User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 412 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 93 out of 412
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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
  31. DaveW.
    Mar 21, 2005
    0
    How can you make a movie like this and sleep at night. Clint Eastwood should be ashamed. Making a movie like this should bring him down. Clint Eastwood knows better then to show a movie that crap. I give this movie a 0.
  32. Chucho
    Mar 23, 2005
    5
    Eh. Expecting something more interesting. Tried to make twists at the end, but just came out looking lame. What were all the raves about. I think critics just trying to get Eastwood to give them an interview or something. Almost seemed like they wanted to go in the direction of that movie whose name I can't remember right now. Deniro is a Priest. That British chic is in it. Sleepers Eh. Expecting something more interesting. Tried to make twists at the end, but just came out looking lame. What were all the raves about. I think critics just trying to get Eastwood to give them an interview or something. Almost seemed like they wanted to go in the direction of that movie whose name I can't remember right now. Deniro is a Priest. That British chic is in it. Sleepers or something. Anyways...that movie was great...this not. Expand
  33. SteveM.
    Nov 11, 2003
    1
    I give it a 1 because one of the aerial shots of Boston was well-done. That, of course, left me with another 136 minutes to calculate the average number of white dots on an Ice Cap (28). Sadly, this intensive labor proved more profound than the movie. One wonders what is going on with our society that so many people would slobber over this film. It may be time to move to Canada.
  34. SteveM.
    Nov 11, 2003
    1
    I give it a 1 because one of the aerial shots of Boston was well-done. That, of course, left me with another 136 minutes to calculate the average number of white dots on an Ice Cap (28). Sadly, this intensive labor proved more profound than the movie. One wonders what is going on with our society that so many people would slobber over this film. It may be time to move to Canada.
  35. Elliott
    Oct 12, 2003
    3
    Saw it in NY the other day and I can't explain in words the anger that rushed through me as the film progressed. When the inexplicable and random ending destroys any credibility the story had prior to, Eastwood continues to progress in the wrong direction. The denouement succeeds only in fortifying the lack of faith Eastwood has in mankind; the image of the supportive community is Saw it in NY the other day and I can't explain in words the anger that rushed through me as the film progressed. When the inexplicable and random ending destroys any credibility the story had prior to, Eastwood continues to progress in the wrong direction. The denouement succeeds only in fortifying the lack of faith Eastwood has in mankind; the image of the supportive community is erased, the characters almost "give up" although innocent people have been killed. The conclusion made me sick unlike any film ever had before. Truly, deeply sick. But for unplanned reasons I think. Aside from some of the brilliant acting, especially from Marcia Gay Harden as the ONLY human character in the film, Mystic River is an unmitigated failure. The score is pedantic and dull, the dialogue is laughably bad, and Laurence Fishburne's character as the comic relief (his name is "Whitey" !?!) - only aid in allowing this film to crash and burn. Expand
  36. M.Donnas
    Nov 2, 2003
    0
    About 20 minutes into this movie I felt a feeling in my gut that this movie was going to suck. After waiting for two more hours I told my self to trust those feelings from now on. There is simply nothing good about this movie. Not even the super cast could over come Eastwood's over dramatic, over cut, and obsolete style of direction. Very disappointing.
  37. StevenZ.
    Sep 25, 2007
    0
    The most overrated movie of all time. Hideous, offensive, and soul-destroying. The kind of movie that tells you life sucks and everything's awful, and then fakes the evidence. Every plot twist is rigged and unbelievable, every line is ponderous and humorless, and the experience leaves you thinking there's nothing that can be accomplished in life. And don't blather to me The most overrated movie of all time. Hideous, offensive, and soul-destroying. The kind of movie that tells you life sucks and everything's awful, and then fakes the evidence. Every plot twist is rigged and unbelievable, every line is ponderous and humorless, and the experience leaves you thinking there's nothing that can be accomplished in life. And don't blather to me about the "powerful acting." The best performances in this movie--the fine, quiet work done by Kevin Bacon, Laura Linney, and Laurence Fishburne--were, of course, the least acclaimed. All the praise and Oscars went to the overdone hamming of Penn, Robbins, and Marcia Gay Harden (who, to be fair, was given nothing to play but scaredy-cat.) It was embarrassing seeing the great Ms. Linney trying to make that bogus Lady Macbeth scene at the end believable. One of those movies that's trying to impress you rather than tell a story, which you're supposed to learn a lesson from. "Life sucks" is not an original message, nor one that will come as a great surprise to many people, but overpraised hack directors always seem to think they're doing something daring by trotting it out. Expand
  38. 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
  39. 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.
