Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 26
  2. Negative: 3 out of 26
Watch On
  1. Sensitive and vivid response to the tangled issues of teen violence, race and self-esteem.
  2. 88
    Exceptionally intelligent and powerful contemporary adaptation.
  3. 88
    A sign of O's effectiveness is that it works regardless of whether you know Shakespeare's play.
  4. To an astonishing degree, O gets the tragic Shakespeare mood, that somber stentorian passion born of hidden slivers of ambition and betrayal.
  5. The filmmakers have a vision of the way Shakespeare can be made vibrant and vital to modern viewers, with or without the lofty original dialogue.
  6. O has one advantage over "Othello" -- since it's a new movie, not a classic, it has the power to surprise.
  7. This is a serious and well-acted drama, not a jokey ripoff, whose relevance (however distant) to Columbine is a plus.
  8. 75
    A good film for most of the way, and then a powerful film at the end, when, in the traditional Shakespearean manner, all of the plot threads come together, the victims are killed, the survivors mourn, and life goes on.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    Artful and emotionally compelling.
  10. Essential to the success it manages is Hartnett's low-key, charismatic performance -- cool, withholding, compelling. The triumph of his insinuating Hugo/Iago is how plausible he is, how he manages to convincingly inject poison in so many minds without seeming to be trying.
  11. 63
    What O lacks is a sense of spontaneity: Despite its contemporary dialogue and manner, the movie can't overcome a nagging aura of artifice.
  12. Stripped of its poetry, some of the devices of the tragedy of the Moor come off here as woefully contrived.
  13. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    63
    The film collapses under the weight of the effort to shoehorn Shakespeare's story into a context that ultimately doesn't accommodate it.
  14. 60
    Too much of a locker-room melodrama to make for great tragedy.
  15. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    60
    Every character fated to die in Othello meets his or her maker by the time the curtain falls on Blake's adaptation, which means the manicured campus of Palmetto Grove is left littered with slain coeds.
  16. 50
    Everything has been modernized except for the characters, and that's this movie's tragic flaw.
  17. A fairly ordinary drama about young love, basketball, petty jealousy and high school politics. The movie also has one of the goofiest, over-the-top finales in recent memory.
  18. The film generally looks like a TV special, with low production values and lots of closeups.
  19. 50
    This turgid melodrama fast-breaks away from the heart of its own subject.
  20. 40
    Had Nelson and Kaaya been less concerned with following Othello to the letter and rather had pursued this love affair into uncharted cinematic waters, O might have been more than an unresolved mixture of gimmickry and good intentions.
  21. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    40
    The actors attack their roles with commitment (Hartnett’s understatement is impressive), but their fervor can’t hide the movie’s implausible, often confusing storytelling.
  22. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    40
    On your already groaning Shakespeare for Teens video shelf, stack this one above "10 Things I Hate About You" (a.k.a. "The Taming of the Shrew") and quite a bit below "Romeo + Juliet."
  23. 40
    In trying to make "Othello" more lifelike and bring it down to a younger audience -- in effect, to make it more democratic -- the adaptation has rendered the material artless.
  24. 30
    The film is a plodding, earnest adaptation that strips the source of its richness and ambiguity.
  25. It's a doomy dirge of a movie, in which the protagonists, or at least the actors who play them, aren't equipped to handle their outsize passions.
  26. 20
    The makers of this malnourished teen drama haven't just dropped six letters from the title of Shakespeare's Othello, they have excised everything that gives the original its troubling power -- principally a point but also furious passion.
User Score
3.0

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. Apr 3, 2011
    6
    An interesting retelling, but somewhat luckluster since the actors weren't the best for their parts. Iago was the major offender here, sinceAn interesting retelling, but somewhat luckluster since the actors weren't the best for their parts. Iago was the major offender here, since its character really couldn't be compared with the original's cunning and amorality. When you want to rewrite something as important as Othello you should at least consider the reactions of those who appreciated the original and would like to see something at least marginally similiar. Full Review »
  2. JohnG
    Aug 15, 2009
    3
    I didn't like how they removed all abiguity of Iagos(Hugo) motives. Also the original scores sounded like they belonged on a day time I didn't like how they removed all abiguity of Iagos(Hugo) motives. Also the original scores sounded like they belonged on a day time soap opera, and the actors didn't always seen comfortable with the script. Harnet : "Am I your boy" He seemed very uncomfortable say it. Full Review »
  3. DeQuilaH.
    Mar 26, 2008
    9
    I loved this movie. It captured Shakespear's thoughts and feelings in a perfect way. This movie helped mw to understand the complex I loved this movie. It captured Shakespear's thoughts and feelings in a perfect way. This movie helped mw to understand the complex words of Shakespeare. I loved it!!!!! Full Review »