User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 417 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 93 out of 417
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  1. MaxwellS.
    May 9, 2004
    4
    I was looking forward to this movie more than anything in late 2003 except for LOTR:ROTK. What happened?! Seriously! This movie had everything going for it. The acting was spectacular, it was based on a great book, and Clint Eastwood at the helm. Sadly, it was boring, predictable, and disappointing.
  2. N8daGR8
    Oct 30, 2003
    0
    Read the book! If ever you think of going to see this movie based on the reveiws, DON'T and spend your money on the book. Trust me you will thank yourself. Character development was apparently something Helgeland and Eastwood felt a film could do without. The cinematography is so overtly obvious in trying to lead you on that it becomes annoying after about five minutes, but just wait Read the book! If ever you think of going to see this movie based on the reveiws, DON'T and spend your money on the book. Trust me you will thank yourself. Character development was apparently something Helgeland and Eastwood felt a film could do without. The cinematography is so overtly obvious in trying to lead you on that it becomes annoying after about five minutes, but just wait you get the joy of sitting through over two hours of this...enjoy. Expand
  3. RodP.
    Nov 16, 2003
    6
    Well I'd psyched myself up for a great flick. Genuinely wanted Mystic River to be something very special - it was not. I find the "the much loved director, local film" thing fascinating. If Mystic is an almost cert for best film oscar nomination then this year aint a strong one. Imagine if Lord of the Rings had been made by James Cameron - he would have been gonged with best film 3 Well I'd psyched myself up for a great flick. Genuinely wanted Mystic River to be something very special - it was not. I find the "the much loved director, local film" thing fascinating. If Mystic is an almost cert for best film oscar nomination then this year aint a strong one. Imagine if Lord of the Rings had been made by James Cameron - he would have been gonged with best film 3 years running simply based on the colour of his passport. Expand
  4. Nov 29, 2013
    4
    you can sum up Mystic River by two things only, weird and far away from reality.
    i mean it's like watching a movie by Paul Thomas Anderson.
    because everything that the characters do in this movie is the exact opposite from what people do in these types of situations. my point is you can't relate to these characters actions at all. a man just told his wife that he killed the wrong guy,
    you can sum up Mystic River by two things only, weird and far away from reality.
    i mean it's like watching a movie by Paul Thomas Anderson.
    because everything that the characters do in this movie is the exact opposite from what people do in these types of situations.
    my point is you can't relate to these characters actions at all. a man just told his wife that he killed the wrong guy, and the wife tell him, "that what kings do", WHAT.
    and the innocent man who got killed confessed about a crime he didn't commit for no obvious reason, and the people who actually did the murder have no motive at all.
    and it's keep getting weirder and weirder to the point that you keep scratching your head after the movie ends.
    i mean seriously Clint Eastwood.
    and i can't understand why Tim Robbins nabbed an Oscar for best actor, all what he ever did was few face expressions and 4 or 5 lines.
    and Clint Eastwood stretched some scenes way too much so you can relate to the performances but it was iffy and cold for all of them.
    Expand
  5. Dec 15, 2011
    10
    People are idiots, SImple as that. Mystic River is a great film - Great acting by the cast, Interesting story, and a very satisfying ending. Sean Penn and Tim Robbins are untouchable in this.
  6. AlexR
    Mar 20, 2006
    4
    wow, I can find some seemingly good aspects about this film if I try, but come on!.. a 10? Award nominations? I just can
