Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Apr 26, 2012
    100
    Ambitious, affecting, unwieldy and haunting, it's an eccentric, densely atmospheric, morally hyper-aware masterpiece that refuses to follow the strictures of conventional cinematic structure, instead leading the audience on a circuitous journey down the myriad rabbit holes that comprise modern-day Manhattan.
  2. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Sep 27, 2011
    100
    And though not all of Lonergan's conceits work on a scene-by-scene basis (an upper-crust womanizer played by Jean Reno skews a bit too close to caricature), the film has a cumulative power-solidified by a devastating opera-house finale-that's staggering. This is frayed-edges filmmaking at its finest.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 13, 2012
    88
    Margaret, for all its flaws, is a film of rare beauty and shocking gravity.
  4. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Oct 6, 2011
    88
    Who knows what movie Lonergan was searching for in all that footage? But what emerges from the tinkering and legal skirmishes is an occasional marvel, a kind of everyday highbrow social X-ray, Paul Mazursky by way of Krzysztof Kieslowski.
  5. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Oct 4, 2011
    83
    Artistically, however, the movie delivers on a surprisingly effective scale, no matter how Lonergan sees it. Alternately perceptive, subversive, tragic and profound.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Oct 4, 2011
    80
    A fascinating, deeply felt film of wild, untamed emotions and probing insights.
  7. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Sep 30, 2011
    80
    Margaret - titled after a poem - reflects its adolescent subject with striking accuracy. It can be frustrating and self-important, clumsy and naive. But it's also passionate, curious and filled with insight, so unafraid in its ambitions that even the flaws are interesting. Every bold vision requires respect; a few deserve celebration. This is one of them, imperfections and all.
  8. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Sep 29, 2011
    80
    It's not a film that's easy to love, but like a song you at first can't stand but then end up humming all day, it works its way past your defenses and curls in close.
  9. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 6, 2011
    75
    A half hour before the finish, Margaret loses altitude and starts looking for a place, any place, to land. Instead it crashes, in slow motion. But up until then, Margaret is committed and unusual.
  10. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Oct 6, 2011
    75
    Besides Paquin, who delivers a once-in-a-lifetime performance as the maddeningly inconsistent Lisa, also wrenchingly fine are Jeannie Berlin as the best friend of the deceased and J. Smith-Cameron as Lisa's actress mother.
  11. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Oct 6, 2011
    70
    Even in its truncated state, this is pretty gripping stuff; just think of it as an epic commercial for the director's cut DVD.
  12. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Sep 29, 2011
    70
    Lonergan didn't bite off more than he could chew with Margaret - this is his personal moral gymnasium - but he did bite off more than others might want to chew.
  13. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Sep 27, 2011
    70
    It's less successful as a human drama than as a near-Brechtian exercise in what human drama looks and sounds like - a distanced but often car-crash compelling portrait of a teen as an unfinished being.
  14. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Sep 28, 2011
    67
    Lonergan's dialogue can sweep you up in a whoosh of personality and ideas, but it's hard to see what, apart from ego, convinced him that this story was so epic.
  15. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Sep 30, 2011
    63
    For a 90-minute movie, Margaret has a thin story. So it's unfortunate that it runs 2 1/2 hours.
  16. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Sep 28, 2011
    60
    Fine performances and bristling language compel in this overlong, often off-putting but well-observed New York story.
  17. 50
    Kenneth Lonergan's new film, Margaret, finally released six years after it was shot, now seems destined to become part of film history as one of the more stunning examples of a filmmaker's sophomore slump.
  18. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 6, 2011
    50
    What an interesting failure Margaret is.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Sep 30, 2011
    50
    I wish I could say it's a resurrected classic but, alas, it's mostly a mess – a 2-1/2-hour mess no less.
  20. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Sep 29, 2011
    50
    To watch the long, painful last hour of this movie is to watch all of his good ideas and smart impulses collapse into a heap of half-written, awkwardly acted, increasingly frantic scenes.
  21. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Sep 29, 2011
    50
    Lonergan has created a forceful yet extremely fitful film that teases with moments of brilliance only to frustrate in the end. Margaret is an unrealized dream, one you wish he'd gotten as right as his 2000 debut, "You Can Count on Me."
  22. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Sep 28, 2011
    50
    This unwieldy drama of conscience in the wake of tragedy is hyperarticulate but rarely eloquent, full of wrenchingly acted scenes that lack credible motivation or devolve into shrill hectoring.
  23. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Sep 28, 2011
    50
    A 2½-hour art film that is something of a well-intentioned mess.
  24. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Mar 30, 2012
    40
    As well-shot and well-acted as it is, one can't help feeling there's a good movie in there somewhere. Unfortunately, it's buried beneath such an avalanche of extraneousness and artistic posing.
  25. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Oct 5, 2011
    40
    Margaret definitely has many elements for a successful drama. It's unfortunate that no one was able to shape them into a functional movie.
  26. 40
    This is the first bad movie that has ever made me call for a sequel - to get it all right.
  27. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Sep 29, 2011
    30
    Rarely has a film with such a great cast and so many moments of terrific writing and such high dramatic goals been so messy and disorganized and fundamentally bad.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Feb 25, 2012
    10
    Although the film is long, it is not too long. I would be ready to see it again a week after my first viewing. The characters and situations are true to life, that is, painful and messy. The ellipsis at the end of many scenes, in which the scene seems to be cut short, was puzzling at first but contributed to the emotional power of the movie. The actors who played Margaret, her mother, and the dead woman's friend were terrific. I could really relate to everything in this film even though I have never been in any similar situation. Full Review »
  2. May 29, 2013
    6
    2h30mns seem quite long but in this case it flows thanks to the unexpected emotional journey the main character goes through from the main event. It felt real and powerful. Full Review »
  3. Dec 3, 2012
    9
    I wish more movies were like this. Having seen Margaret in it's intended 3hr Director's Cut it's difficult thing to comment here on this, the shorter cut of the film. I immediately fell in love with Margaret from the get-go. It's really a simple story: a girl witnesses/causes a fatal accident and the rest of the film is about how she deals with it. So many times watching film and television I've longed for more reality; what really happens to a person after they go through a traumatic event? Anna Paquin portrays the confusion and fracture with a raw power; she's a time-bomb. All the performances are excellent, with J. Smith-Cameron and Jeannie Berlin filling the other main roles, with wonderful actors popping up everywhere in support (Matt Damon, Olivia Thrilby, Jean Reno, Keiran Culkin, Mark Ruffalo, Rosemarie DeWitt and Allison Janney in a small but incredible performance). It's about a search for meaning, for redemption and as much about the differences and failings and needs and desires that define every one of us. And it is glorious. Full Review »