Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 4 out of 32
  1. Aronofsky has fashioned a chilling vision that lives up to the caustic irony of its title and gives us a nightmare that is not lightly forgotten.
  2. He (Aronofsky) has put together a phantasmagoria of self-destructive obsession that is so visually astounding it becomes its own saving grace. Otherwise, we might not be able to bear it.
  3. May be the first movie to fully capture the way that drugs dislocate us from ourselves.
  4. 100
    No one interested in the power and magic of movies should miss it.
  5. 91
    Burstyn is astonishing, forsaking all vanity to make silly biddy Sara a fully dimensioned human being.
  6. 90
    A fluent, intelligent piece of work whose sex and violence are anything but gratuitous, and exactly the kind of highly personal, no-holds-barred vision of life on the ragged edge that independents always aspire to but rarely have the goods to achieve.
  7. A work of art whose beauty has the eternal power of redemption.
  8. 90
    Be warned: it's a downer, and a knockout.
  9. 88
    Aronofsky brings a new urgency to the drug movie by trying to reproduce, through his subjective camera, how his characters feel, or want to feel, or fear to feel.
  10. 88
    Easily the most searing movie-going experience of the year.
  11. Locks in on its self-destructive subjects so precisely, it's almost unbearable to watch.
  12. A powerful fable about love and addiction that manages to be darkly humorous when it isn't graphic or harrowing in the extreme.
  13. An unrelentingly dark vision that's as hard to watch as it is impossible to walk away from.
  14. 80
    The tremendous power of Aronofsky's filmmaking -- its omnivorous omnipotence, if that makes any sense -- has the curious effect of diluting its emotional impact.
  15. 78
    Haunts the memory long after you've left the theatre.
  16. Often, Requiem for a Dream is as technically inventive and daring as the Scottish heroin film "Trainspotting," but it has more resonance and feeling. And when Burstyn is on screen, it often becomes heartbreaking.
  17. May be an elaborate stunt, a bungee jump, but even so, it's forceful enough to leave a rare palpitating residue.
  18. 70
    Love it or hate it -- and I suspect, frankly, most people are going to hate it -- this is like no other film you've ever seen.
  19. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Becomes increasingly unwatchable -- not just bleak but punishing, as if the director wants to fry your circuits along with his characters'.
  20. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    It’s technically striking filmmaking, to be sure, but what it’s presenting is nothing that many people will want to look at.
  21. 70
    This bleak vision directed by Darren Aronofsky ("Pi") is pointless with good reason.
  22. It's one of the most beautifully unpleasant movies ever made - its reverse charge being that it is no fun at all.
  23. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Aronofsky has given us a well-acted, gorgeously overwrought and luridly entertaining exploitation flick -- a midnight movie for future generations.
  24. 60
    Chilling and technically proficient and, also, fairly hollow.
  25. To be fair, Aronofsky has a knack for stylistic overkill, and his hammering onslaught is undeniably riveting, at first anyway.
  26. Solid acting helps the story stay earthbound when Aronofsky's filmmaking gets addicted to its own flashy cynicism, but the picture sometimes seems as dazed and confused as the situations it wants to criticize.
  27. 50
    Far too complex and provoking.
  28. 49
    Never the heart-wrenching emotional experience it seems intended to be.
  29. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    It's two hours of slumming in a vision of hell hatched from bourgeois comfort. That, and not its unsavory subject matter, is what makes it bummer theater.
  30. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Too self-consciously dark, too aware of its long, murky, art-designed descent into the underbelly of America's addictive personality.
  31. While director Aronofsky pistol-whips your attention with his style, the characters (mostly relegated to human mannequins in Aronofsky's visual schemes) suffer big time.
  32. In the end the movie goes nowhere a hundred movies haven't already been and tells us nothing we don't already know. It does so with so much violent energy, however, it's like four brutal years at film school crammed into an hour and a half.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 347 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 142
  1. May 16, 2011
    Fine piece of work. From every aspect. You can tell the cast and crew worked so hard to compose a phenomenal film, like nothing you have seen before. Full Review »
  2. Jun 10, 2012
    Requiem for a Dream is a breathtaking movie and this is because of the topics that treat and point of view that give them. The film talks about family conflicts, couple problems, friend disagreements, racist fights, poor environments and all of these immersed in the drugs world. Obviously the points of view towards these problems are four, the one of Harry (who is trying to be successful and have a job), his girlfriend (who is looking her happily ever after), his mother (who wants to be remembered after her dead, by appear on television) and his best friend (who is hoping to live without worries and just enjoying the moment). In another way, this people is trying to accomplish something that is very difficult to find in the real world, so the solution is to escape from the reality; here is when the four path joins in a common point: the drugs, which represent the release of their minds. In this part Darren Aronofsky use the expressionist and surrealistic images, like the sequence when they take drugs, the attack of the TV people with the refrigerator and the zombie ending. Finally the four people end in the same way as if they were only one body. All of this is enhance by a marvelous direction, astonishing performances, excellent script and shocking music. This is a requiem for the beloved housewife, the worker son, the empathic girlfriend and the supporting friend. It is a requiem for achieving perfection. A Requiem for a Dream. Full Review »
  3. May 21, 2012
    Requiem for a Dream is the story of 4 stereotypical stock characters who suffer from substance abuse. All of which become the victims of a gruesomely slippery slope of drug addiction. However, this film fails at creating unique and original characters with even the slightest amount of depth. And the half-assed love story between Harry and Marion gives no insight into why they fell in love other then them both being attractive. Many people praise its innovative cinematography and "realistic" view of the results of drug abuse. But along with its purposefully disturbing scare tactics, it's about as compelling and a D.A.R.E poster. And unfortunately the cinematography isn't enough to salvage this colossal piece of trash. Full Review »