User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 53
  2. Negative: 14 out of 53

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  1. Aug 11, 2011
    In the name of all that's holy, let's never put any demands on the audience. If we did they might have to do some serious thinking about character dynamics, racial attitudes in the 19th century, trust and distrust of authority figures, the influence of landscapes in films, all sorts of stuff. Before you know it, you've got elitism.... the opposite of which, I guess, is the great common touch of mindlessness. Expand
  2. Apr 23, 2011
    Wow. As Joe says, it's certainly minimalist. But in a movie, I want more than what this movie is offering. You don't end a movie this way. I wrote a short story in college as part of a fiction-writing seminar, and I ended it in a similar way. I was roundly attacked by most everyone in the class as well as the professor - now I understand why. Michelle Williams is solid - so is Bruce Greenwood. Would I recommend that ANYone see this movie? Nope. Was the tension, the frustration, the desperation palpable? Absolutely. This would be a good movie-club type of movie to discuss among a group. It's the anti-There-Will-Be-Blood. Expand
  3. Aug 22, 2011
    When something visually stunning is ignored, sometimes, in the movies, there is a feeling of disappointment and neglect that can distance the film right away from its viewer. But when, in a movie, every aspect and detail of beauty is carefully shown and appreciated, very much like in "Meek's Cutoff", we, the viewers, feel a warmth and desire to enter the picture and interact with all the little pieces that make it so great. Fortunately, in Kelly Reichardt's marvelous, minimalist epic film, those little pieces are spread through the screen and include both the characters and plot of the film as well as the insignificant but important surroundings of it. "Meek's Cutoff" is above everything an experience with the power of observation, managed so masterly and convincingly that you won't turn your eyes away. Expand
  4. May 2, 2011
    Slept most of the movie. Cinematography is impeccable. All the details are done with perfection. But there is not much else. Left the theater quite disappointed.
  5. Apr 8, 2011
    At the Upper Westside movie theater we attended tonight the mostly middle aged and older viewers actually hooted when the movie ended. All of us had read the laudatory review in the New York Times, but it was clear that nobody agreed with it.
  6. May 31, 2011
    A small group of pioneers is lost on the Oregon trail: that's pretty much the whole movie. The pacing is beyond slow: they trudge across the land, do simple chores, trudge some more. Much of the minimal dialogue is indiscernible and there's no emotional build. And to top it off, the movie doesn't endâ
  7. Apr 8, 2011
    Critic dudes, wtf?! This movie blew. Tortorously tedious. Love and respect for MW but the story was pathetic. A 6th grade play at best. An 86??!! Stay away, people.
  8. Jan 4, 2012
    Its a reasonably good movie let down by a rather unfulfilled ending. Had I known of the type of ending I probably would have given it a miss. Its not a memorable film by any means and the fact that it scores in the green is probably a reflection of the poor choice of movies these days that anything of merit of this film.
  9. Apr 28, 2011
    The movie palpably attempted, to cleverly show the destitute conditions a 1845 settler family had to endure,searching for water. While it succeeded, it was quite mundane and laborious to watch. I found myself slumping on my chair, constantly trying to fixate my eyes on the screen but to no avail. From the elitist critics reviews and by the intriguing posters I thought it would be quite exuberant. It drags on at a sluggish pace and end at a slow pace as well. It exacerbates the audience further by having a ambiguous ending. The dialogue is minimal and when spoken is just muttered and very inaudible. Despite the families plight, I couldn't sympathise with them because of their bigotry towards the Indian. Who they fear and at the same time deem quintessential to obtaining water. At times I thought of many sadistic ways, in which a cavalcade of Indians would just come along and slaughter them. It would been more engrossing that way. I am a teenager after all what do you except from my generation? If a movie is arid, we will loathe it. I understand it is meant to have intellectual property and symbolism. But for god sake make it appealing to people. I don't watch movies to feel intelligent. I watch them to be entertained. Only a comatose patient would find this interesting. Expand
  10. Aug 14, 2011
    Acting and direction are fine but hardly the most challenging of storylines. Do not allow this film to trick you into thinking it is more clever than it is. If it looks, sounds and smells like a boring film - it's because it is. No doubt the director wants to 'challenge perceptions' and words like 'subtle' and 'slow burning' will be used. This is an attempt by critics and movie industry insiders to pretend they view films on a different level to the rest of us - they know the film sucks and blows - just like everyone else, but they are afraid to say so for fear that they may be missing some 'profound message' hidden deep in the non-event that is this film.

    Absolutely nothing happens. On one occasion in the film, something almost threatens to happen but of course it doesn't. The coup de grace is the ending, which of course is no ending at all. Either this was an ill-conceived attempt to provoke thought and discussion or, as a I suspect to be the case, the esteemed director took the gamble that no one would actually endure the film to its pitiful conclusion.

