Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Marvelously involving family saga.
  2. 75
    It evokes the atmosphere of a Sergio Leone Western, sneaking up under the movie's human comedy and adding a smile.
  3. 70
    What really separates "Midlands" from Leone's desiccated, terse genre work is Mr. Meadows's doting attention to his characters' decency. It gives a demonstrative bittersweetness to a likable but small story.
  4. 70
    Sharply drawn and well-acted.
  5. 70
    Always predictable in its outcome, but it still retains a certain charm, mostly because of Meadows's cheerful sympathy and affection for his motley crew of characters.
  6. There are instances when the filmmaker tries for Western iconography and settles for ''Full Monty'' ingratiation.
  7. 63
    Meadows clearly has a flair for working with actors and for depicting the rough-and-tumble of ordinary provincial lives. If he could go just a bit deeper, the truly great Midlands movie just might surface.
  8. 63
    Just Brit filmmaker Shane Meadows having some fun with the conventions of the spaghetti western.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Pure bangers-and-mash realism: a spotty yet ingratiating working-class farce that suggests a Mike Leigh movie with opera buffa tendencies.
  10. The film's best players can all be found in the supporting cast.
  11. 60
    There are pages missing from this fable: Meadows reports that his financiers asked him to cut one-quarter of his original script just before production began, and his fondness for long takes sits uneasily beside the apparent gaps in the narrative.
  12. 60
    Often seems like a Mike Leigh movie viewed in a fun-house mirror.
  13. It's an interesting experiment that doesn't quite work.
  14. 50
    It's a compelling and ambitious idea, but one that misfires because of its underwhelming characters and slack storytelling.
  15. 50
    A movie saved by great acting.
  16. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The sheer novelty of the enterprise is probably why Once Upon a Time in the Midlands has gotten so many rave reviews when it's actually sort of … middling.
  17. This movie's just so-so, but at its heart lies a true leading lady.
  18. The story, which feels more like a sprawl of television episodes than a film, is a little tedious to sit through.
  19. 50
    Midlands finds some measure of success in its use of regular, real-looking people -- as opposed to the oddly glamorous characters who turn up in most romantic comedies -- but it's as though the writer used up all the personality traits before he got to Shirley.
  20. 50
    In the end, Meadows' film lacks the bite it needs to make us care about this oddball trio, endearing though they are.
  21. The complications are predictable, as is the resolution; what keeps the film from sinking into its own inconsequentiality is the throaty-voiced Henderson, who can make the most preposterous behavior ring absolutely true.
  22. After 45 minutes of incomparable boredom, the movie gets slightly better when it stops reaching for cheap yuks and lets the actors do what they do well.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Aug 23, 2010
    Man returns to the Midlands from Glasgow to get back with his ex-wife after seeing her new man propose & fail to her on a TV show.
    Usual Shane
    Man returns to the Midlands from Glasgow to get back with his ex-wife after seeing her new man propose & fail to her on a TV show.
    Usual Shane Meadows affair with a good cast, funny dialogue, moving & Mike Leigh-light grit.
    For me, Rhys Ifans is just outstanding & after seeing him as Peter Cook recently & now this, think he's a very talented actor.
    Well worth a watch if you've enjoyed Meadows's other work.
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