Promised Land

Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jan 2, 2013
    83
    Urgent, heartfelt, and not-quite-as-predictable-as-you-think environmental rabble-rouser.
  2. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Dec 27, 2012
    80
    Though the film eventually caves to sentiment and stereotype, its alert performances and muted rhythms offer much to enjoy in the interim.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 27, 2012
    80
    Krasinki's soft-sell script, lets the movie's ideas get absorbed without grandstanding or pretension. Its issues go down with a smile and common sense, which turns out to be exactly the right formula.
  4. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jan 10, 2013
    75
    Van Sant moves easily from dreamy, impressionistic narratives to conventional, less stylized storytelling, and he does the latter job well in Promised Land.
  5. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Jan 4, 2013
    75
    The characters drive this story, not ideology. Damon and McDormand are terrific as co-workers seeking the same goal, though they see their work from different points of view.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jan 3, 2013
    75
    Promised Land is an involving and timely tale that explores the changing nature and complex challenges of rural life.
  7. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 28, 2012
    75
    Promised Land is a fine place to start appreciating Matt Damon, who always makes it seem as if everybody else is acting and he's just going through the movie being natural.
  8. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Dec 27, 2012
    75
    The rhetorically stacked deck, and some unconvincing third-act plot twists, get in the way of this movie's efforts to reach the cinematic promised land of true greatness.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 27, 2012
    75
    Director Gus Van Sant finds the human side of a knotty issue. No polemics. Just the face of a new America in crisis.
  10. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jan 4, 2013
    67
    The film has lots of small moments that make it a worthy effort.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 4, 2013
    67
    Promised Land is more effective as an anti-fracking screed than as a drama. Damon has his low-key charisma and Van Sant captures the enraged anomie of the community, but, except for one big plot twist, everything in this film is telegraphed from the first frame.
  12. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Dec 6, 2012
    67
    Promised Land can't help but preach its cause in obvious ways that continually hold back an otherwise well-acted, swiftly paced drama.
  13. 63
    Damon the Oscar-winning writer does something nobody else in Hollywood would – write a dumb character for Matt Damon to play.
  14. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jan 4, 2013
    63
    Because he's the protagonist of the movie and played by the likable Matt Damon, we keep an open mind, but Promised Land is morally ambiguous to a fault.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Dec 27, 2012
    63
    It's a fine line between interesting characters and "Northern Exposure" quirk, but the movie mostly stays on the right side of it.
User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 52 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 18
  2. Negative: 5 out of 18
  1. Jan 5, 2013
    7
    In a nutshell: fine acting, skillful directing, beautiful photography, sublime soundtrack, murky screenplay. The politics in the movie areIn a nutshell: fine acting, skillful directing, beautiful photography, sublime soundtrack, murky screenplay. The politics in the movie are actually rather low key -- the other "reviewers" here clearly haven't seen the movie and are trying to push a "drill baby drill" perspective. The non-politics part of the screenplay is where the movie gets into trouble. Damon plays "Steve" who is supposed to be a hotshot closer who can get people to sign over their rights three times better than any other team. Yet he seems befuddled and confused through much of the whole process once he arrives in town to sign people's rights away. We're told he's good, but we never really see a gung-ho seller. Although Damon is a fine actor, I think he's miscast -- the part really needs an oily, dubious huckster like Brad Pitt. Frances McDormand is exceptional in her part, and Holbrook gives a sublime performance, although his part just disappears through the middle of the movie. Krasinski is exceptionally fine here and really lives the part of a glib gladhander. Rosemarie DeWitt is just wonderful in a beautiful performance. In sum, I wouldn't call this a "must see," but it's definitely worth a cable or DVD watching for the fine performances and lovely look of the movie. Full Review »
  2. Jan 4, 2013
    0
    The film is nothing more than propaganda against the energy industry. There is very little actual "content" around this myriad of bad acting,The film is nothing more than propaganda against the energy industry. There is very little actual "content" around this myriad of bad acting, poor writing, and incendiary rhetoric. This is NOT a thoughtful reflection on critical issues surrounding our growing need for energy against environmental and public safety dangers. There are many other ways to engage in this vital debate rather than watching this nonsensical diatribe. The filmmakers did very little homework and over simplified both side, actually. Citizens living in rural America should be outraged by their portrayal as simpering dolts. Spending money on this film only further enables Hollywood to masquerade uninformed opinions as fact. Full Review »
  3. Apr 11, 2013
    0
    If there was a point to this movie I have missed.
    This movie advertises itself as a message but really falls flat delivering said message.
    If there was a point to this movie I have missed.
    This movie advertises itself as a message but really falls flat delivering said message.
    Other than that it is extremely boring.
    Full Review »