User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 386 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 89 out of 386

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  1. Aug 25, 2014
    9
    Mystic River is haunting in absolutely every way. There isn't a human truth Clint Eastwood does not successfully touch on and move you with. It's thrilling... and certainly an ensemble to be remembered.
  2. May 8, 2014
    8
    Eastwood's Mystic River haunts you for days, it just breaks your heart in half. Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon put on career-best performances.
  3. Mar 19, 2014
    8
    This one is tragically beautiful. What this one did really well is instill the dark mood as loss in many different ways acts like a fog that covers the entire film. Overall, the story is really interesting. On the surface, it is simply a crime thriller where they try to find out who did it and what not, but it is also a representation of human suffering and tragedy. In many ways, it shows how these three troubled boys are not unscathed by the things that have happened to them and how all of them have suffered and will suffer profound losses that consume them entirely. I think the script by Brian Helgeland was fantastic and the direction from Clint Eastwood was really good as well. However, the real star is Sean Penn. I thought Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon were pretty good in their roles here, but Sean Penn stole the entire show. His performance was absolutely marvelous and he really drew you into him, which makes his role in the film all the more believable. It is not surprise that he won for Best Actor.

    In terms of complaints, I see a lot of user reviews calling this one boring and slow, ham-handed, pretentious, and predictable. The only one I can sort of agree with is predictable, though I did not figure it out until the people in the film did (well, part of it, I figured out one part of it early on, but I think we were supposed to). Plus, I do not have a problem with predictability. In addition, this one was anything but boring. It is slow, yes, but it was a perfect showcase of acting and script-driven film. The intensity and sadness of this one were also top-notch and really helped quell any boredom that may set in. As for it being ham-handed or pretentious, no. I honestly do not understand that criticism at all. At no point did I ever find it to be either of those things. It tries to tackle bigger purposes, yes, but that does not mean it is pretentious, especially when it covers it well.
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  4. Dec 23, 2013
    5
    Mystic river has plenty of good acting but nothing interesting to say. The movies pace is too slow and in the end I felt empty because the film itself is empty; it's devoid of ideas, meaning, and purpose.
  5. Dec 2, 2013
    9
    Absolutely massive movie.With the right collaboration.The movie makes another space in the mind to think about misunderstanding. Awesome directing by Clint Eastwood.
  6. 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,
    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.
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  7. Jul 26, 2013
    9
    It's funny, because a lot of times you'll hear people say "I didn't like that movie because I couldn't root for any of the characters." A lot of people feel that way about this film. All of the characters, in their own way, do bad things. Some are worse than others, yes, but there is no one who you want to "win," because this is a movie where no one wins. The ending is terribly sad, and you walk out of the movie so shocked and dismayed at what happened, because even if you don't root for anyone, you still care so deeply about the characters. You still want the best for them, even if you can't root for them, if you can't stand beside them and say "I stand for the same ideals that this person stand for." You want to know who killed Katie, and you don't want it to be Dave, but do you root for Dave to win? Do you root against whoever you think killed Katie? No. This is an incredibly difficult film to watch, and it will not make you smile. It will make your heart sink, and your eyes tear up. It is so very powerful, and delivers such a strong message, it remains impossible not to watch. The acting is phenomenal, and while both Penn and Robbins won Oscars, the show is stolen by Robbins, who turns in one of the best supporting performances I've ever seen (on par with something out of the Godfather). From the opening scene, with those 3 boys playing hockey in the street, until the closing credits, it is relentless. But it is phenomenal. Expand
  8. Jun 30, 2013
    7
    Mystic River is a very good film but is let down by a story-line that appears to be slightly all over the place and a couple of plot-holes (just my opinion). However, it is a solid, powerful movie and hats off to Clint Eastwood. The actors play their characters very well, especially Kevin Bacon, I really like his character. Definitely worthy of a Best Picture Nomination.
  9. Jan 1, 2013
    8
    Absolutely loved this movie. Well acted, Kept you interested from start to finish, and it was really good. I am suprised that users have rated it so low.
