Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. It is, all in all, a rambunctious and inspired ride in which the Coen brothers' voracious fascination with the arcana of American popular culture and their whiz-kid inventiveness reach new heights of whimsy.
  2. 64
    For all its originality, O Brother doesn't seem to have a point, or enough spark to distract us from the lack thereof.
  3. A wildly original movie with astonishingly varied moods and influences.
  4. The film is worth seeing for George Clooney's performance. More than ever he seems like a Clark Gable for our time.
  5. Joyously unhinged and outrageously inventive.
  6. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    75
    A clever and satisfyingly abundant entertainment.
  7. 63
    O Brother contains sequences that are wonderful in themselves--lovely short films--but the movie never really shapes itself into a whole.
  8. Not quite as funny as it wants to be. Mostly, it's just silly. But as always, the Coens are entertaining themselves first.and their quirky individuality has served them and their fans well so far.
  9. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    Of all unlikely possibilities, the team has finally made a movie that, for them, is on the tepid side.
  10. While it displays its share of quirky charm, off-kilter characters and outlandish situations, this is really the first film where you can feel the Coens straining to keep up with themselves.
  11. For all its ambitions, though, the Coens' odyssey is a scattershot affair with too many tricks and twists for its own good.
  12. 50
    Remains naggingly hollow, a cerebral exercise in whimsy that isn't nearly clever or funny enough to seem like more than grand self-indulgence.
  13. Whenever the music subsides and the characters speak the Coens' lines, the film turns back into mush.
  14. 60
    Often clever but fundamentally shallow, this shaggy-dog story is greatly enriched by its extraordinary bluegrass soundtrack, supervised by T Bone Burnett and performed by a phenomenal collection of artists.
  15. 78
    A remarkable film. From its performances on down to director of photography Roger Deakins' sun-baked, dirty-ochre cinematography, the film is all of a piece.
  16. Why would filmmakers with this much talent work this hard to thumb their noses at everything they put on screen?
  17. 100
    It's a wild, whacked-out wonder. Coenheads rejoice.
  18. 90
    From moment to moment, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a pleasure. But when the Coens are really cooking, when the acting and the conception and the music all come together, it's something more -- Dogpatch rapture.
  19. Clooney has become a movie star, and the Coens have given him his very own "It Happened One Night." The man, and the movie, are downright bona fide.
  20. It's a new new thing, classic myth from both literature and the movies, commingled, set to great folk music, and untrammeled by any sense of predictability, urgency, realism or believability but hypnotic, graceful and seductive.
  21. This time around, though, the Coens' usual arch deliberateness isn't quite as deliberate, and there's an appealing shagginess to some of the episodes and performances.... This is the Coen brothers' most emotionally felt movie, and that's not meant as faint praise.
  22. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    80
    All I can say is this particular excursion into screwball madness is often heavenly, and frankly leaves critical explication somewhat unnecessary. Go see it and laugh.
  23. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    80
    The risk pays off for Clooney and the Coens, as O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a nicely off-kilter exploration of American gumption.
  24. Enlivening things to an unprecedented extent, the songs turn O Brother into perhaps the warmest production in the Coens' repertoire.
  25. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    80
    Toss in enough gorgeous bluegrass music to make the movie's CD a must-have, and you have prime, picaresque entertainment.
  26. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    A charming, if lightweight, Coen brothers escapade flecked by plenty of visual and performance grace notes.
  27. As a Coen brothers fan I hate to say this, but the movie's a collection of great bits and pieces rather than a complete work.
  28. 60
    The art direction is impeccable, but this is a pop-up book that I was impatient to slam.
  29. After making their two best features to date, "Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski," the Coen brothers have surely come up with their worst.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 174 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 51
  2. Negative: 2 out of 51
  1. Apr 16, 2011
    10
    This may be the only movie that has ever left me seriously tempted to leave the cinema and immediately join the queue for the next show.This may be the only movie that has ever left me seriously tempted to leave the cinema and immediately join the queue for the next show. Structurally, it is a 'road movie', though it borrows the episodic encounters with larger-than-life characters from Homer's Odyssey (including sirens and a cyclops!). But the artful combination of its photography and music with delightful story and characters makes this one of most bewitching and beautiful road movies ever made.

    The critics seem to find it shallow, though I struggle to understand why. In addition to being genuinely funny and centred upon rich characters, the story includes a fair weight of political satire and a sprinkling of the Coens' strange metaphysical fascinations, with the Devil making his own cameo in the form of a lawman. If this is too shallow, I wonder what comedies the critics have been watching that are so deep?

    If people are confusing depth for emotionalism, perhaps they should stick to rewatching the English Patient.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 8, 2012
    10
    With the spirit of adventure these 3 prisoners made this movie one of the best comedies of all time. From collisons with police to bi-polarWith the spirit of adventure these 3 prisoners made this movie one of the best comedies of all time. From collisons with police to bi-polar robbers this one hassel of a story makes this an easy classic for all to enjoy Full Review »
  3. Jan 29, 2012
    6
    O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a beautifully filmed, hilarious, wild, amazingly original film featuring just fantastic performances from itsO Brother, Where Art Thou? is a beautifully filmed, hilarious, wild, amazingly original film featuring just fantastic performances from its three consistently funny leads. I give this film 61%. Full Review »