Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Mar 8, 2012
    88
    It's a thriller that feels like a documentary.
  2. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Mar 8, 2012
    88
    While The Forgiveness of Blood lacks the narrative momentum of director Joshua Marston's previous film, "Maria Full of Grace" - it is nonetheless fascinating.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 23, 2012
    85
    It's the kind of movie that makes the world feel like a smaller place, suggesting that the similarities connecting us across continents and cultures are more resonant than the things that divide us.
  4. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Feb 24, 2012
    83
    The Forgiveness of Blood examines the barriers of ritual and the passage from youth to adulthood in Albanian society with the perceptive detail of a grand literary feat. At the same time, it retains the simplicity of a parable.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 24, 2012
    83
    My favorite character is not Nik but his 15-year-old sister, Rudina (Sindi Lacej), who takes over her father's bread delivery route in his rickety wagon and makes a go of it against all odds. Her pluck seems both Old World and New World.
  6. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Feb 22, 2012
    83
    This gripping if tamped-down drama is steeped in ancient Albanian culture, where the real, tragic consequences of blood feuds can keep families trapped in their homes for generations.
  7. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Jul 30, 2012
    80
    Even if it lacks a stand-out turn it's still a grippingly authentic slice of life.
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Feb 23, 2012
    80
    Quietly affecting and surprisingly dramatic, so long as you're willing to watch it unfold at its own deliberate pace.
  9. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Feb 23, 2012
    80
    There is so much to admire in Joshua Marston's The Forgiveness of Blood that it's easy to overlook the miracle at its center: Marston's artistic idealism.
  10. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Feb 21, 2012
    80
    Marston nails the claustrophobia of small-town life and the turbulent emotionalism of teenagers, but what pushes the film toward sublimity is the way he delicately captures all of the characters' inner lives as their world slowly crumbles.
  11. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Mar 30, 2012
    75
    What's lacking is a galvanizing performance comparable to that of the Oscar-nominated Catalina Sandino Moreno in "Maria Full of Grace." Still, The Forgiveness of Blood is a memorable portrait of a society and the demands it makes on those caught up in it.
  12. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Mar 29, 2012
    75
    There's much to observe – for example, the thoroughly credible performances of the cast, most of them non-professionals.
  13. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Mar 15, 2012
    75
    It never exactly lights you on fire, but you always believe it.
  14. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Mar 8, 2012
    75
    The nonprofessional cast is convincing, especially Lacej, whose Rudina registers more strongly than Nik.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 8, 2012
    75
    Marston's a miniaturist even when The Forgiveness of Blood calls out for larger gestures, and you occasionally sense a more bruising, compelling movie lurking behind this one.
  16. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Feb 24, 2012
    75
    Richly photographed by Rob Hardy (who gave Red Riding: 1974 its almost surreal bleakness), this meticulously researched story (Marston spent a month interviewing families trapped in these vendettas) reveals a culture dominated by male pride and patriarchal selfishness.
  17. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Feb 24, 2012
    75
    A suspenseful work using nonprofessional actors and co-written with an Albanian filmmaker, shows Marston is no one-hit wonder.
  18. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Feb 21, 2012
    75
    The result is a film of great humanity that reveals Albania as a primitive region struggling to bridge the gap between medieval European customs and the tide of progress.
  19. 70
    [A] compelling film touching on the perils of being young - that's it, merely young - in a culture without justice.
  20. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Feb 22, 2012
    67
    Just as Marston's scrupulous attention to local custom and devotion to social realism recall the work of John Sayles (Lone Star), his occasionally enervating style also recalls Sayles at his worst.
  21. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Mar 7, 2012
    63
    Watching the film, I felt impatience with these bullheaded men and the women who endure them. That's what Marston intended, I'm sure, but the stupidity of the characters doesn't provide much of an emotional payoff.
  22. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Feb 21, 2012
    60
    No matter how sincere, Marston's effort also suffers from the lack of a burning lead as he had in Maria's Catalina Sandino Moreno. Fierce acting is a virtue you don't have to travel the world to find - or to lose sight of.
  23. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Feb 23, 2012
    50
    Frustratingly, though, perhaps because he is an outsider and was concerned about appearing biased about another culture, about all that Mr. Marston does is chew on this clash, as if the repeated images of teenagers talking on cellphones next to a horse-drawn cart were a substitute for a strong filmmaking point of view.
  24. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Feb 17, 2012
    50
    The film wisely avoids giving its material a large-scale epic quality it can't sustain, but it also results in a project that lacks the complexity to register as more than a handsome little sketch.

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