Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Jun 12, 2012
    Matthew Akers' film is a personally revealing look at an artist most famous for maintaining stone-faced silence for three months.
  2. Reviewed by: Kenji Fujishima
    Jun 12, 2012
    As entertaining as the documentary is, it never really measures up to the fascination and sheer force of personality of its subject.
  3. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jun 12, 2012
    Like many other recent documentaries about artists, it is more celebratory than analytical, a kind of slick, extended promotional video for its subject.
  4. Reviewed by: Sebastian Smee
    Sep 6, 2012
    The oddest moment in this riveting documentary comes when Marina Abramovic, the performance artist, meets David Blaine, the illusionist.
  5. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Jul 2, 2012
    A little pretentious maybe, but then you've got to wonder at a woman who could sit motionless in a wooden chair, eight hours a day for three months.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jun 16, 2012
    This may seem like a stunt, but the experience, with many of the sitters tearing up, or smiling beatifically, is overwhelming to watch.
  7. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Jun 15, 2012
    The second half offers shot after shot of the people who sat opposite Abramovi - an unexpectedly enthralling record of reactions that range from stark agony to rather phony amusement.
  8. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Jun 14, 2012
    Abramovic is a sensationally attractive narcissist and the filmmakers are clearly smitten with her, but the film goes a long way to establish the intellectual seriousness and dedication involved in her ambitious series of art stunts.
  9. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jun 14, 2012
    "It is extremely difficult to be like a mountain, to create stillness in the middle of hell," is how Abramovic describes her task. The most resonant part of this surprisingly emotional film demonstrates how powerful this interaction is, how it expresses something that is no less moving for being, literally, beyond words.
  10. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Jun 14, 2012
    An elegantly observed, sleekly packaged look at an artist whose career-long balance of enigma and self-exposure culminated in a 2010 retrospective at New York City's Museum of Modern Art.
  11. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jun 14, 2012
    This trip through the seminal performance artist's (often literal) body of work is sometimes too cozy, yet Abramovic might argue that objectivity is impossible if truth is the destination.
  12. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Jun 13, 2012
    The documentary seems a little structureless and unfocused at times, as Akers moves from dramatic moment to dramatic moment, not always taking care to connect them.
  13. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jun 13, 2012
    We're given an intimate seat to this wildly democratic - and creepily messianic - spectacle.
  14. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jun 12, 2012
    Rare is the profile that captures so much oddness with so little judgment. You owe yourself a chance to be challenged.
  15. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jun 12, 2012
    The filmmaker's first-rate access feels like a kind of desecration.
  16. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Jun 12, 2012
    An intelligent overview that makes a radical artist's work comprehensible to audiences with no previous awareness of her or her chosen path.
  17. Reviewed by: Chris Packham
    Jun 12, 2012
    She's trying to access a shared humanity, to foster an unusual intimacy with viewers - to strip herself, often literally, to a naked and undeniable truth.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jul 11, 2012
    I rather stumbled upon this documentary, and was going to watch something completely different (not that there is anything like this, actually.) If you are an artist, someone who loves art, or just someone who can be fascinated people - you will be certainly fascinated by Marina Abramovich, the self descirbed grandmother of performance art. This is someone whom I have never heard of, not that I am in the habit of watching art documentaries, as my taste is usually far different. But I feel much richer for the experience that this documentary gave me, which as it turns out, is just the tip of the iceberg of this revolutionary artist. I am still at a loss for words, but if you have an open mind... see this documentary! Full Review »
  2. Sep 14, 2014
    An intense, dramatic, inspiring and sometimes very funny documentary about a determined artist on her way to fame. The upcoming exhibition at MOMA works very well as a narrative frame and Ms. Abramovic is very open about her moments of success and failures. I liked the approachable nature of the whole production, not only for people interested in art, but for everyone who likes to draw inspiration from a successfull artist. Full Review »
  3. Aug 4, 2012
    An emotionally powerful documentary with an amazing subject under it's spotlight. Having no knowledge of Abramovic before the film, and I'm sure the average cinema-goer probably hadn't heard of her either, she makes for a great example of what a true artist is. She is dedicated to her craft more than anyone I think I have ever known, pushing her body to the limits and testing her mental duration. She is a true original. The appeal of her performance art, simply sitting in a chair for eight-so-hours a day for months on end, is truly primal and it is amazing watching the reactions of those who attended MoMA. What I took from it, some people had life-changing experiences. You may find yourself in tears, near the end, as well. You will have to go in with an open mind, of course, because there's no doubt this will alienate some people. But if you do, 'The Artist is Present' will certainly be an emotional experience that will resonate long after viewing. Full Review »