Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. From the outside, Sunshine sounds like the most boring film on Earth. In fact, it's glorious.
  2. 91
    So filled with riches that it seems a bit unfair to single out Szabo and Fiennes, no matter how outstanding their work.
  3. It's a brilliant, profound movie, but it's almost no fun at all.
  4. An incredibly ambitious film and one of the most highly accomplished of the year.
  5. While inevitably oversimplified, is never less than engrossing.
  6. 80
    What makes Sunshine unique, what rewards a first viewing and lives in the mind long thereafter, is that Szabo has attempted to place Judaism and Christianity on a continuum that is both historically truthful and highly personal.
  7. Leaves you with a sense of quiet, chastened grace.
  8. 75
    This is a movie of substance and thrilling historical sweep, and its three hours allow Szabo to show the family's destiny forming and shifting under pressure.
  9. The filmmaking is uninspired and Fiennes inexplicably plays three different characters with exactly the same acting style.
  10. Reviewed by: Marta Barber
    For filmgoers not interested in history, Sunshine might be a three-hour investment they may not want to undertake.
  11. It is often as powerful as it is elegantly shot. Unfortunately, Szabo tends to tell this rather predictable tale in an obvious yet uneven way.
  12. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    This movie doesn't make you think you are watching art. It's closer to a high-end TV movie with lots of familiar faces.
  13. The sunshine in Sunshine comes from women around him (Fiennes).
  14. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    That this handsome, three-hour extravaganza coheres at all is a small miracle; that it actually leaves you wanting more is a major one.
  15. 70
    Despite Sunshine's historical scope and multiplicity of characters, it doesn't shed half as much light on its subject -- identity and anti-Semitism -- as does, for example, Agnieszka Holland's claustrophobic chamber piece "Angry Harvest."
  16. It is a superb period re-creation and boasts a formidable international cast.... It is nevertheless absorbing and illuminating in regard to the eras its spans but is also pretty wearying by the time it starts winding down.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Sunshine is a trifle schematic. But it also makes you feel, quite poignantly, the crushing tides of history: heedless, inhuman--and tragic.
  18. 70
    Many of the plot points seem belabored because they're introduced in the voice-over, then ploddingly dramatized, then analyzed by the family over meals.
  19. The saga might have worked better as a novel, where we could cast the characters with our imaginations, and keep them straight.
  20. Szabo doesn't bring the film to its senses until just past the halfway point.
  21. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    Well-intentioned but never entirely engaging chronicle.
  22. 52
    Eventually succumbs to fatal overlength.
  23. Ultimately one of those sprawling epics best suited for a rainy day.
  24. Reviewed by: Gemma Files
    Sunshine's historical reference-heavy narrative walks a fine line between novelistic tragedy and comically overstated melodrama, falling down on the job more than once.
  25. That this mess should come from the hand of Istvan Szabo, the brilliant Hungarian director of "Mephisto" and "Colonel Redl," is the real shocker.

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