User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 285 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 285
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  1. Dec 21, 2011
    2
    Extremely boring....I could hardly stay awake enough to pay attention. Do not see this late at night or after more than one drink....you will soon be sound asleep.
  2. NancyZ.
    Mar 2, 2008
    3
    Film went off in hundred directions and never quite developed anything. Clooney just broods. I can not see the hipe in this film. What a mess.
  3. Dec 11, 2011
    4
    I have watched various movies in my life and I believe I am one of the most successful metacritic movie reviewers up to date. However, never in my days did I see such **** up movie like "Michael Clayton". First to start off, the movie is a genre exercise; it throws in all the ingredients into one bowl for a cake. But the problem is that the cake tastes like **** I have NO clue how theI have watched various movies in my life and I believe I am one of the most successful metacritic movie reviewers up to date. However, never in my days did I see such **** up movie like "Michael Clayton". First to start off, the movie is a genre exercise; it throws in all the ingredients into one bowl for a cake. But the problem is that the cake tastes like **** I have NO clue how the story goes on and it's mainly compromised of little bits of unfinished stories. However the movie has no point of it's existence....because there is NO MORAL. What's the point of the story? Stop pollution? certainly one of the most depressing movie of the year. Expand
  4. OhshiA.
    Nov 8, 2007
    0
    Very over-rated, this film didn't entice me from the start. It had a little bit of everything which added up to nothing. I guess I've seen one too many "lawyer" movies to think this film had anything new or significant to contribute.
  5. Orson
    Nov 11, 2007
    2
    I laughed a lot, then walked out 90 minutes later in the face of this dreck. "Clayton" is a noir version of "Erin Brockovich," but instead of telling us from the plaintif's side, we see the defendants view. The story hinges on believing in a conspiracy of 11 people knowing The Truth - except that at least a few dozen more know it. The story's body count is only a fraction of I laughed a lot, then walked out 90 minutes later in the face of this dreck. "Clayton" is a noir version of "Erin Brockovich," but instead of telling us from the plaintif's side, we see the defendants view. The story hinges on believing in a conspiracy of 11 people knowing The Truth - except that at least a few dozen more know it. The story's body count is only a fraction of what was needed to keep a lip on this! Hence, my laughter at its predictability. PEOPLE! Didn't Watergate, or at least "All The President's Men," not teach us that beyond 6-12 in the loop, The Truth will out? Yes. At least most films violating this tule distract the audience with action ACTION A-C-T-I-O-N! This one's a ponderous, pretentious bore, redeemed only by fine acting and production values - but an unbelievable script. Expand
  6. TaylorC.
    Nov 26, 2007
    0
    Holy crap this blew! I agree with Olson or whatever.
  7. laladada
    Jan 14, 2008
    0
    I'd only give this movie a ten for the ten or so snores i heard in the unpacked theater screening. despite it being a free screening, i was quite upset that i lost two hours of precious time. actually, just an hour and a half...i got some much needed sleep during the other 30 minutes. at least i left the theater somewhat rested.
  8. GeorgeMovie
    Jan 22, 2008
    4
    Both my wife and I thought this was a ZZZZZZZZ. It was a SO WHAT movie. Based on the people in the audience. they didn't think much of this talky either. Maybe it's the Liberal George Cloony? Its a rental on a Nothings on Tv night.
  9. MichaelP
    Jan 27, 2008
    1
    I only give this a one because of a couple of decent scenes, one being at the very end. Otherwise, as many users said here, the most overrated film of the year. Much adieu about nothing, plot-wise. Structuring the whole movie as one long flashback--by giving away a key ending scene--blew all the suspense for what might have been a very good part of the film. Overall, this felt contrived, I only give this a one because of a couple of decent scenes, one being at the very end. Otherwise, as many users said here, the most overrated film of the year. Much adieu about nothing, plot-wise. Structuring the whole movie as one long flashback--by giving away a key ending scene--blew all the suspense for what might have been a very good part of the film. Overall, this felt contrived, like the filmmakers were trying too hard to be artsy and not hard enough simply to tell a good, gripping story. Your money is better spent on other films that are out right now. Expand