  40. BarryR.
    Oct 18, 2003
    8
    "Mystic River" is a movie I went to see expecting truly great acting, directing and writing since the professional reviewing groups raved about the directing of Clint Eastwood and the picture generally. This is without reservation an interesting and good movie to see. Is it great or the best work Mr. Eastwood has produced....I doubt it. The movie is simple and, unfortunately, in many "Mystic River" is a movie I went to see expecting truly great acting, directing and writing since the professional reviewing groups raved about the directing of Clint Eastwood and the picture generally. This is without reservation an interesting and good movie to see. Is it great or the best work Mr. Eastwood has produced....I doubt it. The movie is simple and, unfortunately, in many parts, contrived. Sean Penn plays a role that perhaps chronologically fits his real life age but on screen, he just appears too young for the family head he portrays. Laura Linney does a good job but you get the feeling she is in the wrong movie. In keeping with our tradition of not discussing or revealing the plot of films reviewed, suffice it to say that this is a good effort gone somewhat astray by the extended length of certain scenes which could have done much better on the cutting room floor. Also, the acting at times, although of a high calibre, appears forced. Tim Robbins deserves special praise for playing a most difficult role and well and Kevin Bacon, in an understated manner, adds to the positive aspects of the film. This work gets an 8. Better editing and smoother segways could have caused it to reach a higher number. Enjoy the film and the interesting Bostonian accents everyone tries to adopt...which you are very conscious of throughout your time in the theater. Expand
  41. GaborA.
    Dec 1, 2003
    7
    Each character's issues start from different points but head in the same direction. The optimal outcome is that they all collide in the middle creating a breath taking climax. Instead they divert at the last second all exploding on their own. The force of these explosiosins is more than enough to entertain and emmit emotion, but not sufficient to captivate the imagination and mesmerize.
  42. ChadS.
    Oct 22, 2003
    10
    Celeste must be a Tammy Wynette fan. Apparently, Annabeth is not. The back-end of "Mystic River" inspired murmurs in the crowd, and it rubbed me the wrong way, too initially, but every person will emerge from the theater with the need for dialogue. Eastwood does something amazing here, albeit mysoginisitc. Our anger trickles down because Celeste's words acts as an elixir. Sean Penn, Celeste must be a Tammy Wynette fan. Apparently, Annabeth is not. The back-end of "Mystic River" inspired murmurs in the crowd, and it rubbed me the wrong way, too initially, but every person will emerge from the theater with the need for dialogue. Eastwood does something amazing here, albeit mysoginisitc. Our anger trickles down because Celeste's words acts as an elixir. Sean Penn, in one year, goes from "I Am Sam" to "I Am Good(Again)". The whole cast must've been on a mission to Make Clint Smile, because everybody is on their game. See it twice. It's a different movie the second time around. Expand
  43. CharlesD.
    Oct 27, 2003
    10
    Perfect.
  44. C.Meyer
    Jan 30, 2004
    8
    I just don't get the negative reviews from people who saw this movie. YES, it's a slow paced movie that focuses on ACTING ability and subtlety, rather than a WHAM BAM approach to storytelling. I can't see though why so many moviegoers were dissapointed! If you don't throw them eye candy (ie..visual effects), the left side of their brains shut down and they lose the I just don't get the negative reviews from people who saw this movie. YES, it's a slow paced movie that focuses on ACTING ability and subtlety, rather than a WHAM BAM approach to storytelling. I can't see though why so many moviegoers were dissapointed! If you don't throw them eye candy (ie..visual effects), the left side of their brains shut down and they lose the ability to see TRUE art and creativity in filmmaking! But hey ... how about some big budget, high action, dull dialogue films!! Say ... any of the Star Wars movies ... how about a TRULY boring film ... Tomb Raider 1 ... or 2!!! But, if you want to see a good movie that showcases some great talent, see Mystic River. A job well done. Expand
  45. BiggieS.
    Feb 16, 2004
    10
    This was a damned good movie. And so was ROTK. So WOULD ALL THE RINGS-HEADS RESPECTFULLY STOP VOTING ZERO FOR EVERY OTHER NOMINATED FILM!! Appreciate your own movie, support it, but don't destroy everyone else's film. Trust me, I seriously don't think that Metacritic gets a vote at the oscars. Stop manipulating the user votes! Now back to Mystic River. I'd have to say This was a damned good movie. And so was ROTK. So WOULD ALL THE RINGS-HEADS RESPECTFULLY STOP VOTING ZERO FOR EVERY OTHER NOMINATED FILM!! Appreciate your own movie, support it, but don't destroy everyone else's film. Trust me, I seriously don't think that Metacritic gets a vote at the oscars. Stop manipulating the user votes! Now back to Mystic River. I'd have to say the the mood of the film is excellent, but this is a DOWN year for best picture. Probably the worst year in the last 20. Within this context, MR is certainly one of the top 5 or 10. Expand
  46. LucyS.
    Feb 3, 2004
    5
    There are some good performances and some that seemed to be entries in the "bitter beer face" overacting competition. While the book is great, the adaptation is rather unimaginative: I agree with the post below that it's no more than a cut-and-paste script. On the whole, it's ok, but very overrated.
