User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 37
  2. Negative: 9 out of 37

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  1. Feb 4, 2015
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Tripping Over Ourselves

    While there's no cinematic equivalent to the Mona Lisa, I submit a list of the top ten American movies of the last 50 years in no particular order:

    The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, Pulp Fiction, Blade Runner, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Mulholland Drive, Tree of Life, Boyhood, Short Cuts.

    Whaaaaaa... Short Cuts? Is it even Altman's best work? Well, everything unique and original in the other movies on this list was done before... by Altman. (Is there anything the man hasn't tried?) And everything Altman achieved in his career can be summed up in Short Cuts.

    Five of the entries on my list are genre intact: gangster, war, bio, sci-fi, adventure. Lynch is a genre of his own (a master of hook and subvert), Pulp Fiction is pomo-noir with a swagger, Tree of Life, an audacious and transcendent poem, Boyhood, literally an epic achievement of dedication and commitment. Short Cuts doesn't seem to fit in as it is merely an observation of lives and love. But what observations! What lives! What heartbreaking affection. All underscored with a resonating heartbeat patching into so many paths, teetering on the brink of disaster and threatening to explode, which it does, in the form of a climactic planetary stroke. Nothing brings people together quite like a natural disaster. An earthquake, tremoring just enough to inform us of our place in history on the cosmic map. Enough to bring us down to earth, reboot our egos, and put multiple perspectives in perspective. Enough to appreciate the simple state of being.

    A larger-than-life baroque master is at the helm, warbling out contrapuntal narratives and swirling themes orchestrated to perfection. Multiple story-lines wavering under one very singular umbrella. And under Altman's protective cover the talent runs free and easy, playful and experimental, ironic and sincere. The key characters in one story become walk-throughs in another, paradoxically tethered and disconnected from the self, from family, community, and life. Boundaries are crossed and souls get lost. We're all the same if only by not knowing what our needs are or why we're even here. With nothing to say except everything is exceptional, infinite and empty. And life is short. Shorts Cuts of scenes stories words actions desire love loss lies lust faith wonder and devotion. Heck, I'd see it again only to watch Tom Waits and Lily Tomlin shack up.

    Some movies claim to be infinitely entertaining, some maintain they can be viewed repeatedly without losing their initial charm, some insist they never age, I know only one that can lay claim to all such conceits. Short Cuts is like falling in love. It delivers quietly, wonderfully, naturally, tenderly, simply and deeply.
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  2. Nov 1, 2012
    10
    Sure many of the characters in "Short Cuts" are bad people, but that doesn't stop this ensemble film from being creative, funny, and tragic, all at once. Robert Altman is the man to go to for films like this, and if "Nashville" left you stunned, "Short Cuts" will live your mouth open. He connects these characters, all portrayed excellently by the stunning cast, in such genius ways, andSure many of the characters in "Short Cuts" are bad people, but that doesn't stop this ensemble film from being creative, funny, and tragic, all at once. Robert Altman is the man to go to for films like this, and if "Nashville" left you stunned, "Short Cuts" will live your mouth open. He connects these characters, all portrayed excellently by the stunning cast, in such genius ways, and the stories themselves are all unique in some way or another. With standout performances from Andie MacDowell, Tim Robbins, and Julianne Moore, "Short Cuts" is one of my favorite films from the '90's. Expand
  3. Nov 2, 2010
    10
    I love this movie. It's a truly magnificent piece of art, and it changed the way I thought about movies. Perhaps it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but if you enjoy challenging, thought-provoking cinema, you must give yourself a chance to savor this masterpiece.
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    100
    It is, finally, as a richly pulsating, hugely entertaining human comedy -- antic, wayward, glancing -- that Short Cuts bemuses, amuses and finally entrances us. [4 Oct 1993]
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Exploding Raymond Carver's spare stories and minimally drawn characters onto the screen with startling imagination, Robert Altman has made his most complex and full-bodied human comedy since "Nashville."
  3. Altman shakes the camera like a two-bit horror director, and it seems a different sort of signature - less masterful than weary, less signed than resigned. Zero-sum, indeed.