Metascore
79

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

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 71 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 openingSenna'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) Expand
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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: Dan Jolin
    Aug 8, 2011
    80
    Ambitiously constructed, deeply compelling, thrilling and in no way only for those who like watching cars drive in circles. A worthy paean to a true talent.
  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: 24 out of 24
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 24
  3. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Nov 19, 2011
    10
    An amazing documentary, which you don't have to be a motoring sports' fan to enjoy. I'd give it a 9, but just to counterweight the 79 given byAn amazing documentary, which you don't have to be a motoring sports' fan to enjoy. I'd give it a 9, but just to counterweight the 79 given by the so-called experts I'll give it 10. MUST WATCH. Expand
  2. Feb 19, 2015
    10
    This film is happy and sad at the same time. From Senna's rivalry with Alain Prost to his death at Imola in 1994. This is one of my favouriteThis film is happy and sad at the same time. From Senna's rivalry with Alain Prost to his death at Imola in 1994. This is one of my favourite documentary films I've ever seen. Even if you aren't a fan of Formula 1, it's still great. 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 canI 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. Jul 16, 2012
    9
    Brilliant 2010 documentary film following the racing career of three-time F1 World Champion Aryton Senna.

    Compiled from hours of footage
    Brilliant 2010 documentary film following the racing career of three-time F1 World Champion Aryton Senna.

    Compiled from hours of footage of racing, family videos, interviews with the Brazilian with interviews from peers played over the top, Senna is a documentary featuring no narration or retrospective interviews and plays out more like a written film than documentary.

    The film tells the story of Senna's arrival in F1, his instant success on the road to his titles, his rivalry with Alain Prost and clashes with the FIA, culminating with the fateful San Marino GP in 1994.

    The film is perhaps unbalanced when it deals with the Prost Senna relationship and I share Prost's opinion that it doesn't explain how their relationship thawed before Senna's death. The fact that Prost was a pallbearer at Senna's funeral speaks volumes of this. That said, the real 'bad guy' of the story is then FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre.

    Senna comes across as highly spiritual, patriotic, committed and I'm sure racing fans of the Senna era enjoying seeing and listening to some interviews with the man just as much as the racing footage. A moving masterpiece in documentary making that will appeal to all.
    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 reallySenna 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. Jun 30, 2012
    8
    I don't always watch documentaries, but when I do, They're good. And that's why Senna is my favorite film in this genre. I don't followI don't always watch documentaries, but when I do, They're good. And that's why Senna is my favorite film in this genre. I don't follow Formula 1, but this is still entertaining. 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 haveA 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 24 User Reviews

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