  47. FrancineG.
    Mar 27, 2004
    4
    The film was badly disjointed and the acting chews more scenery than anything else I have seen in a few years. Given its pedigree in the directing, writing, and acting departments, it was bound to garner some critical attention, pretty much all of it undeserved. It pretends to be some kind of profound examination of the human condition. It's actually a depressing melodrama and The film was badly disjointed and the acting chews more scenery than anything else I have seen in a few years. Given its pedigree in the directing, writing, and acting departments, it was bound to garner some critical attention, pretty much all of it undeserved. It pretends to be some kind of profound examination of the human condition. It's actually a depressing melodrama and unsuspenseful suspense flick. Expand
  48. SeanM.
    Apr 9, 2004
    10
    Hey this movie was amazing and Tim Robbins blew down the house with his amazing performance which ups that of even Penn. Penn not so deserving of the best acting oscar due to Bill Murray's loss is still very good, but Robbins is absolutely incredible. The story is very compelling and powerful, at the end you actually feel something for the characters. I almost left out Kevin Bacon, Hey this movie was amazing and Tim Robbins blew down the house with his amazing performance which ups that of even Penn. Penn not so deserving of the best acting oscar due to Bill Murray's loss is still very good, but Robbins is absolutely incredible. The story is very compelling and powerful, at the end you actually feel something for the characters. I almost left out Kevin Bacon, just good acting all around surrounded by an incredible story with some good directing from Eastwood. I guess I should probably check out some more of his films if this is the level of quality on which he rests. Expand
  49. BrockR.
    May 21, 2004
    5
    Not all its cracked up to be.
  50. 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
  51. BenZ.
    Jun 12, 2004
    8
    Well... i do have to agree that this movie isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Nonetheless, it is still a very good film. Unlike what i was expecting, this movie is really a murder mystery disguised under an excellent cast, some way above-average acting, and nice character development. Although Sean Penn was great in this movie i don't necessarily think he deserved an Well... i do have to agree that this movie isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Nonetheless, it is still a very good film. Unlike what i was expecting, this movie is really a murder mystery disguised under an excellent cast, some way above-average acting, and nice character development. Although Sean Penn was great in this movie i don't necessarily think he deserved an oscar for it. Tim Robbins, on the other hand, was fully deserving of his. There are some very powerful scenes in this movie. I especially liked the way Kevin Bacon's relationship with his wife is resolved at the end of the film. One other note, there is a pretty cool twist at the end of this movie that i wasn't expecting. Expand
  52. Baconboy
    Jun 14, 2004
    9
    The comment I wanted to make was to address this so-called "trying too hard" acting. Understanding Tim Robbins, I know he pulls off difficult roles easily, and so it was my thought this was another emotionally charged role that he can pull off with ease. My only disappointment was the ending plotline. It was weak, but the movie held everything I needed in a movie. If you want something The comment I wanted to make was to address this so-called "trying too hard" acting. Understanding Tim Robbins, I know he pulls off difficult roles easily, and so it was my thought this was another emotionally charged role that he can pull off with ease. My only disappointment was the ending plotline. It was weak, but the movie held everything I needed in a movie. If you want something that doesn't try too hard, go see crap like Triple X or Chronicles of Riddick, I guarantee there's no attempt to act in those. Expand
  53. MysticMurtha
    Jun 17, 2004
    7
    [***PLOT REVELATIONS***] Great movie up until the end. Yes, Linney's speech was very poorly scripted/motivated. Someone please explain the ending to me. What was Bacon doing with that little gun move, and what was Sean Penn's reaction supposed to signify? And what was the motivation for Bacon to let things go?
  54. PatC.
    Jul 26, 2004
    7
    Pulls the viewer in many directions, all of them valid and touching on many levels, but then lets go, leaving one uncertain of where to drift. Seems logical as Irish angst where redemption is a mere distraction, but the concluding parade and explanatory dialogue doesn't quite wrap up the thorough exposition of the plot development. Overall though, realistic and thought-provoking. The Pulls the viewer in many directions, all of them valid and touching on many levels, but then lets go, leaving one uncertain of where to drift. Seems logical as Irish angst where redemption is a mere distraction, but the concluding parade and explanatory dialogue doesn't quite wrap up the thorough exposition of the plot development. Overall though, realistic and thought-provoking. The premise that life has an unalterable dark side is valid but not particularly enlightening. The actors were obviously forced to play their characters rather than themselves, which they did very well. Penn's oscar-winning performance is slightly over the top, but is certainly unique and intense. Mystic Murtha (see below) sums up the ending well. It all struck me as ironic, considering how Massachusetts courts in particular are hostile towards fatherhood. People all over wrestle with the demons of child abuse and look for answers to overcome them. This film presents the dilemma well but does not provide any useful answers. Expand
  55. BethM.
    Jan 27, 2005
    3
    Couldn't stand the acting by Sean Penn or Laura Linney in this movie.
