Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: When a Vienna museum guard befriends an enigmatic visitor, the grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum becomes a mysterious crossroads which sparks explorations of their lives, the city, and the ways artwork reflects and shapes the world.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  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: Jesse Cataldo
    Jun 24, 2013
    Jem Cohen's film finds its most salient tension in the fraught relationship between known and unknown objects.
  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: 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.
  5. Reviewed by: Tom Dawson
    Sep 2, 2013
    Blurring documentary/fiction boundaries, writer/director Jem Cohen’s film is deceptively simple.
  6. 75
    It’s a hybrid drama/art-history essay about how looking at art recasts our experience of looking at the world.
  7. Reviewed by: Leba Hertz
    Sep 19, 2013
    Part travelogue, part narrative and part art-history class. The class is what's best about this pretty decent movie.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. Sep 19, 2013
    OUTSTANDING! Intriguing, tender, exquisitely filmed study of everyday life and all it brings. Mary Margaret O'Hara is spellbinding. An absolute triumph. If the Oscars were at all meaningful I would hope this would sweep the board. Collapse
  2. Aug 26, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have come to accept that many European movies are slow especially at the beginning. Watching this film is more like looking through a book of photography filled with images around a theme, interspersed with a bit of a story with a nice message (great works of art, and especially Breughel's are life and we can and should view our lives with the same appreciation that we view works at the Kunsthistoricshes museum). Expecting nothing more means more enjoyment of the movie. Bit's of playful surprises spice up many (moving) images of street photography. And, the interactions between the movie's two characters is, likewise, slow, complex, and without much in the way of plot movement. Expand
  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, 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.
  4. 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 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. Expand
  5. 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 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. Expand
  6. Aug 23, 2013
    I, also, generally like art movies but this was one of the most boring movies I have ever seen. There is no plot and, although some individual segments are interesting, the movie is much too long. Expand