Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 380 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 42
  2. Negative: 1 out of 42
  1. 100
    A major American motion picture, an overpowering piece of work that involves some of the most basic human emotions: love, hate, fear, revenge, despair. Directed by Clint Eastwood with absolute confidence and remarkable control.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Perhaps the greatest, most affecting articulation of the theme Eastwood has been exploring since 1990's "White Hunter Black Heart": how violence--real violence, not movie violence--perpetrated and experienced, can erode and/or obliterate the human soul.
  3. 100
    Clint Eastwood pours everything he knows about directing into Mystic River. His film sneaks up, messes with your head and then floors you. You can't shake it. It's that haunting, that hypnotic.
  4. 88
    Deals with themes Eastwood has often explored before, but never so delicately or with as much sad wisdom: The way in which our past haunts our present, the lasting repercussions of violence and the cruel inexorability of fate.
  5. 80
    Echoes Eastwood’s previous exploration of true-life violence, “Unforgiven,” by tracing how death and depravity stain one’s life for generations, leaving seeds to take root in each branch of a tainted family tree.
  6. The acting throughout is exceptional, rooted in observed realism, but suggestive of more mythical agents at work through the lives of human beings.
  7. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    The new bad movie from Clint Eastwood which takes Dennis Lehane's best-selling thriller and turns it into an inert mess that clocks in at 137 minutes but feels like 137 hours.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 98 out of 158
  2. Negative: 35 out of 158
  1. Dec 30, 2010
    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
  2. Jun 10, 2012
    Great movie . Expand
  3. Dec 15, 2011
    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. Expand
  4. Nov 13, 2012
    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. Expand
  5. Mar 19, 2014
    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.
  6. Dec 23, 2013
    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. Expand
  7. DaveW.
    Mar 21, 2005
    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. Expand

See all 158 User Reviews


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