On the Ropes


Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13

Critic Reviews

  1. Exceptional, powerful new documentary.
  2. 100
    A sports documentary as gripping, in a different way, as "Hoop Dreams."
  3. 90
    Jolts with a quiet intimacy.
  4. 90
    Walking out of the theater, I felt so bereft that I couldn't speak. And it doesn't hurt any less thinking about the movie now, as I write this.
  5. The documentary has no narration, and uses excellent expository camerawork to say things that no narrator could equal.
  6. 88
    Has the impact of a left-right combination to the chin.
  7. In recording life as it unfolds in the course of a year, On the Ropes not only defies prediction as to its outcome but is in some ways downright confounding...as involving and suspenseful as the best fictional films.
  8. 75
    What the film lacks in freshness...it makes up for in its sympathetic and compelling portrayal of its subjects.
  9. Isn't so emotionally powerful as the Oscar-winning "When We Were Kings" but which -- in its more intimate way -- still packs a punch.
  10. 70
    Burstein and Morgen take all this in from an unobtrusive middle distance, letting the subjects themselves slowly complicate the profusion of athletic and ghetto-real clichés that fly scattershot in the early going.
  11. Often technically rough, but it's painfully compelling.

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