  10. Nov 13, 2012
    10
    One of the most powerful American films of the decade, Mystic River is hypnotic and unforgettable.
  11. Nov 13, 2012
    9
    Friggin' yes! A mid-tempo and ominous thrill ride, overcast from beginning to end by a shadow of dark things to come. Also, one of the best acting ensembles I've seen. Clint Eastwood is the man, and Mystic River is just another sparkling example.
  12. Oct 1, 2012
    10
    Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, great actors .
  13. Apr 5, 2012
    9
    Absolutely fantastic! I don't understand why people find it bad! I don't often trust the 'Oscar winner' type of movies, but this movie deserved the award! The actors were all formidable! you couldn't ask for a better cast, because this film has a deluxe- cast! I think some people are usually biased thinking that a big Hollywood movie, is either 'bad' or 'overrated' and, quite frankly, that type of attitude doesn't help a person to appreciate a movie for what it is. I am sorry but I disagree...Hollywood has good and bad movies, same happens in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and my dear Australia! so just because this is a USA blockbuster it doesn't mean is a bad movie...and I am not American, but YEAH, I firmly believe this is an excellent movie! Expand
  14. Apr 1, 2012
    10
    First off, this is a 9.5 out of 10. Acting is amazing. Mainly Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. Score is good. Story is great. Real thrilling story. I agree a lot with what spadenx, except the ending. It's all right but he kills an innocent man and they just like " oh well". That makes me aggravated. Still a great movie. Overall, this is a great thriller. It'll keep you on guessing. Highly recommended.
  15. 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.
  16. Nov 24, 2011
    10
    I have watched this film countless times and I still love it. It has a great story, great acting, and its just an overall great film that I love. This is a must see.
  17. Nov 15, 2011
    10
    A mesmerizing experience as MR keeps you glued to your seat with a stimulating adventure, ideal character development, and epic performances. MUST WATCH!
  18. Mar 4, 2011
    2
    It was on TV recently and talk about not able to hold my attention. I popped in now and then to see if I could stand it as there was nothing else on. Bad.
  19. Dec 30, 2010
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This film blew me away. At first, you feel for Jimmy, then you slowly grow to hate him. Terrible events always seem to bring these three friends together and I felt like I had been punched in the face when it had finished. Sean Penn brings this energy that feels like the most powerful energy a man can emit. Tim Robbins made me feel so bad for the character of Dave. He did a great job of portraying the mentally deteriorated rape victim. Dave was the character that made me feel so sad. He is like the ultimate hero and ultimate victim of this whole movie. Jimmy's daughter may have been the one that was killed, but Dave was raped as a child, kills a pedophile in the act of molestation, is blamed for the murder of the daughter and is then killed by one of his childhood friends in an act of vengeance. I don't care how big of a stupid loose cannon Jimmy is. I felt like the death of his daughter was almost an excuse to get back into his old ways. I wish that Jimmy could get what was coming to him. Losing a loved one is painful, but this character has no excuse for murder. His accusations were purely based on blinding vengeance. I'm sure that several fathers would kill their daughters murderer which makes me feel like my incredible dislike for Jimmy is a little harsh. Look at this ramble! Eastwood just made me feel for his characters and got me emotionally indulged in his film. Such an accomplishment of acting by every character involved in this movie. Acted to perfection, directed to perfection and written to perfection, Mystic River touches on several issues of lost childhoods, loss and our relationships with others. I can't even think of better things to say about this movie, it was so good. Absolutely incredible film. Expand
  20. Oct 29, 2010
    8
    Clint Eastwood promises a lot but does not deliver what he would have wanted to.Sean Penn & Tim Robbins steal the show by portraying their well written roles like only they can .Though the film does haunt you ,it leaves a lot of loose ends.That said, one cannot take any credit away from Eastwood who manages to deliver yet another rewarding experience though this is obviously not even anywhere near his best. 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.