  10. FrankS.
    Jan 27, 2008
    0
    Talking heads. Far too much dialogue. To the filmmakers: learn to use your medium. Less is more. Show, don't tell. A picture is worth a thousand words. And PLEASE don't have one character read the CV of another character aloud! Take a screenwriting course to learn how to avoid this. (How do millions get spent on a fundamentally bad movie...? And these critics--are they paid off Talking heads. Far too much dialogue. To the filmmakers: learn to use your medium. Less is more. Show, don't tell. A picture is worth a thousand words. And PLEASE don't have one character read the CV of another character aloud! Take a screenwriting course to learn how to avoid this. (How do millions get spent on a fundamentally bad movie...? And these critics--are they paid off by the studio or something?) Expand
  11. AndrewD.
    Jan 29, 2008
    0
    A great film for people who are deeply moved by class action suits, lawyers droning endless legalese, and George Clooney's expressionless face. Corporate "thrillers" suck. Who wants to watch movies about this stuff? Workaholics? Save yourself the expense and just work some overtime--you'll get the same thrill and make an extra buck or two in the process.
  12. JasonW.
    Jan 29, 2008
    0
    I didn't buy the premise of this movie. In real life, a lawyer off the rails like the one portrayed here would simply be replaced by his firm. The excuses for not doing this were flimsy. Furthermore, what's with this hackenyed plot? Big, bad, greedy corporation is taken down by good-hearted hero. Please! This theme has been done to death. I don't understand what the critics I didn't buy the premise of this movie. In real life, a lawyer off the rails like the one portrayed here would simply be replaced by his firm. The excuses for not doing this were flimsy. Furthermore, what's with this hackenyed plot? Big, bad, greedy corporation is taken down by good-hearted hero. Please! This theme has been done to death. I don't understand what the critics see in this unoriginal work. Expand
  13. StuartC.
    Feb 17, 2008
    3
    This is an anti capitalist diatribe worthy of a left wing zealot like Clooney. And by the way don't you require a body to make sure someone is dead?
  14. ChristopherS.
    Feb 20, 2008
    3
    This movie spent a lot of time showing us how flawed and difficult Michael Clayton's life is, he gambles, he's divorced, his restaurant is being sold off, his father is hooked up to oxygen his brother is an alcoholic loser and he's in debt to who? Mobsters? And he has till Friday to pay them off? If he doesn't then what?. So What!! I suppose to serve as a contrast to This movie spent a lot of time showing us how flawed and difficult Michael Clayton's life is, he gambles, he's divorced, his restaurant is being sold off, his father is hooked up to oxygen his brother is an alcoholic loser and he's in debt to who? Mobsters? And he has till Friday to pay them off? If he doesn't then what?. So What!! I suppose to serve as a contrast to his great abilities as "fixer". But the one scene where the best "fixer" in the business shows his stuff is at the very beginning when he is called upon to help a client with a sticky hit and run problem. What does he offer this desperate man as a solution? The name of a good trial attorney! The client was understandably unimpressed, so was I. The rest of the movie he's nothing more then a glorified baby-sitter and he screws that up pretty badly. The scene in the field with the horses falls flat simply because Clooney is incapable of letting himself go emotionally. As a result it comes off as an awkward contrivance created simply to get the character out of the car. As a hero Michael Clayton is unimpressive and unimposing. As a villain, Karen Crowder is laughable. This underwritten nebbish of a character is all that stands in Michael's way? Give me a break. The climactic confrontation at the end is a joke. I felt sorry for Crowder and thought Clayton looked more like a classroom bully who gets his kicks picking on little girls then an avenging hero standing up for truth and justice. Totally unimpressive. Expand
  15. JoeT.
    Feb 25, 2008
    2
    The Western elite are flawed and morally bankrupt, I get it. ...Impeccably shot though.
  16. XavierL.
    Feb 25, 2008
    4
    Reminds me of The Firm, but worse. Of course, because it's handsome George staring, and since he's determined to be recognized as an actor, this pseudo-artistic faux-70ies thriller is pleasing the critics, but not the discriminating viewer who enjoys a well-made movie, i.e. don't pretend to make one if your cliche's are...so cliche'! when it pretends to be one.
  17. DeanC.
    Mar 11, 2008
    0
    Way too slow.took too long to develop.
  18. JoshD.
    Mar 30, 2008
    4
    I really wanted to enjoy this movie but found it a little irritating... I know it is directed at a certain audience, and I also like to think I am in that audience but this movie just meandered along... George Clooney nearly looked like he didn't know what was going on as well !
  19. MiKE
    May 31, 2008
    0
    Well acted. but who cares? This movie was a bore! I made myself watch the whole movie, waiting for clever twist. But it never came.
