tremendous amount of character, and then that's the part when you start getting entertained, about 3 quarters way in. Which is the disappointing factor about it. Before all that, you just want a silent nap. Full Review »