Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 29
  2. Negative: 9 out of 29
  1. 38
    Plagued by moralizing so strident and a style so artificial that the story never has a chance to speak to an audience.
  2. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    No matter where he (Von Trier) begins, his dramatic compass drifts toward the same pole: the sexual humiliation of his heroine (How could Daddy let you do this, Bryce?). But it's hard to get too worked up over racial injustice when a director has the temperament of a Klansman.
  3. 30
    All of this plays out as flat, didactic, and lazy.
  4. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Perhaps the saddest thing about Manderlay is how poorly von Trier treats his actors, who are so bludgeoned by the concept and the format they can scarcely breathe.
  5. 25
    Another ridiculous anti-American screed by the minimalist Danish director Lars von Trier, who has never set foot in this country.
  6. The film is obvious, weak and scattered and seems more like a practical joke than a work of genuine passion. It is without exaggeration one of the most blindingly boring films I've seen in years.
  7. Even the basic look of the film -- it was filmed on a stage with every shot set against a bleak, dark backdrop -- underscores the filmmaker's position as master manipulator, in a laboratory, looking down at his mice running through his maze.
  8. Manderlay is turgid and hollow.
  9. Hate is too strong an emotion to spend on such a clumsy, bloodless broadside against human foibles in general and American follies in particular.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 19
  2. Negative: 4 out of 19
  1. NathanT
    Dec 23, 2006
    "Dogville" was bad, in some regards "Manderlay" might be worse. The way that director Lars Von Trier can point his finger so solemnly and self-importantly at a country he's never been is insufferable. The look of the film, totally barren is tough on the eyes to watch. Can't a serious film be at least mildly pleasing aesthetically? I'd hope so. Me, I enjoy movies, that whether they are celebrations or mournings are high on the joys of cinema. Cinema is a visual art form after all. And Von Trier's message? Moronic obvious nonsense about slavery still existing 70 years later, the fact that capitalism itself becomes slavery, and comparing Grace's (Bryce Dallas Howard) fight to end the slavery at Manderlay with the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As in "Dogville", Von Trier has no concept of what he speaks. I think my negative feelings toward the movie were stirred up in the first moments when he presents a map of the United States and I said to myself, "He's never been to any of those 48 states I'm looking at." The nicest thing I can say about Von Trier's trilogy (it will culminate with the release of "Washington" next year), is that it is like anything else I've seen before it. The truest thing: I hope I never see anything even remotely like it again. Full Review »
  2. AntonC.
    Mar 30, 2006
    Even wittier and more precise than Dogville.
  3. Nov 13, 2011
    When I was kid I saw Lars von Trier's movie Europa and was immediately enthralled by its tragic beauty.Many years have passed since then and now I have to say-Manderlay is probably the worst movie I've ever seen. Full Review »