Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nov 14, 2013
    Some may find the film underpowered. Not me. With elegant understatement, Cohen creates a humane testament to reaching out, whatever our habits and routines.
  2. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Aug 15, 2013
    Museum Hours is every bit as masterfully conceived and executed as the art works that serve as the film’s lively cast of supporting characters.
  3. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jun 27, 2013
    This movie is rigorously and intensely lifelike, which is to say that it’s also a strange and moving work of art.
  4. Reviewed by: Calum Marsh
    Jun 25, 2013
    The film, a kind of hybrid between understated drama and essayistic tourism, approaches its subjects with uncommon patience and curiosity, lingering over objects and faces as if to savor their aesthetic qualities, eager to convey truths without authorial imposition.
  5. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Jun 24, 2013
    Jem Cohen's film finds its most salient tension in the fraught relationship between known and unknown objects.
  6. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jun 25, 2013
    With a keen eye for the capacity of fine art to address a complex range of attitudes and experiences, Museum Hours effectively applies Cohen's existing strengths to a familiar scenario and rejuvenates it by delivering a powerfully contemplative look at the transformative ability of all art.
  7. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    Jun 26, 2013
    Essentially an essay film, Museum Hours is less interested in plot than in using its characters as a way to give ideas shape and voice; however, because their performances are natural and improvisatory, the movie never seems didactic.
  8. Reviewed by: Mike McCahill
    Sep 6, 2013
    Like José Luis Guerín's brilliant 2007 curio "In the City of Sylvia," this is one of those rare films that may change the way you view the world.
  9. Reviewed by: Trevor Johnston
    Sep 4, 2013
    Its encouragement to let ourselves be captivated by everyday humanity as well as the old masters is both richly illuminating and quirkily endearing. Time well spent.
  10. Reviewed by: Tom Dawson
    Sep 2, 2013
    Blurring documentary/fiction boundaries, writer/director Jem Cohen’s film is deceptively simple.
  11. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Aug 15, 2013
    It's a film whose pleasures are much more visual than dramatic, but that doesn't mean there aren't serious things on its mind.
  12. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Jun 25, 2013
    The real strength of Cohen’s occasionally didactic drama, though, is in the way the film redirects your focus to the periphery and reminds you of the richness that resides there. It was an achievement Bruegel mastered early on. And it’s what makes Museum Hours its own work of art.
  13. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Jul 19, 2013
    Museum Hours is an unusual film. It lacks a score yet feels like a sonata, intimate and musical. Secret harmonies are being heard.
  14. 75
    It’s a hybrid drama/art-history essay about how looking at art recasts our experience of looking at the world.
  15. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Jun 28, 2013
    The film shows how quiet exteriors can mask deep interior lives, and how art feeds those lives. The view of art is richly intellectual, sometimes enthralling. But I confess, I liked Museum Hours best for answering a question I’ve always had: What is that guard thinking?
  16. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Jun 27, 2013
    Those who don't savor Cohen's leisurely rhythms will probably not respond to Museum Hours, and even the movie's admirers will admit that it could be a little tighter. One scene that might be trimmed is the one where museum-goers pose, naked as the people on the canvases around them. The interlude certainly isn't dull, but it is a little brazen for a film that encourages its viewers to find the beauty in more commonplace sights.
  17. Reviewed by: Bill Stamets
    Nov 14, 2013
    Observant with mannered edits, Jem Cohen’s modest story delivers a character sketch and a traveler’s essay.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. Aug 19, 2013
    I generally like artsy movies but this one was too much for me. The director of the movie makes a parallel between the beauty in paintings ofI generally like artsy movies but this one was too much for me. The director of the movie makes a parallel between the beauty in paintings of famous artists and the beauty of common-day things around us. The museum scenes depict paintings of Pieter Breughel whose works I like a lot. When those paintings are shown or are talked about, it's the best part of the movie, unfortunately, the smallest part. Most of the film is Vienna in its permanent gloom. I have been to Vienna and I know it is a beautiful city but I would not have such an impression from viewing this movie. The story itself (or it's absence?) does not add much to making this movie attracting. For me it was mostly a waste of time and money, alas. Full Review »
  2. Lyn
    Sep 21, 2014
    Well, this certainly was not the fun 'n' quirky Vienna of the lovers in "Before Sunrise." Art museum guard Johann reveals himself to us in theWell, this certainly was not the fun 'n' quirky Vienna of the lovers in "Before Sunrise." Art museum guard Johann reveals himself to us in the voiceover as a mildly philosophical, pragmatic fellow who makes the most of things. His common-sense observations make us glad he's befriended a visitor from Montreal who's there in trying circumstances. (And who has the worst movie hair since, possibly, Cameron Diaz in "Being John Malkovich.") Anne also is not as engaging as Johann -- not winsome at all, really -- and the film could be 20 minutes shorter. Yet for the most part, the interplay between the characters, the settings and the museum artwork is fascinating, instructive, thought-provoking. I enjoyed the observations about art and the implicit challenge to think about people's (possible) inner lives in a different way. Full Review »
  3. Mar 11, 2014
    I have forgotten how an art movie looks like. I am satisfied with this movie. It is good to see a movie like this after some time, especiallyI have forgotten how an art movie looks like. I am satisfied with this movie. It is good to see a movie like this after some time, especially after I was busy with Oscar event and nominee movies. Although the art movie is not my type, sometimes I get bored for its slow presentation, but sometimes I will be thrilled to enjoy those great visuals.

    Movies without commercial values are kinda bores me. Sometime intense scenes and inappropriate scenes turn me off. There are many people who love this rare form of the movie, but my interest in those movies depends on what it deals. This movie was about art museum, I like paintings and drawing so managed to enjoy it.

    This movie was like a documentary about an art museum from Austria. They concentrated more on art pieces to explain behind story of those. They just added a couple of characters in the movie with a story to start and end about the beautiful Vienna museum. Yeah, it worked so well, human emotions plus great fine arts, totally an awesome blend.

    If you ask me, I would say it is an another form of 'Before Sunrise'. The whole movie takes place between two characters, Anne and Johan. Mostly they talk largely about paintings and Vienna city. It is a kinda educational purpose where we can get information about the city and its history. You won't like it just after a watch, it will take time. Day by day you will begin like it more and more, that is how this movie is made up of.
    Full Review »