  7. JeffG.
    Dec 10, 2004
    0
    This was one of the most pretentious pieces of s..t I've ever seen! It seems all we need for a collective, critic circle jerk is to have Sean, Tim, Kevin, and child molestation in the same film. A story can enlighten, inform, unite, mystify, amuse, or frighten. Can anyone explain to me how this film did any of the above? A trailer that seemed to hint that Tim Robbins's character This was one of the most pretentious pieces of s..t I've ever seen! It seems all we need for a collective, critic circle jerk is to have Sean, Tim, Kevin, and child molestation in the same film. A story can enlighten, inform, unite, mystify, amuse, or frighten. Can anyone explain to me how this film did any of the above? A trailer that seemed to hint that Tim Robbins's character would track down his molesters with the aid of friends he hadn't seen in years, a plot that my wife and I figured out at the halfway point, and enough dead-end/pointless plot devices to fill Boston Harbor. Above all, this film carried with it the most reviling aspect of 'hip,' modern film-making, and that was the moral vacuum that this film resides in. Thank you for the forum. Jeff Graham-Tulsa, OK. Expand
  8. DayleH.
    Oct 5, 2003
    10
    Saw it at a preview last night and was blown away. I never read the book, but heard from comments by Eastwood, who spoke after the preview, that it was deliberately kept very close to the original story, feel, even dialogue. Just amazing acting jobs by a group of some of the smartest, best actors and actresses on screen today. Powerful, haunting story.
  9. WAKOJAKO
    Jan 8, 2004
    5
    This is what the critics call a masterpiece???? Have they all gone MAD? It's an OK murder mystery, much of which a discerning mind can foretell from miles away, but it is so long and overacted, and in some ways undeveloped, that it's hard to imagine why anyone would even think of this as a good movie. Two exceptions to the acting: Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney, of whom I This is what the critics call a masterpiece???? Have they all gone MAD? It's an OK murder mystery, much of which a discerning mind can foretell from miles away, but it is so long and overacted, and in some ways undeveloped, that it's hard to imagine why anyone would even think of this as a good movie. Two exceptions to the acting: Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney, of whom I wish there had been more. Sean Penn is way too over the top, Kevin Bacon is flat and unaffecting, and Tim Robbins is just plain annoying. Someone mentioned it may require a second viewing to "get" this "gem" of a picture, but I never see boring movies twice. Expand
  10. TylerC.
    Jun 26, 2004
    5
    This movie had great acting but I did not like the ending at all. It is a must see "who dun it?"
  11. ArnoldH.
    Oct 20, 2003
    5
    The final fifteen minutes of this movie are so utterly preposterous that whatever interest it held prior to that had been completely destroyed. Overall, a major disappointment from some very talented people.
  12. Maddie
    Jan 28, 2004
    0
    It's got plotholes you could drive a truck through. Pretentious performances and directing.
  13. JeffB.
    Feb 1, 2004
    0
    Arrogant yet completely forgettable.
  14. DanielB.
    Feb 20, 2004
    2
    I saw this film back in October when it first opened. I was never so disappointed. The writing, acting, and directing all demonstrate a shocking lack of self-awareness and patent snobbery. The writers had fertile ground to work on, so why did they choose to cheapen the narrative with stupid plot twists that come straight out of a dime store thriller? While Tim Robbins is quite good in his I saw this film back in October when it first opened. I was never so disappointed. The writing, acting, and directing all demonstrate a shocking lack of self-awareness and patent snobbery. The writers had fertile ground to work on, so why did they choose to cheapen the narrative with stupid plot twists that come straight out of a dime store thriller? While Tim Robbins is quite good in his limited role, Sean Penn's turn was aggravatingly artificial. I fervently hope that Bill Murray wins the Oscar for his far more sensitive and genuine acting in Lost in Translation. Its whole tone is self-congratualory and smug which is completely out of place and just mind-numbing for the viewer. Essentially, the film is out of touch with itself. It tries to walk and talk like a good movie, when it is anything but. Expand
  15. JasonT.
    Mar 27, 2004
    3
    Silly, annoyingly pretentious garbage. How the hell did this crap get nominated for best picture?
  16. GustavoH.R.
    May 29, 2004
    8
    Yet another movie that was light-years ahead of LOTR in quality. It's a rather difficult and bitter film to watch, but the actors are great and so is Clint Eastwood directing.