  56. Sweden
    Feb 27, 2005
    2
    Movie just made me mad. And it insisted on driving itself into the ground for about 10 minutes after the movie had actually ended. Compeletly unsatisfying. Tim Robbins was just a goof. Some roles are made for unknown actors and this was one of them. The fact that I could see through his bad Boston accent just made me hate him personally. There was so much idiocy in this film it made me Movie just made me mad. And it insisted on driving itself into the ground for about 10 minutes after the movie had actually ended. Compeletly unsatisfying. Tim Robbins was just a goof. Some roles are made for unknown actors and this was one of them. The fact that I could see through his bad Boston accent just made me hate him personally. There was so much idiocy in this film it made me laugh. What's the point of the mute kid? What's the point of Bacon's mute phone-stalker wife? Frankly, what's the point of the whole childhood abduction flashback? I get the feeling that Eastwood is trying hard to convince me of some "truth" about the haunting repercussions of lost innocence, but all I see is ham-fisted, cliched, wankery. Just sucked. Expand
  57. AricM.
    May 13, 2005
    10
    Eastwood directs this film with the skill of a master and in the hands of this more than able cast the film soars to the heights of one of the best pictures of the new century.
  58. BenS.
    Jul 31, 2005
    10
    If there's one thing that shakes my shackles, it is when people psychoanalyze and dissect a film to death. "Mystic River" was great filmmaking, and if Village Voice, of all publications, gives this one a "70", then it's got to be good. I loved it, and that's all that matters. So there.
  59. FrankO.
    Feb 9, 2006
    10
    One of Clint Eastwood's best movies, if not the best. Outstanding cast and direction. Eastwood did a great job with a dark story created by Dennis Lehane. Eastwood stayed true to the storyline.
  60. DaveZ
    Jul 20, 2007
    9
    I should give this a 10, but there are two areas of a film that are most important... the beginning and the end. Great movie overall except the artist didn't know when to put down the brush. Sorry Clint, you should have cut out the last scene, we already got the feeling you wanted us to have and the feeling (of disgust) was wonderful. You pushed it farther than it had to go.
  61. Steven
    Jul 7, 2008
    10
    Anyone who gave this movie less than a 6 needs to have their head scanned. This movie is truly epic, from the cast to the story. You will NEVER see a darker, or deeper story on film. This truly is Clint's masterpiece. I guess it doesn't have enough over-the-top gore or CGI to get a high score from the viewers here...... Pretty damn sad that Mystic River and There Will Be Blood Anyone who gave this movie less than a 6 needs to have their head scanned. This movie is truly epic, from the cast to the story. You will NEVER see a darker, or deeper story on film. This truly is Clint's masterpiece. I guess it doesn't have enough over-the-top gore or CGI to get a high score from the viewers here...... Pretty damn sad that Mystic River and There Will Be Blood don't get the credit they deserve from you unknowledgable hacks. Expand
  62. Orin
    Apr 26, 2010
    10
    This is one of the best movies I've seen in the last ten years. Sean Penn's performance is completely masterful, you feel his raw energy whenever it's called for.
  63. DavidW.
    Nov 13, 2003
    8
    Fine, troubling, complex movie that continues to work long after one has left the theater. Subtle and intelligent, the fine performaces, deliberate pace, coherant and telling cinematography, restrained script and clear direction make this an unusual and wonderful film. Not a single scene in the movie exists as external landscape--the worlds on display are ancient, inner, and the real Fine, troubling, complex movie that continues to work long after one has left the theater. Subtle and intelligent, the fine performaces, deliberate pace, coherant and telling cinematography, restrained script and clear direction make this an unusual and wonderful film. Not a single scene in the movie exists as external landscape--the worlds on display are ancient, inner, and the real stuff of life... Expand
  64. JohnC.
    Nov 15, 2003
    0
    Borrrring There is just nothing there. It was like wearing shoes that weighed 20 pounds apeice and trying to walk through mud. The movie just plods and plods and ...
  65. GeoffreyH.
    Oct 13, 2003
    5
    Any mystery/thriller fan will know 'who-dun-it' about halfway through. It has the predictable twist, and realies on too many coincidences. It isn't great like Spanish Prisoner, but it is better than many mystery thrillers.
