Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    May 22, 2013
    100
    A wholly original and thoroughly surprising fusion of sensory overload and liberal philosophy bound to confuse and provoke in equal measures.
  2. Reviewed by: Scout Tafoya
    Aug 29, 2014
    88
    The Congress, playing fast and loose with a source novel by Stanislaw Lem, splits from its version of reality at the 45-minute mark, and at that point becomes a decadent post-modern classic.
  3. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    May 22, 2013
    87
    The first half of “The Congress,” while still fascinating, does suffer a bit from keeping its focus on the gripes and accusations between Hollywood actors and producers...Once the Philip K. Dick-meets-”Inception” second half kicks in, the implications grow more universal.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Sep 5, 2014
    83
    The film has a transcendent spookiness.
  5. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Aug 25, 2014
    83
    Israeli director Ari Forman, whose 2009 "Waltz with Bashir" earned a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination, is a master at exploiting diverse animated styles, and draws a brave starring performance from a performer who, in her mid-40s, seems to be just hitting her stride.
  6. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Sep 4, 2014
    80
    Ari Folman’s genre mash-up The Congress could use a freakier title, something either more appealing or appalling to go with the weird, sometimes wonderful visions flowing through it.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Sep 3, 2014
    80
    This potent emotional undercurrent goes a long way toward counteracting the movie’s clumsier moments, carrying us aloft to a finale that, in its strange mix of trepidation and tenderness, is truly sublime.
  8. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Aug 28, 2014
    80
    In conjuring a fantastical slippery slope in which technology, pharmaceuticals and the entertainment industry co-star in a takeover of our lives, The Congress boasts a propulsive image-making pull.
  9. Reviewed by: Stephen Kelly
    Aug 25, 2014
    80
    Whether visual or thematic, Folman’s bold, eccentric ideas never fail to astound; but they also never truly cohere into a satisfying narrative throughline.
  10. Reviewed by: D.W. Mault
    Aug 25, 2014
    80
    For a film that looks at a believably nightmarish future, The Congress sits out of its time; a feverish relic of a post-revolutionary cinema of the mind that attempts to transcend the confines of a bloated filmic space that appears no longer interested in discourse, and would rather parley its audience into a stupefied boredom.
  11. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Sep 3, 2014
    75
    The Congress doesn’t fully live up to its lofty ambitions, but it does attempt something most filmmakers wouldn’t even dream of — a dystopian blend of live-action and animation that acidly comments on some of Hollywood’s touchiest issues before drifting off into an existential fog.
  12. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Aug 29, 2014
    75
    There’s something to be said for a movie that manages to baffle and dazzle in equal measure. If Daffy Duck had taken up political and media theory, his brain might look like this.
  13. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Aug 27, 2014
    70
    Like its actress, it's an ambitious knockout that doesn't quite live up to its potential. But its argument is worth hearing: Instead of crying for the collapse of one actress, Folman is crying for the collapse of civilization, the triumph of the synthetic over the real.
  14. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Aug 25, 2014
    67
    It's precisely as bonkers as it sounds, and at two hours, both wearisome and claustrophobic... But flashes of fury and beauty remain.
  15. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    May 22, 2013
    67
    Overloaded with too many ideas, it does scant justice to the more interesting ones that crop up, while regularly diverting from any sort of central narrative to follow tenuous and ill-explained threads that end up in a foggy limbo. But just when it threatens to wholly frustrate, someone cracks an enjoyable inside-baseball meta movie-making joke and we're back on side for a bit.
  16. Reviewed by: Tom Russo
    Sep 4, 2014
    63
    Lem’s story is merely a springboard for Folman’s wildly sprawling meditations on what the advent of virtual performance means — for artistic integrity, creative spirit, celebrity culture, human identity, even our hold on reality.
  17. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Aug 25, 2014
    60
    [Folman's] film is an alluring curio, a protest against the digital frontier which gets stuck with a knotty internal paradox – it starts out as thoroughly its own experiment, and ends up like a counterfeit of too many others.
  18. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Aug 13, 2014
    60
    Folman’s vision is just too personal and obtuse, and the result can feel rather like watching someone else drop acid, enjoying their giddy descriptions of all the pretty colours but unable to fully engage.
  19. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Aug 11, 2014
    60
    A fascinating and visually impressive intellectual helter-skelter ride, but the lack of narrative coherence lets down its promising sci-fi concepts and satire.
  20. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Jul 14, 2014
    60
    Too much of Ari Folman’s half-animated science-fiction feature The Congress feels just a bit off—but every now and then, the concept, the performances, and Folman’s visual flair combine to produce something extraordinary.
  21. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    May 22, 2013
    60
    Ambition markedly outstrips achievement in The Congress, a visionary piece of speculative fiction that drops the ball after a fine set-up.
  22. Reviewed by: Xan Brooks
    May 22, 2013
    60
    The Congress contains tricks aplenty and ideas in abundance. The problem comes in herding these scattered, floating elements towards a satisfying whole.
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Sep 5, 2014
    50
    It’s fascinating and boring, intriguing and exasperating, but ultimately it felt like a jambalaya of ideas that didn’t quite mesh into a satisfying experience.
  24. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Aug 28, 2014
    50
    Ari Folman's meta-commentary on Hollywood in the soulless digital age starts off promisingly, like a Charlie Kaufman mind scrambler. But then it spirals into logy animated nonsense.
  25. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Aug 27, 2014
    50
    Wright is terrific – sensitive and alert – in the live-action opening. But that opening runs more than 45 minutes long, a way too heavy-handed preamble to the crazed animation to come, and the actress’ vocal delivery – soft-spoken, gently bewildered – is too soporific to pull off lines like, “Look at me, I’m your prophet of doom.”
  26. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Aug 27, 2014
    50
    It’s a folly of the first order, but one that many people will nonetheless want to see, if only because it’s so out there.
  27. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Aug 24, 2014
    50
    The film lacks the manic fly-by-night invention of, say, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or even the ripe erotic ambiguity of something like Avatar.
  28. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Sep 5, 2014
    40
    On the one hand, there's a thrill in such experimentalism. On the other, it doesn't always deliver a fully satisfying moviegoing experience.
  29. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Sep 4, 2014
    40
    It’s almost painful to watch the immense promise of The Congress, Ari Folman’s spectacularly ambitious experiment, dissipate into nothing.
  30. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    May 22, 2013
    40
    Apart from its general knock against ageism in Hollywood, The Congress doesn’t have much insight to offer on the subject.
  31. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Aug 28, 2014
    37
    The film is ambitious and heartfelt, with pressing concerns about the virtualization and fantasization of reality. But it’s a blunder, one interesting mostly for what it might have been.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Oct 17, 2014
    6
    Israeli director Ari Folman’s fourth film, THE CONGRESS is the much anticipated follow-up after his Oscar-nominated animation-documentary WALTZ WITH BASHIR (2008), which to my ruefulness I have yet to watch, since I am eternally lagging in the field of documentaries, let alone a war documentary.

