Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 49 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , , , ,
  • Summary: In 1988, Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, due to international pressure, is forced to call a referendum on his presidency. The country will vote YES or NO to Pinochet extending his rule for another eight years. Opposition leaders for the NO persuade a brash young advertising executive, Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal), to spearhead their campaign. With scant resources and under scrutiny by the despot's minions, Saavedra and his team devise an audacious plan to win the election and set Chile free. [Sony Pictures Classics] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Mar 14, 2013
    Take the backroom political machinations of "Lincoln," add in the showbiz sleight of hand of "Argo," and you’ll get something like No, a cunning and richly enjoyable combination of high-stakes drama and media satire.
  2. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Feb 12, 2013
    The essential thrust here is both knowing and undeniable: No is pitched at the pivot point when the image makers were brazen enough to push ideology to the side. Considering how high the stakes were, it’s amazing they almost didn’t get the gig.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Feb 16, 2013
    A troubling, exhilarating and ingeniously realized film that’s part stirring political drama and part devilish media satire.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike D Angelo
    Feb 13, 2013
    The result is the most unexpectedly riotous comedy in years — one with more bite than usual.
  5. Reviewed by: Philip Wilding
    Feb 6, 2013
    Initially jarring, the video aesthetic blends beautifully with period footage to give a smart depiction of a nation in transition. A well-deserved Oscar nominee.
  6. 75
    Here’s a fascinating piece of history that escaped much of the world’s notice, when it happened back in 1988.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Feb 13, 2013
    No, which has been nominated for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, is largely a gimmick picture: At all times, it looks like hastily assembled news footage shot on grainy videotape in 1988. That means light flaring up to spoil the image, bumpy camerawork, a nearly square picture and all-around grubbiness.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 2 out of 12
  1. Feb 27, 2013
    This movie blew me away! It's like the others in the trilogy in that it is straight facts and stories told from the people themselves. It shows how messed up the media is and how it warps peoples minds. A pretty great film overall. Expand
  2. Mar 10, 2013
    This film held my interest throughout the viewing. It was striking in its display of the cruelty the common people suffered under Pinochet and the power of the media to turn out the vote of the people who were thought to be complacent and unwilling to even vote due to their apathy and depression. I found it inspiring. Expand
  3. cbf
    Feb 20, 2013
    Interesting movie, about an important event in the history of democracy, it shows the heroes beside the tv, politicians, etc, with this movie we can learn the power of communication of the journalism, deserve an Oscar you must see Expand
  4. Mar 20, 2013
    This is a good film about a people who are given a sliver of an opportunity to attempt a task with impossible odds (overthrowing a dictator via an election) with impossible goals (getting every political party to agree on a tactic of fun advertising counter to the instinct of exposing the horrible crimes of a dictator). Shot on video tape seen in the 80s, it feels more like a documentary from the time than a film of reflection. Political junkies and historians will like this movie as well as those who enjoy "David vs Goliath" films. Expand
  5. Jun 30, 2013
    It's slow, it's dry, it's deliberately ugly, and you know how the story will end. If you grab some popcorn and expect to be entertained, No will bore you to death, but if you have any interest in the mechanisms of democracy, marketing, and the ways they intersect, the film won't disappoint you. Just treat it as a quasi-documentary meant to educate, to portray the events Wikipedia-style and nothing more. Expand
  6. Mar 31, 2013
    For a historical drama about a brutal dictator, this film sure lacked suspense or a sense of the terror that Pinochet was. Maybe that was the essence of the "NO" campaign but it surely was not was the dictatorship represented. If you knew nothing about Chile under Pinochet, this film did little to educate you. I was also disappointed in the low key, nonchalant approach Garcia to his character,. Maybe that was accurate but he was so passive as to be unbelievable to me. I did learn something but I felt like I got only the tip of the iceberg. Collapse
  7. Mar 27, 2013
    After 15 years of a dictatorship Chilean Augusto Pinochet, due to international pressure, was allowing the people to vote in an upcoming plebiscite, an expression of the people’s will, as to whether they favored, voting ‘yes’ or not, voting ‘no’ as to if Pinchot should remain in office. There was no doubt, legally or not, that the majority of people would vote ‘yes’.

    Director Pablo Larrain has made this docudrama regarding the election with a screenplay by Pedro Peirano based on a play by Antonio Skarmeta called “The Referendum” and retitled it “No”. Each side of the question had 15 minutes a day to run an ad on television for 27 straight days with most of the ‘no’ ads regulated to the late hours. Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal) is a hot shot ad executive who is put in charge of the No vote and tackles it like he was selling a previous product he handled which was a soda called Free. He uses marketing for politics as most ad agencies use it to sell cars, vacation spots or anything that uses balloons, rainbows, kids, blue skies and, in this case a mime that is a running joke throughout the movie.

    Rene is prime custodian of his son Simon (Pascal Montero) while his estranged, activist wife Veronica (Antonia Zegers) accuses him of working for the Pinochet regime. He is the son of an exiled Chilean dissident and Rene dresses in jeans to work and skate boards all over town. He also doesn’t hesitate to send his kid to bed so that he could play with Simon’s train set. It is an old friend of his father’s, socialist politician Urrutia (Luis Gnecco) who talks Rene into taking the ad campaign while Rene’s boss Lucho Guzman (Alfredo Castro) takes the opposing campaign.

    While it may have been in keeping with the time I found the direction, camerawork and editing to be very distracting, in some spots amateurish, and didn’t really add anything to the film.

    Gael Garcia Bernal has a very interesting face, penetrating eyes and, if you have seen him in any other film, you know he is a fine actor who needs that breakout role but this isn’t it.

    After watching “No” for an hour and fifty-eight minutes I have to get corny and end with say no to “No”.

See all 12 User Reviews