  66. Jack
    Oct 13, 2003
    4
    Like Elliott below, I too was very disappointed with the movie. It was calculated and the actors seemed as though they were trying to outdo each other. It was highly disturbing and consistently gloomy - I can handle distubing fare, but Mystic River is just flat-out unpleasant. I wanted it to end long before it did.
  67. Jack
    Oct 13, 2003
    4
    Like Elliott below, I too was very disappointed with the movie. It was calculated and the actors seemed as though they were trying to outdo each other. It was highly disturbing and consistently gloomy - I can handle distubing fare, but Mystic River is just flat-out unpleasant. I wanted it to end long before it did.
  68. Triniman
    Oct 16, 2003
    8
    This is not a crowd-pleasing, happy film, but it is a very fine drama and is rightly winning many accolades for the cast and Clint Eastwood's directing. Kevin Bacon, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Marcia *** Harden are very convicing and give among the best dramatical performances that we have seen this year and of their own careers. Laurence Fishburne is his usual cool and intelligent This is not a crowd-pleasing, happy film, but it is a very fine drama and is rightly winning many accolades for the cast and Clint Eastwood's directing. Kevin Bacon, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Marcia *** Harden are very convicing and give among the best dramatical performances that we have seen this year and of their own careers. Laurence Fishburne is his usual cool and intelligent self. What little violence there is in the film is never gratuitous. The film is more focused on the consequences of weakness and the vulnerability of human nature when facing injustice and devastation. Eastwood's direction combined with the screen play, which was based on Denis Lehane's novel, results in genuine tension, atmosphere, and subltety, expertly weaved and balanced together. These are all hallmarks of fine film making that we don't often see today in a single film. I'm not sure if the performances are truly Oscar worthy, when I think of last year's nominees and winners like Adrien Brody and Daniel Day-Lewis. The story doesn't seem ingeniously original but is rather familiar. One critic has compared it to a Greek tradgedy. While this isn't a brilliant film, it's a very good one. Expand
  69. ChrisP.
    Oct 16, 2003
    6
    Maybe I don't "get it", but Mystic River seemed like it could just as easily have been a made-for-TV movie. Good performances but the plot has so many "why the hell would you DO that" moments that the whole thing was pretty unsatisfying.
  70. StaceyG.
    Oct 18, 2003
    9
    In Mystic River Clint Eastwood takes us deep into the heart of man, here we see darkness and pain. One child tragedy can change three lives. When those lives are brought together love is thrown into the mix. At first glance Kevin Bacon seemed very uh, blah. As the movie went on it revealed that his character is supposed to seem this way. Bacon was very good and even better in the last In Mystic River Clint Eastwood takes us deep into the heart of man, here we see darkness and pain. One child tragedy can change three lives. When those lives are brought together love is thrown into the mix. At first glance Kevin Bacon seemed very uh, blah. As the movie went on it revealed that his character is supposed to seem this way. Bacon was very good and even better in the last thirty Minutes. Robbins was bloody awesome and he as well shined even more in the last 30. I see a best supporting acter nomination for Robbins. now, Sean Penn is PERFECT. he does everything right, in the sad scenes he is brilliant and in the evil ones... he is brilliant. Well, he was brilliant the whole movie. the acting and directing keep you in this movie, it is slow but its almost like reading a book. I could have heard a pin drop in the theatre, really. In the end you will leave the theatre depressed, but behind the darkness you may just be happy becuase Mystic River so amazingly crafted. Expand
  71. MarkB.
    Oct 21, 2003
    8
    Pretty true to the mythic working-class Boston zietgiest and very true to the book. All three lead actors offer solid performances conveying greater than normal emotional depth. The movie gets caught up on the same thing the book does - trying to explore the complex and profound reactions to tragedy while at the same time trying to keep the contemporary detective mystery going.
  72. KenG.
    Dec 1, 2003
    10
    Eastwood's slow, deliberate pacing works to his (and the audience's) advantage in this gripping, sad, character-driven story of friends, revenge, morality and a horrific childhood event that haunts everything and everyone.
  73. UnbearableLightness
    Dec 16, 2003
    6
    I have very mixed emotions about this film. Robbins was great, Penn was amazing. The plot was interesting. Unfortunately I found the ending to be absurd and the "twist" predictable. I was also very confused by the sub-plot of Bacon and his wife. Completely pointless.
  74. MarcK.
    Oct 23, 2003
    7
    Definitely worth seeing, but does not deserve the critical slobbering delivered by Ebert, Denby, etc. Loved the whole Bostonian setting. Thought that Penn and Marcia Gay Harden had the best performances, but also thought Bacon did a good job. Completely unimpressed with Robbins, and not because of his off-screen politics.