  17. CameronS.
    May 6, 2004
    10
    This is perplexingly appalling, my fourth favorite (of 180 films) of 2003 has a 4.7 average. This is beyond foolish, but the score is not my statement. Mystic River is a harrowing, well-performed drama. A film similar to classics because it is an emotional thriller. I say more things in a more organized manner but I'm just so struck by how many people hated this. With this and the This is perplexingly appalling, my fourth favorite (of 180 films) of 2003 has a 4.7 average. This is beyond foolish, but the score is not my statement. Mystic River is a harrowing, well-performed drama. A film similar to classics because it is an emotional thriller. I say more things in a more organized manner but I'm just so struck by how many people hated this. With this and the other two of the other four films that were nominated for best picture were excellent and both have scores pretty low. The browsers of metacritic have to be dumber than the ones of other sites. Expand
  18. MaryM.
    Jul 9, 2004
    10
    Loved this move. Everything seems to work. Plus the soundtrack really grows on you. A beautiful/haunting film.
  19. patrickd.
    Oct 30, 2005
    10
    5.1?????? Movie like Napolean Dynamyte got a better score than this?
  20. EricS.
    Mar 25, 2005
    10
    Coming from one who doesn't always enjoy Oscar-nominated films, I can tell you that you owe it to yourself to watch "Mystic River". Terrific acting, especially from Penn and Robbins. While the plot got a little confusing and cryptic at times, almost everything was answered in the end. "Mystic River" is one of those films that provokes a strong emotional response that doesn't Coming from one who doesn't always enjoy Oscar-nominated films, I can tell you that you owe it to yourself to watch "Mystic River". Terrific acting, especially from Penn and Robbins. While the plot got a little confusing and cryptic at times, almost everything was answered in the end. "Mystic River" is one of those films that provokes a strong emotional response that doesn't overshadow the plot. It left me thinking for a long time afterwards. The low metascore is probably due to the fact that many viewers can't stomach a serious movie (not to mention one un-PC enough to actually bring up priests and molestation in the same sentence). Not everything turns out fine in the end, people! If I wasn''t such a LOTR fan I would say this was the best film of 2004. Hats off to Eastwood! Expand
  21. David
    Apr 9, 2005
    9
    One of the best movies i have ever seen. Eastwood is the last classic. Great casting.
  22. BuckF.
    Aug 5, 2005
    6
    Predictable, stilted, and way over-acted. Not to mention that not a single "great actor" in the film managed an even halfway believable Boston accent (though all tried- Fishburne, Penn, Bacon, Robbins...) Their buffoonish attempts to mimic the Beantown dialect were distracting and laughable- in fact they ruined what could have otherwise been a pretty decent 2-hour episode of "Law and Order."
  23. LarryR.
    Oct 26, 2003
    1
    Overly pretentious, full of undeserved self-importance, and making the revolutionary statement that violence begets violence. Wow, who wudda' thunk? Be prepared to sit through over two hours of inaudible dialogue by Sean Penn and a preachy predictable plot. Isn't something supposed to happen in movies?
  24. BillyC.
    Dec 6, 2003
    6
    I thought the twist was pretty good although the scene with the brothers in the kitchen wasnt clear.Tim was pretty believable, sean was given too much cool that he could handle. Fishburn did an honorable job with what they had written for him, he clearly has skills. The speech by penns wife in the end was weird to the point of going, huh?The whole deal with bacons mystery lady on the I thought the twist was pretty good although the scene with the brothers in the kitchen wasnt clear.Tim was pretty believable, sean was given too much cool that he could handle. Fishburn did an honorable job with what they had written for him, he clearly has skills. The speech by penns wife in the end was weird to the point of going, huh?The whole deal with bacons mystery lady on the other end was not slick at all. It does have a lot to think about and our predjudices. Expand
  25. AustinW.
    Oct 29, 2003
    3
    Over-acted, over-directed, ham-handed - just plain awful. Bacon and Fishburne are pretty good, but Penn, Harden, Linney (ugh - that monologue Beth referred to is horrendous), Robbins, etc, etc are all TERRIBLE. It's like a bad episode of law + order with an extra hour and a half and a blue filter.
