Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 58 Ratings

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  • Summary: Senna's remarkable story, charting his physical and spiritual achievements on the track and off, his quest for perfection, and the mythical status he has since attained, is the subject of SENNA, a documentary feature that spans the racing legend's years as an F1 driver, from his opening season in 1984 to his final, tragic race a decade later. Far more than a film for F1 fans, SENNA unfolds a remarkable story in a remarkable manner, eschewing many standard documentary techniques in favour of a more cinematic approach that makes full use of astounding footage, much of which is drawn from F1 archives and is previously unseen. (Working Title Films) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Sep 2, 2011
    100
    With such supercharged material under the hood, a magnetic man behind the wheel and a nimble director manning the pits, Senna is simply the greatest sports film I have ever seen.
  2. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Aug 10, 2011
    91
    With exemplary use of archival footage, director Asif Kapadia expertly contrasts episodes of adrenaline-rush speed with moments of reflective slow motion to capture the addictive thrill and danger of the sport, as well as the personal values of the humble, spiritual sportsman.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Aug 11, 2011
    90
    What's most rewarding, though, is that Mr. Senna speaks extensively and eloquently for himself, and reveals himself to be an eminently human hero. He's thoughtful, even philosophical, about decisions that deprive him of seemingly well-earned victories.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Aug 8, 2011
    80
    Feels lavish by normal documentary standards and will have great appeal in such F1 hotbeds as Europe and South America.
  5. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Sep 21, 2011
    75
    Senna himself gives it its heart. I just wish I'd gotten a better handle on who he was before the film's checkered flag falls.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 12, 2011
    75
    Not surprisingly, a documentary constructed entirely from newsreel footage proves inadequate to the task of sounding the depths of someone as complicated or driven (pun intended) as Senna.
  7. Reviewed by: Una LaMarche
    Aug 9, 2011
    50
    Senna's accomplishments are impressive, but his story seems more suited to an ESPN special than a feature-length film.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Nov 17, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is probably the best film I have ever seen. I am a big fan of F1 and knew about Ayrton Senna 's story before I watched the film. It may just be a collection of clips, but the way that Kapadia has put them together is superb. The film grabbed me from the start and I was hooked from there. It is mainly about Senna and Prost's relationship on the track, but it also tells you about his early life and how he got to the top of F1.

    I was pleased that his death wasn't focused on too much, there were a few clips and that was pretty much it for that part of his story, it would have been too easy to focus on the events at Imola quite heavily as most people who don't know anything about F1 know thats how he died.

    A fantastic documentary film put together brilliantly. 10/10 for sure.
    Expand
  2. Jul 21, 2012
    10
    As great a documentary as I have ever seen, Senna pushes every button. Ayrton Senna was a racer before my time, I have grown up with Schumacher as my driving hero but watching this documentary made me wish that I had been able to watch this great sportsman drive before his untimely death (I was 1 when he passed). The insight into his life is remarkable and allowed me to understand what it was to be a driver in his age. If you haven't seen it, I could not recommend it more highly, especially if you are an avid sports fan. Expand
  3. Aug 15, 2011
    10
    I have never been an F1 fanatic, or been interested in cars, I do however possess a great passion for documentaries. For this reason I can say, without a doubt, that this is the best documentary I have ever seen. Expand
  4. Jan 16, 2012
    9
    My love of racing personified! I l wish there were more films with racing footage like this. This film puts you in the drivers seat in the art of racing. I will watch it by adding it to my library of great film that can be watched over and over. Expand
  5. May 15, 2013
    8
    Senna is a solid movie and a great example of a documentary that succeeds only by using archive footage. The racing is exciting and I really got a sense of how Formula 1 racing can be addicting and dangerous.

    One interesting note, I can't say I really admire Ayrton Senna. The film portrays him positively but reading between the lines I can definitely see why things wound up for him the way they did. He was a good patriot and a kind giver but that cannot wash away the fact that he was addicted to winning and used dubious methods to achieve it. He took many risks reaching for #1 and frequently put himself and other drivers in great danger.

    It was because of these methods he was so often a champion and I cannot say the man was without drive. However, I would not want to be in a race alongside Ayrton Senna.
    Expand
  6. Nov 13, 2012
    8
    Fantastic doco, It would have been 10/10 but for the fact not enough emphasis was placed on Senna's most memorable opening lap at Donnington at the European Grand Prix in 1993. It was an opening lap nobody has ever matched. It showed skill at an incredible level and deserved to be the focus of more attention. That said it was a great film. 8/10 Expand
  7. Dec 15, 2013
    6
    A very one-sided, biased take on a genius of a driver. It plays up the drama between the drivers at bit much at times when it could have focused more on Senna's struggles with the Williams mechanical team. Although it was interesting to see here where Senna came from, and his struggles through the ranks, the film was not able to capture him on an intimate level. He always remains as a distance, untouchable celebrity. Still, not bad for a film made out of decades old footage. The film did tend to drag on however, and certain parts, especially some of the stuff that had nothing to do with racing, could have easily been cut out (I skipped through some parts myself). I was left wondering how such a stunning driver could be defeated by such a seemingly trivial problem. As troubling as it is that the exact cause of the crash is not known, it is a reminder that he was human, but there is some comfort in know that he died doing not only what he love, but what he had to do. Expand

See all 21 User Reviews

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