    THE CONGRESS has an intrinsically distinctive allure of its own because it is a film creatively amalgamate live-action with animation, and inspired by Stanislaw Lem’s Sci-Fi novel THE FUTUROLOGICAL CONGRESS, it ambitiously challenges to handle a thornier theme of human race’s incorrigible addiction to chemicals which ultimately erase all one egos than it appears to suggest, a showbiz industry agism satire and the advance of technology which foreshadows the doom of the line of actor (which both FINALE FANTSY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN 2001, and the film itself can justify at least for now, animation cannot replace real actors, live-capture may be a more probable contrivance).

    continue reading my review on my blog: google cinema omnivore, thanks
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 6, 2014
    10
    Imagine a world where experience could be inhaled like a pharmaceutical. There would be no need for movies, because the direct experience of another life is always available - we wouldn't have to see it, we would be it. In this reality, personal identity would cease to be something stable and defined; your identity could shift from moment to moment as you live unlimited possible experiences. The real world already has trouble competing with fantasy, but with this pharmaceutical, fantasy would become the reality, and how many people would truly accept their normal life if an unlimited number of experiences and adventures was always instantly available? This is the question the movie asks, and the future it terrifyingly predicts. "I am your prophet of doom" says the Robin Wright character, as she describes this future. In this way, it shares similar conceits with The Matrix, another movie built on the fact that reality is entirely a creation of the mind. But unlike The Matrix, The Congress posits that most people would happily embrace a fantastic false reality over our default one. Full Review »
  3. Sep 27, 2014
    5
    It just didn't work.

    Stanisław Lem, like Philip K. Dick and Theodore Sturgeon, is tough to get right. This film's portrayal of drugged
    Utopian fantasy seemed too silly and simply did not fit with the rest of the movie's tone.

    Robin Wright was solid throughout but once the movie arrives at The Congress there just wasn't much she could do to help.
    Full Review »