  26. KEV
    Oct 29, 2003
    6
    Overrated movie. Not bad in the acting department with the all-star cast. However, if the ozone layer had holes as large as this plot did, we'd all have died years ago.
  27. John
    Jan 12, 2004
    3
    Out of all the actors, I could only admire Marica Gay Harden - she seemed to be the only person who didn't blatantly try to out-act everyone else. As far as the story goes, it completely degerates in the last third. As a murder mystery, it fails. As a social commentary, it fails even more. And as far as packing an emotional impact, Laura Linney's monologue in the end drove me to Out of all the actors, I could only admire Marica Gay Harden - she seemed to be the only person who didn't blatantly try to out-act everyone else. As far as the story goes, it completely degerates in the last third. As a murder mystery, it fails. As a social commentary, it fails even more. And as far as packing an emotional impact, Laura Linney's monologue in the end drove me to laughter. Still, the end was sickening. Eastwood ends the film with such a disgusting lack of faith in mankind that I felt sick to my stomach. And I can stomach depressing films. Mystic River just sucks. (p.s. for truly harrowing acting, see 21 Grams. Penn's performance is remarkably better). Expand
  28. AlexG.
    Jan 26, 2004
    0
    Tedious and the scenery chewing performances overshadow any substance.
  29. Droog
    Feb 1, 2004
    5
    Mystic River is not a terrible movie, but it's not a very good one either. Essentially, its parts are greater than the whole. I think the acting is superb. Sean Penn gives a performance of a lifetime here; his portrayal of a grieving father will not be replicated in Hollywood anytime soon. Tim Robbins does a fine job of depicting a man battling his personal demons. Kevin Bacon and Mystic River is not a terrible movie, but it's not a very good one either. Essentially, its parts are greater than the whole. I think the acting is superb. Sean Penn gives a performance of a lifetime here; his portrayal of a grieving father will not be replicated in Hollywood anytime soon. Tim Robbins does a fine job of depicting a man battling his personal demons. Kevin Bacon and the rest do well in supporting roles. But good acting can't save this film. There is a threadbare premise, two to three Deus Ex Machinas used to tie up the pedantic plot, minor or unseen characters providing the story spurs, and a jagged ending that neither satisfies nor questions itself. What are we to make of this? Does this movie even make us think? I suppose there was some message of "interrupted history" brought to completion in there somewhere, but mostly I just felt empty after the credits began to roll. I felt empty because the film itself is empty; it's devoid of ideas, meaning, and purpose. And that's a shame because Sean Penn is hence forced to single-handedly pull this movie out of mediocrity. Expand
  30. DeedeeS.
    Feb 1, 2004
    5
    I thought this movie was mediocre at best. The screenplay is a bad cut-and-paste job from an excellent novel. And to TINA below who gives this movie a 10 even though she "didn't like this movie" because it is the probably the movie with the best chance of beating The Return of the King and it's "obsessive fans" "who will do anything," please re-read your post and take your I thought this movie was mediocre at best. The screenplay is a bad cut-and-paste job from an excellent novel. And to TINA below who gives this movie a 10 even though she "didn't like this movie" because it is the probably the movie with the best chance of beating The Return of the King and it's "obsessive fans" "who will do anything," please re-read your post and take your pathetic idiocy elsewhere. Your desperation is embarrassing. Expand
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 42
  2. Negative: 1 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    This is at bottom a pulp thriller that strains -- sometimes pretentiously, at other times with gutter magnificence -- to reach the level of basic human truths.
  2. 100
    To see strong acting like this is exhilarating. In a time of flashy directors who slice and dice their films in a dizzy editing rhythm, it is important to remember that films can look and listen and attentively sympathize with their characters. Directors grow great by subtracting, not adding, and Eastwood does nothing for show, everything for effect.
  3. Mystic River is classic Eastwood, classic noir. If there is still some doubt about whether this one-time macho star is actually a world-class moviemaker, Mystic River should end the argument for good. One of the best American movies of the year, crisply well-crafted and beautifully acted.