    The film seeks to be an attempt to defy convention and this seems to be applauded without further consideration by critics these days. The challenge was set - prove you know more about films than the rest of us mere mortals by justifying the existence of this nonsense by writing a positive review - and the critics took up the baton like Olympic athletes. The simple truth is that the primary aim of films is to entertain. This can be done in many ways, I understand that. But a film that fails to entertain at all is a bad film - however cleverly or in defiance of common practice anbd wisdom this may be achieved.

    The genius of the film is to con the critics and wannabee arty types into thinking there is more to it than there actually is. It is the film equivalent of the composition by John Cage - 4'33" which consisted of 4 minutes 33 seconds of pure silence - no doubt the critics loved that too. The film appears to 'appeal' to people who are tired of the formulaic, big budget, cartoon hero, SFX Hollywood movies that dominate at the moment. I have some sympathy with that viewpoint. However, to jump on the bandwagon of a film simply because it flys in the face of what you dislike is to cheat yourselves. Hating what is already out there is not a good reason to try to justify the merit of anything different. The critics have proved how pointless and out of touch with reality they are. 80%+ of critics appear to love this film and yet I suspect that 99% of the general public who are honest with themselves, will hate it.

    People of the world - YOU deserve better - treat this film with the contempt IT deserves. Remember - the emperor wasn't wearing fine clothes, he was naked - and this film is terrible, however hard people with a thesaurus and some sort of movie industry qualification will try to convince you otherwise.
  11. Nov 1, 2011
    Please somebody shoot me for watching this movie! My God this is the worst Western I have ever seen. I think 60% of the movie was watching scenery and not attractive scenery- brush! I
  12. Nov 26, 2011
    It felt very realistic. The settlers basically walk around the desert for most of the movie, kidnap an Indian, and run out of water. There is little violence, no sex, and the most exciting thing that happens is that the settler's wagons needed to be lowered down a steep hill. Surprisingly though, I was not bored at all. It was wonderfully directed. Very beautiful movie. The acting was great. I liked the Indian the best and Meek was a total boob, however, there was this one woman, and she was forever freaking out. wanted to punch her. The score was great too. I liked it a lot. Expand
  13. Umm
    Dec 20, 2011
    I really enjoyed this movie and felt obligated to post a review to help its score a bit. It's beautifully shot, acted, and full of subtleties. I highly recommend it. There is a real sense of dread and terror. The director doesn't spoon feed the audience anything, or show his hand. Which makes it all the more nerve-wracking (in a very good way). Few movies can create such a natural sense of unease without relying on shock-factor tricks. It's shocking to me how people think that a movie they don't like is some kind of scam or ploy by filmmakers and critics. Sad. Expand
  14. Jan 3, 2012
    Is it possible that the gorgeous cinematography and historical attention to detail confuses people into thinking that this is a better movie than it is? The real story of Meek's Cutoff was sweeping, dramatic and epic and this movie has boiled it down to weak soup. How rare - it's usually the other way around in Hollywood. The ending is...insulting. Please don't condescend by declaring it great and the need for clear endings to be bourgeois. I don't ever need neat clean tidy endings and appreciate ambiguity in many circumstances in art, but this was ridiculous. So insulting that I was moved to write my first review here to warn others who have little time to catch great movies. If you are a history buff or appreciate a period drama, watch the first 5 minutes. That's really all you need. Beautifully shot with great acting, but to quote Gertrude Stein, there is no "there" there. Expand
  15. Mar 14, 2012
    O.K. This is the kind of movie that people who live in New York, along the eastern seaboard, or California love. They get to watch someone's visual poetry of something that is beyond their realm and they are enthralled. The west is beautiful... even the high mountain deserts this film displayed, but pictures of a silent desert with women walking in the distance in lovely colored dresses do not a story make. After the first ten minutes, I watched the whole movie on fast forward and did not miss a thing, including the nonexistent dialogue. I could not believe the silly I watched it twice. Yep! Pretty silly. Expand
  16. Aug 10, 2012
    Potentially one of the worst films I've ever had the displeasure of sitting through, most certainly credited to the absolute worst script I've ever seen make it to screen. The point of film is to "show, don't tell" as it's a visual medium, however, this film does the exact opposite, as most plot points are voiced over in dialogue and very little is actually shown, leading to a film that drags tremendously throughout. Expand

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    May 26, 2011
    Greenwood is fantastic; his Meek occasionally lets down his facade of omniscience - but only occasionally. And Williams gives Emily not dignity exactly, but a calm, steely insistence on survival.
  2. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 25, 2011
    To call Meek's Cutoff slow doesn't begin to describe its pace. There are stretches that are, frankly, boring. But the vivid details and intimacy you develop with these travelers sticks with you.
  3. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    May 19, 2011
    A mesmerizing cinematic journey that is often as arduous and spare as the lives of its hard-bitten protagonists.