• Studio: Tartan
  • Release Date: Apr 26, 2006
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 100
    Like "United 93" and the work of the Dardenne brothers, it lives entirely in the moment, seeing what happens as it happens, drawing no conclusions, making no speeches, creating no artificial dramatic conflicts, just showing people living one moment after another, as they must.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    100
    It is a black comedy, among the blackest. It is also more grueling in some stretches than anything in "United 93."
  3. The movie is a stunner, so hypnotic that the length hardly matters.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    It's full of humor, pathos and a deep humanism that comes as a warm blast in this age of lifeless, cinematic junk.
  5. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    100
    Never anything less than wholly engrossing. There's a lot of humor to be found here (primarily of the dark comedy variety) and the cumulative impact of Lazarescu's journey through the Bucharest medical system is quite powerful.
  6. 100
    A watchful, winding-down tragedy of a movie that delivers what it promises. As commentary, it's grim. As filmmaking, it's a powerfully disturbing odyssey through the Bucharest health care system.
  7. Mr. Lazarescu is that rich and riveting a film of universal small human moments and big-system failure.
  8. A heartbreakingly powerful masterpiece.
  9. Devastating, uncompromising and riveting.
  10. 100
    The Death of Mr. Lazarescu runs the same 2 1/2 hours as "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," but what a difference a comic-dramatic purpose makes.
  11. Both sad and darkly funny, the film is so sharply conceived and richly populated that it often registers like a Frederick Wiseman documentary, even though everything is scripted and every part played by a professional... This is only the second feature of Cristi Puiu, who claims to have been inspired by his own hypochondria, but he's already clearly a master.
  12. 91
    An intoxicating performance piece in which skilled actors pinball off each other with such energy and nuance that the audience almost forgets about the dying man on the edge of the frame. The style alone makes the movie's point.
  13. 90
    Almost as exhilarating as it is depressing. Puiu's filmmaking technique is remarkable, and all the more so because it's almost invisible.
  14. 90
    An explicit ode to mortality, not without a certain grim humor.
  15. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    Puiu's is the art of the seemingly artless: he takes a story that's utterly unglamorous and mundane, and transforms it into something mythic.
  16. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    90
    Picture's dour take on the dehumanizing process of medical treatment is leavened by black humor and dialogue that always rings true.
  17. By recording this all too commonplace and dehumanizing process, Puiu's film shows the sick old man and the strangers who deal with him to be all too human - extraordinarily so.
  18. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    80
    Long, but engrossing and frequently enraging drama that not only exposes the flaws in the Romanian health service, but also in modern humanity.
  19. It's long, but it's also very real and worth every minute.
  20. 80
    The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, for all its terrible matter-of-factness, produces tumultuous feelings of amazement and revolt.
  21. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    70
    In this deep probe into modern-day medicine, the old guy is shuttled from hospital to hospital in a surreal, horrifying ordeal of errors, missed diagnoses and institutional malaise. At two hours and 34 minutes, we, seemingly, also endure his agony -- part of this Romanian film's power and, also, its Achilles heel.
  22. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    70
    Do not, under any circumstance, approach this film lightly. Prepare to be depressed, agitated and shocked. And prepare to see a brilliant work of cinematic art.
  23. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    This Romanian movie defies categorization--it's halfway between a black comedy and a Fred Wiseman documentary. And it haunts you like the ghost of any dead person you've ever ignored.
  24. 70
    Unlike the zippy American medical dramas it apes, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is paid out with the deliberate slowness of a dray horse straining up a mountain path. With every painstaking turn of the screw that seals Lazarescu's sorry fate, Puiu flirts with tedium, but tedium is the point of this hyperrealist tale, paced in what feels like real time.
  25. Though it is undeniably bleak and pessimistic and marked by a texture of observation worthy of British director Mike Leigh, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is not as forbidding as it sounds.
  26. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is hopelessly depressing. Yet as a story of the callous impersonalization we inflict upon one another, the film is timeless.
  27. If Lazarescu's experience is typical in the former Soviet bloc, democracy hasn't done much to humanize the bureaucracy.
  28. Needlessly long, visually drab and not just a foreign-language film, with English subtitles, but a film that's ostensibly foreign to our experience. That said, there are compelling reasons to see it.
  29. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    38
    It's supposed to be about a Kafkaesque experience. Instead, it IS a Kafkaesque experience. Why are we here? Is everything absurd? Is anyone in charge?
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 13
  2. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. Jul 9, 2012
    2
    Watched this scrunched up at the back on a cinema during a film festival. I have never wished anyone in the world dead until half way throughWatched this scrunched up at the back on a cinema during a film festival. I have never wished anyone in the world dead until half way through this movie. Two and a half hours - were all the Romanian editors on strike? Yes I know life is bleak and death is lonely and futile, but a little part of me did not have to die in the cinema for me to know that. Full Review »
  2. RoryP.
    Feb 21, 2008
    9
    Excellent. No doubt about it. Me being a conventional lad, I did find the 'naturalistic' pace a bit head wrecking for the first 20 Excellent. No doubt about it. Me being a conventional lad, I did find the 'naturalistic' pace a bit head wrecking for the first 20 minutes. After that I gave into it and found the whole thing an extremely rewarding experience. very real and moving. The best film I've seen in a long time. Full Review »
  3. JamieB
    Jul 30, 2007
    1
    Never before have I ever wished death on anyone, but by the end of this film I just wanted Mr Lazarescu to die. Perhaps that was the point. Never before have I ever wished death on anyone, but by the end of this film I just wanted Mr Lazarescu to die. Perhaps that was the point. To be honest though if I had wanted to torture myself I would have stubbed cigarettes out on my hand in preference to watching this film. Full Review »