  75. StephenS.
    Dec 4, 2003
    7
    I think we should keep this one in perspective. Especially when compared with Arnie, Clint is a hero, anyone can see that, but ?Mystic River? is a fine police procedural, not Sophocles. ?Unforgiven? will remain as Eastwood's masterpiece. Penn (Jimmy), Bacon (Sean) and Robbins (Dave) are great as the adults who?ve never got over the boyhood rape of one of their number. Boston is I think we should keep this one in perspective. Especially when compared with Arnie, Clint is a hero, anyone can see that, but ?Mystic River? is a fine police procedural, not Sophocles. ?Unforgiven? will remain as Eastwood's masterpiece. Penn (Jimmy), Bacon (Sean) and Robbins (Dave) are great as the adults who?ve never got over the boyhood rape of one of their number. Boston is great, and Eastwood?s direction is more supple and imaginative than most directors half his age. When the murder of Jimmy?s daughter reactivates all the childhood demons, he delivers a nuanced and compellingly original version of parental grief. It?s hard to dislike Sean as the detective, or Dave as the weirdo suspected of the murder. I suppose what holds this film back from true greatness are its sheer length, which probably results from script misjudgment, adapting a few too many side-stories from the novel. Sean?s phone conversations with his estranged wife, coy as a novelistic device, are quite distracting in the movie. Expand
  76. BitBurn
    Oct 30, 2003
    9
    A very good movie indeed! Tim Robbins was unrecognizable! I never saw him in such a dramatic role. Just awesome!! And the rest of the plot; Bacon, Penn and Fishburne were all great! The movie is intense, raw and suffocating at times... Go try it!
  77. JusticeT.
    Oct 8, 2003
    7
    While I give this film a "7", I am still wondering if this should not be rated lower. Everything on the surface is great. But then you start thinking about it and you are left to wonder if this weren't some of our best offering some of their worst. Except for Sean Penn, the actor, and Clint Eastwood, the musician. Their contributions are what maintain my rating. Having not read the While I give this film a "7", I am still wondering if this should not be rated lower. Everything on the surface is great. But then you start thinking about it and you are left to wonder if this weren't some of our best offering some of their worst. Except for Sean Penn, the actor, and Clint Eastwood, the musician. Their contributions are what maintain my rating. Having not read the book, after viewing this film I am left with too many questions. Interestingly, I kept thinking about Eastwood's "The Unforgiven". The darkness, the truth present in that film is here. But the almost accepted dysfunction of every family in today's society hurts the story. This story is nothing new. And yet, I was there watching every frame wondering what would come next. Waiting for the next chord of the score or for Penn's presence. Like "The Film Threat" review, I feel I have been taken. Much like Dave was when he was younger. Maybe that was the point? Expand
  78. JesselA.
    Jan 31, 2004
    5
    Certainly not the best film out there and vastly overrated critically, this is the kid of films newspaper and magazine reviewers love to salivate over as it shows what's wrong with the justic system by (sadly) portraying the cops as "Angela Lansbury" wannabees. Great script and excellent direction doesn't dismiss the "color by numbers" feel that permeates that awkwardly paced Certainly not the best film out there and vastly overrated critically, this is the kid of films newspaper and magazine reviewers love to salivate over as it shows what's wrong with the justic system by (sadly) portraying the cops as "Angela Lansbury" wannabees. Great script and excellent direction doesn't dismiss the "color by numbers" feel that permeates that awkwardly paced non-thriller. Expand
  79. Tina
    Jan 31, 2004
    10
    C.Meyer, with the Oscar nominations announced, Mystic River just became possibly the favorite film to beat ROTK for Best Picture. You know where the negative reviews are coming from. ROTK's obsessive and rabid fans. They'll go to ANY lengths, trust me. Whilst I didn't like this movie, it deserves higher than a 6.4 average, and so I'm giving it 10.
  80. JordanT.
    Jan 4, 2004
    1
    And I'm being nice with my rating. I was extremely upset by the time it ended. Not only is some of the acting bad, especially Sean Penn's over-acting, but the story is full of flaws and boring. I kept looking at my watch for this torture to end.
  81. TooGoodToBeTrue
    Jan 8, 2004
    0
    A MUST SEE!!! For all insomniacs.
