Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 4 Ratings

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  • Summary: Truck driver Georgy sets out on a provincial Russian highway for a routine delivery, but a series of chance encounters see his journey spiral out of control. A roadside police check, a war veteran, and a young prostitute lead him to a village from which there appears to be no way out – where the locals struggle to survive a tough, elemental world, and the past holds a grip on their everyday lives. Caught in a merciless dead end, Georgy's unexpected fate is the crux of award-winning documentarian Sergei Loznitsa's unique and original feature debut, My Joy. Based on true stories the director encountered during his decade-long pilgrimage by road through Russia, My Joy is a daring and haunting parable from an arresting new voice in feature filmmaking. (Kino Lorber Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Oct 1, 2011
    90
    My Joy has a bleak, grotesque, near-perfect poetry in its soul.
  2. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Sep 29, 2011
    90
    The world of My Joy is grim, though the experience of watching it and piecing together its fragmented story strands is anything but. It's suspenseful, mysterious, at times bitterly funny, consistently moving and filled with images of a Russia haunted both by ghosts and the living dead.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Sep 27, 2011
    80
    My Joy is a maddening vision and one of the year's must-see provocations.
  4. Reviewed by: Aaron Cutler
    Sep 25, 2011
    75
    Sergei Loznitsa's documentaries are mainly compilations of archival footage, so it makes sense that his first fiction film is also essentially a compilation, an array of dynamic, aggressive bits rather than one coherent text.
  5. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Sep 28, 2011
    75
    Those schooled in Eastern European history may have better luck deciphering it, but what keeps it compelling throughout is Loznitsa's direction, which favors sophisticated long takes and particularly suspenseful use of foreground and background action. His next film should be a doozy.
  6. Reviewed by: Alissa Simon
    Sep 25, 2011
    70
    Although discomfiting to audiences desiring a steady narrative thread (and less accessible to those unfamiliar with Eastern European history and culture), it sustains interest throughout as a devastating critique of Russian society.
  7. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Sep 27, 2011
    60
    The film's sociopolitical critique is as dull as a sledgehammer - and maybe on the money - but the truth is far more entertaining.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Oct 4, 2011
    10
    Bleak and hopeless, but a great ride across rural post-Soviet Russia, My Joy uses folk tale conventions to tell it's modern tale of self-reliance and ruthless opportunism. Expand
  2. Apr 15, 2012
    6
    I don't fully understand the story of this movie. I'm not sure if this is my fault, or the director's, or perhaps that it was intended. But I will say that being an American, it is a very interesting look into a completely different world that feels very real and dynamic. Part of this is just because the movie is about, and shot in Russia. So maybe I enjoy this in the way I would enjoy incredibly candid slides from someone's vacation to Moscow. It would have to be a very bleak vacation, of course. One where they were repeatedly robbed and taken advantage of by members of the police and military. But whatever the cause, I must admit, I enjoyed the movie and found it to be an interesting and authentic-feeling glimpse into a country where life is much more chaotic, unfair, and difficult. A country where roads literally lead nowhere. Expand

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