Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 0 out of 18
Watch On
  1. 100
    Their excitement is infectious and the entire endeavour both mind-bending and tremendously human: Near the end, Peter Higgs, the recent Nobel Prize-winner and one of the scientists who first predicted the particle back in 1964, is seen in Switzerland watching the data results come in, while a tear trickles down his cheek.
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 4, 2014
    100
    Particle Fever is a fascinating movie about science, and an exciting, revealing and sometimes poignant movie about scientists.
  3. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Mar 4, 2014
    100
    Particle Fever is that rare, exhilarating science doc that’s neither dumbed down nor drabbed up.
  4. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Mar 4, 2014
    100
    Levinson follows the ups and downs of bringing that beast of a collider online, but the movie's deepest thrill lies in what these men and women will theorize next, and how they will test it.
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Mar 4, 2014
    100
    Particle Fever succeeds on every level, but none more important than in making the normally intimidating and arcane world of genius-level physics at least conceptually comprehensible and even friendly to the lay viewer.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Mar 7, 2014
    91
    Particle Fever doesn’t prompt us to say: “Gee, these superbrains are just like us, except for the brains.” The film allows for our awe. It also demonstrates that science is the most human of activities, with all that that implies.
  7. Reviewed by: Trey Graham
    Mar 8, 2014
    85
    It's jaw-droppingly cool stuff, explained with admirable clarity by an affable physicist tour-guide, David E. Kaplan, and wedded to the tale of a massive technological undertaking like nothing in history. ("The biggest machine ever built by human beings," as one scientist puts it.) And it's flat-out thrilling.
  8. Reviewed by: Josh Modell
    Mar 5, 2014
    83
    Particle Fever, to its great credit, is very rarely dry. There’s a palpable excitement throughout, even as the work moves slowly, and the physicists themselves are charming and straightforward enough (“We won’t know how, but it’s gonna change everything”) to make it a compelling, if sometimes difficult to follow, story.
  9. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Mar 20, 2014
    80
    Particle Fever does an excellent job of laying out what's at stake as it documents the creation and fine-tuning of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
  10. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Mar 6, 2014
    80
    There's a palpable excitement around the search for knowledge, and this film captures that beautifully.
  11. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Mar 6, 2014
    80
    The final “beams” are the most exciting depictions of science on film since “Apollo 13.”
  12. Reviewed by: David Gritten
    Mar 4, 2014
    80
    Particle Fever offers enough broad explanation to keep lay persons up to speed. Where it excels is in depicting the various personalities involved.
  13. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Mar 4, 2014
    80
    For all their concentration on the human factor, the filmmakers by no means shortchange the aesthetic dimensions of LHC.
  14. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Mar 4, 2014
    80
    As much as any documentary since Errol Morris’ A Brief History Of Time, Particle Fever excels at expressing advanced scientific theory through graphics that are simple, attractive, and utterly approachable.
  15. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Mar 20, 2014
    75
    It plays out with all the suspense of a thriller. Assisted by acclaimed editor Walter Murch, Levinson wisely shapes the story not around the hardware, which was plagued by malfunctions and other delays, but around the people tasked with making the LHC run.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Mar 20, 2014
    75
    A key point, though, is that all the scientists profiled have staked their careers on this one discovery.
  17. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Mar 13, 2014
    75
    A gripping documentary about the most exacting and expensive scientific experiment ever conducted, and one that may be among the most significant.
  18. Reviewed by: Wes Greene
    Mar 5, 2014
    63
    The film may not put itself above the uninitiated, but director Mark Levinson oftentimes appears almost too eager to present his material with affectation.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Mar 12, 2014
    10
    I never would have anticipated that a documentary about particle physics would bring a tear to my eye. But this one did. Such an outstandingI never would have anticipated that a documentary about particle physics would bring a tear to my eye. But this one did. Such an outstanding work. The filmmaker made some outstanding choices as to who to interview and how to explain such complex science in such a palatable and entertaining fashion. As I was watching this film, I thought to myself that it's so refreshing hearing from some truly brilliant people as opposed to the politicians, talking heads and celebrities whose yapping we're inundated with on a daily basis. This is also the first film in years that actually made me miss school. If you know a kid who is interested in science, you must get her to this film before it leaves theaters. Full Review »
  2. Apr 3, 2014
    10
    Complex subject superbly packaged into digestible and exciting entertainment. How the film maker accomplished this is almost as baffling asComplex subject superbly packaged into digestible and exciting entertainment. How the film maker accomplished this is almost as baffling as the Higgs itself. Full Review »