  82. GregK.
    Feb 16, 2004
    5
    I don't see any zero votes below me, so would all the paranoid people please get your eyes checked? I do see people voting 10 for this movie even though they didn't think it was all that great out of spite for another film. That said, I thought this was movie was overhyped and seriously overrated. The acting is alright, with a few exceptions. The telling of the story lacks any I don't see any zero votes below me, so would all the paranoid people please get your eyes checked? I do see people voting 10 for this movie even though they didn't think it was all that great out of spite for another film. That said, I thought this was movie was overhyped and seriously overrated. The acting is alright, with a few exceptions. The telling of the story lacks any brilliance. It puffs itself on Social Issues but fails to deliver anything noteworthy. Not a complete disaster, but there are plenty better. Expand
  83. CriticsHaveGoneMad
    Feb 4, 2004
    3
    I have never been so disappointed in critics in my entire life. I saw this movie 2 weeks after it came out because of all the wonderful reviews it received. I was suckered! No point, predictable plot, and for me, obvious killer. Lady MacBeth scene that everyone has been gushing about came out of no where and didn't fit. Felt ridiculous. Didn't care about the characters because I have never been so disappointed in critics in my entire life. I saw this movie 2 weeks after it came out because of all the wonderful reviews it received. I was suckered! No point, predictable plot, and for me, obvious killer. Lady MacBeth scene that everyone has been gushing about came out of no where and didn't fit. Felt ridiculous. Didn't care about the characters because they didn't care about each other. Yes, Sean Penn did some very impressive acting, but the movie was horrible. Expand
  84. GregA.
    Mar 15, 2004
    8
    Mystic River left me unsettled but also thinking after the end. The acting was great and Robbins was outstanding as an abused man 25 years after the fact. The story behind Bacon and his wife, though initially obscure, was necessary to the plot. It was a fine movie and if you don't see it in the cinema it's definetly worth a look on DVD.
  85. TomK.
    Mar 3, 2004
    1
    Listen, I'm not a LOTR freak by any means. That being said, and looking at this movies on it's own merit, it had to be one of the slowest moving, wastes of time I've experienced as of late in the cinema. The plot was simple enough for a three year old to figure out. But even more sad than that was the fact that the characters, (yes, even the one played by the normally Listen, I'm not a LOTR freak by any means. That being said, and looking at this movies on it's own merit, it had to be one of the slowest moving, wastes of time I've experienced as of late in the cinema. The plot was simple enough for a three year old to figure out. But even more sad than that was the fact that the characters, (yes, even the one played by the normally outstanding Tim Robbins) were people I just didn't care about. Not one iota. Sitting through this movie was like watching paint dry. Watching paint dry is actually more enjoyable, since there usually is a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment accompanying it. Do yourself a favor, and avoid this 2 hour waste of your life. Expand
  86. ChanB.
    Mar 3, 2004
    10
    BEST MOVIE!!
  87. DavidH.
    Apr 30, 2004
    4
    I saw this movie before it received any recognition, so while I was expecting something interesting, I wasn't expecting it to win awards. However, even then, I was disappointed because the movie is so obvious in its attempt to create drama that all of the emotion is just sucked out of it. I think Clint Eastwood has done some interesting work in the past, but here he is trying to I saw this movie before it received any recognition, so while I was expecting something interesting, I wasn't expecting it to win awards. However, even then, I was disappointed because the movie is so obvious in its attempt to create drama that all of the emotion is just sucked out of it. I think Clint Eastwood has done some interesting work in the past, but here he is trying to hard. And, so are the actors. They want to be good so much that ... it just isn't. I'm perplexed by the critical acclaim, which shows the power of hollywood. Maybe if we're told enough that it's great, perhaps we will believe it too! Expand
  88. LilianT.
    Jun 25, 2004
    10
    I totally agree with Cameron S., the low average posted for this great drama is appalling. I only watched it recently on DVD, knew of all the critical aclaim and the Oscar nominations and wins, but not even my high expectations could prepare me for how much I liked the movie. Its not an easy film to watch, but is great human drama. Laura Linneys' speech at the end was marvelous, she I totally agree with Cameron S., the low average posted for this great drama is appalling. I only watched it recently on DVD, knew of all the critical aclaim and the Oscar nominations and wins, but not even my high expectations could prepare me for how much I liked the movie. Its not an easy film to watch, but is great human drama. Laura Linneys' speech at the end was marvelous, she at least deserved a nomination for it. For me this speech also explains how wives of gangsters, mafia bosses and such can not only agree with their husband's crimes, but also continue living with them. As human drama, this certainly is the best film in recent years. Expand
  89. DennisP.
    Jun 27, 2004
    9
    Intelligent adult movies are hard to come by these days. With "Mystic River", Clint Eastwood has made a great one. Great dialogue delivered by an extremely talented cast, keep me riveted to the screen for all 138 mins.
  90. Fassie
    Jul 15, 2004
    1
    Rotten acting, rotten storyline, rotten lighting....and rotten directing. Absolute waste of time. I saw the movie because it had good actors.....rotten decision on my part.