  20. KevinC.
    Jan 10, 2009
    0
    Horrible. Watched it with 5 intelligent, educated professionals, and 1 hour in to it, when it was obvious everyone wanted to quit watching it we still couldn't tell you what the movie was about. Possibly the most boring film I've ever tried to endure. I truly can't believe the acclaim this steaming pile of boredom received...it completely baffles me. God, it was so bad.
  21. NickG
    Aug 2, 2009
    1
    I've had to force myself to watch this film on more than on occasion and I have to say that I still haven't quite caught on to the unnecessarily complicated plot.The performance of the actors, I have to say was quite convincing...But it still was enough for me to enjoy the film.It is baffling to see the acclaim this movie got-I doubt most of the reviewers understood this movie 100%.
  22. DevonC.
    Oct 7, 2007
    4
    I watched the trailer on Youtube and I felt totally engaged and couldn't wait to watch it. But, George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sean Cullen, Michael O'Keefe, and Sydney Pollack took the risk of a huge downfall. A total disaster zone. This is definitely the wrong road for Tony Gilroy as a Director. Just continue writing films because you did an amazing job on The I watched the trailer on Youtube and I felt totally engaged and couldn't wait to watch it. But, George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sean Cullen, Michael O'Keefe, and Sydney Pollack took the risk of a huge downfall. A total disaster zone. This is definitely the wrong road for Tony Gilroy as a Director. Just continue writing films because you did an amazing job on The Bourne Ultimatum. Expand
  23. JoyceC.
    Oct 8, 2007
    0
    Just dumb and unactive, it explains things in the best of ways that seems like they exxagerate. The situation is big, but the movie is not. The story is just the situation, and now it has a plot problem.
  24. JamesqRudolph
    Oct 12, 2007
    1
    I cannot figure out what all the fuss is about. SOLARIS was a better film and that is not saying much
  25. PJ
    Oct 14, 2007
    1
    Flat, uninspired direction. Obviously, trying to emulate the character driven films of the 70's, but the less than engaging plot falls short. All stuff we've seen before, including the predictable "suprise" at the end. People were actually walking out before it was over. Stick to screenwriting Mr. Gilroy. No more 1st time directors for you Mr. Clooney.
  26. LewisP.
    Oct 14, 2007
    3
    One of the most overrated films of the year. For the first hour it's incredibly difficult to know what's happening. And what was all that BS about Clayton's son's book and why Wilkinson's character was so enamored with it? Couldn't figure that one out. The worst part of the film were the antagonists. Have you ever seen such a bunch of humorless, boring One of the most overrated films of the year. For the first hour it's incredibly difficult to know what's happening. And what was all that BS about Clayton's son's book and why Wilkinson's character was so enamored with it? Couldn't figure that one out. The worst part of the film were the antagonists. Have you ever seen such a bunch of humorless, boring villains before in a movie? The antagnoists are so dull that this film could be mistaken for a horror flick about a bunch of zombies! Have you ever heard of a "fixer" in a modern day law firm? More Hollywood BS! And of course, Mr. Trendy George Clooney is more than happy to lend his 'good' name to another inane plot about corporate greed and ludicrous conspiracy theories. I give it a '3' since at least the story followed a three act structure. But beyond that, the characters were totally one-dimensional for those who like their stories told without a shade of gray! Shame on all of you who gave this flick over a '5'. Expand
  27. Battle
    Oct 23, 2007
    4
    Overrated... it tried to be way more complex than it end being. acting was good but I was left very unsatisfied at the end. flashback horse thing was extremely weak. anticlimactic... would not recommend even for a rental.
  28. R.D.
    Oct 27, 2007
    1
    This might be the most overrated movie in years. It was slow, attempted to be too dramatic, and down right boring.
  29. richardf.
    Oct 31, 2007
    1
    Highly overrated. Clooney for an Oscar? please.
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 36
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 36
  3. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Clooney is as good as he has ever been.
  2. As with the Bourne films, Gilroy has a knack for creating strong characters and situations that resonate with tension. It may be formula, but the guy is a solid chemist as he crafts excellent set-ups and payoffs.
  3. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    70
    Features strong performances and a solid story, drawn from the familiar well of faceless corporations grinding ordinary people through their profit-making machinery. Yet Gilroy's fidelity to his script comes at the expense of the pacing.