  91. T.M.
    Jan 31, 2005
    4
    One of the most overrated films of 2003 (along with "LOTR:ROTK" and "Lost in Translation"). A great cast is wasted on a bunch of thoroughly unlikable characters, and on a self-indulgent, ponderous, wretchedly overblown screenplay. I thought it would never end, and when it did, I was troubled by the ideas the ending promoted.
  92. J.RyanG.
    May 26, 2005
    6
    Clearly overrated, this film has a lot to sink your teeth into, but it fails to avoid the problems you run into when a bunch of big stars come together to make a great movie. I can imagine Penn, Robbins, and company doing a group reading of the script, each commenting on how monumental it will be, each nervously plotting how they'll make it a great movie. The thing is, the material Clearly overrated, this film has a lot to sink your teeth into, but it fails to avoid the problems you run into when a bunch of big stars come together to make a great movie. I can imagine Penn, Robbins, and company doing a group reading of the script, each commenting on how monumental it will be, each nervously plotting how they'll make it a great movie. The thing is, the material is compelling enough to just let the movie happen, and then surely it would be superb. Sean Penn especially tries too hard, so hard that I was sure he was pushing for the Oscar--and he's not supposed to be that kind of person. Marcia Gay Harden pushes too hard too. Tim Robbins pushes, as he always does, but I got a lot more out of his performance than anyone else's. Laura Linney may be the calmest party here, but she is underused. As usual, Kevin Bacon is the most undervalued asset. The flashback scenes are basically useless, using stock child actors who may have looked like their adult counterparts but did not share their essence. And finally, the film has too much of a good thing, too much of everything. Eastwood clearly was trying to make the great movie of his career, but instead, he made one that was only marginally better than "The Rookie." He'd have to wait a year before finally making that movie. Expand
  93. HollyB.
    Jun 19, 2005
    2
    This is one of the most overrated movies I've ever seen. Not only was the plot weak -- uninspired melodramatic story with underdeveloped characters -- and the directing AND acting, including Sean Penn, were extremely weak. I thought Tim Robbins was the only strong character. All in all, an awful movie. What is everyone thinking? I guess this is what appeals to the general public. Sad.
  94. TrevorB.
    Aug 12, 2005
    10
    Another Eastwood masterpiece. Ensemble acting doesn't come finer.
  95. BobA.
    Jan 15, 2006
    4
    A noble effort by Eastwood, but ultimately a movie that leaves the audience unsure if they should really care. The editing is disjointing, the solution to the murder mystery is unsatisfying, the twist is shallow and the acting is the equivalent of the lunatics taking over the asylum.
  96. ChristianD
    Jan 29, 2010
    9
    This is hands-down the most depressing movie I've ever seen. Ever. That being said, though, it was really good. It was incredibly well-acted, the plot was great (albeit depressing, of course) and Clint Eastwood, as usual, put his directing talents to work. Although it was still really fucking depressing. Now that I think about it, and without trying to spoil it, the kids in this This is hands-down the most depressing movie I've ever seen. Ever. That being said, though, it was really good. It was incredibly well-acted, the plot was great (albeit depressing, of course) and Clint Eastwood, as usual, put his directing talents to work. Although it was still really fucking depressing. Now that I think about it, and without trying to spoil it, the kids in this movie will turn out like the adults in this movie, plagued by tragedy. Still. Depressing. Collapse
  97. MikeD.
    Nov 1, 2003
    10
    One of the year's best. Fantastic cinematography, holds true to the novel. Superb acting, not an academy winning picture, but critic's winning picture.
  98. BillF.
    Nov 12, 2003
    10
    The acting is nothing but magnificent. To get so many actors to rise to such a high level is a tribute to the director. I was riveted for 137 minutes and my adrenal glands shrunk 50%.
  99. DavetheWave
    Nov 16, 2003
    9
    Perhaps there weren't enough kung fu scenes to please the naysayers, but this is great, intelligent filmmaking. I've never seen Penn or Robbins better. Ever. Marcia Gay Harden knocks it out of the park, too. Eastwood lets scenes unfold like he knows he's got a ringer. A great story with confident direction and powerful acting. That's why I go to the movies.
  100. RobH.
    Nov 26, 2003
    5
    Interesting premise - poor execution. Given it does have some nice cinematography and acting from the main characters, but numerous aspects of the plot seem either irrelevant or poorly executed. The ending is about as subtle as wacking you over the head with the screenplay. The only thing that isnt obvious is when the damn thing will end. So many scenes could have been cut and made the Interesting premise - poor execution. Given it does have some nice cinematography and acting from the main characters, but numerous aspects of the plot seem either irrelevant or poorly executed. The ending is about as subtle as wacking you over the head with the screenplay. The only thing that isnt obvious is when the damn thing will end. So many scenes could have been cut and made the thing shorter AND comprehensible. 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.