Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Feb 3, 2011
    90
    Chomet's defiantly two-dimensional artwork is warm, inviting, beautiful, establishing immediately a comfort level, at least for audiences of, ahem, a certain age.
  2. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Feb 10, 2011
    89
    Absolutely mandatory viewing for aspiring animators and filmmakers. (In terms of pacing, scoring, editing, and narrative, it's a film school unto itself.) For the rest of us, however, it's simply magic.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jan 27, 2011
    100
    A handcrafted jewel of a movie, The Illusionist understands the illusions that sustain us in youth and that we have to let slip in the end. It's the rare work of art that cherishes both the magic and the trick.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
    Dec 17, 2010
    80
    For all lovers of old style animation it should build up the same cultish following as "Triplets."
  5. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Feb 10, 2011
    63
    He (Chomet) keeps us waiting for a narrative payoff that will equal that visual splendor, and he makes us think that many small inspired touches will add up to something memorable. But when he opens his hand at last, there's nothing in it.
  6. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Jan 13, 2011
    80
    The dialogue is multilingual but largely incidental to the action; the physical comedy is gracefully rendered and often magical.
  7. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jan 12, 2011
    100
    However much it conceals the real-life events that inspired it, it lives and breathes on its own, and as an extension of the mysterious whimsy of Tati.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 13, 2011
    88
    Chomet himself has written the gentle waltz theme and other music. The piece glides by, effortlessly.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 21, 2010
    100
    A breathtakingly beautiful achievement in every way.
  10. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Dec 20, 2010
    91
    The many fans of the uniquely droll 2003 animation Oscar nominee "The Triplets of Belleville" will recognize the inventive hand-drawn sensibilities of French filmmaker Sylvain Chomet in his loving and lovely new feature The Illusionist.
  11. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 24, 2010
    90
    There is something magical about The Illusionist's world, and that's as it should be.
  12. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Feb 10, 2011
    63
    The movie's second half, which grows progressively sadder, also starts to feel a bit repetitive.
  13. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 21, 2010
    60
    The animation itself is technically gorgeous, a class act all the way. But there's so little to be found in the faces of the characters, or even in the way their limbs move (much of it adopted, cleverly enough, from Tati's own physical style), that it's not clear what we're supposed to feel for them.
  14. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Feb 25, 2011
    63
    A beautifully uncomplicated story, really -- about the love between daddies and their little girls.
  15. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 25, 2010
    80
    If this lovely tribute sends viewers in search of the real thing, that would be a neat trick indeed.
  16. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Dec 20, 2010
    100
    A true masterpiece of visual enchantment. One of the most original and unique geniuses in cinema today, Mr. Chomet directed, wrote, illustrated and composed the music for this holiday jewel, an homage to the sweet, sad melancholia of the legendary French comic Jacques Tati.
  17. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 25, 2010
    50
    Since this low-grade comedy doesn't really even attempt to be funny, the purpose of the movie is to establish (or reinforce) a feeling of luxurious old-timey melancholy.
  18. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Feb 9, 2011
    75
    Like Tati himself, The Illusionist feels like a relic of a different time.
  19. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 20, 2011
    100
    Gorgeous, and full of bittersweet whimsy.
  20. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Jan 27, 2011
    91
    Simple enough for children, deep enough for adults, clever enough for cynics.
  21. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Jan 14, 2011
    100
    This is a remarkable movie: lovely, slow-paced and almost silent, rich with pathos and deft comic gestures.
  22. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jan 28, 2011
    88
    The Illusionist has surprises up its sleeve that are unusually nuanced for an animated movie.
  23. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Feb 9, 2011
    100
    The soundtrack is a small marvel of music hall tunes and dialogue that is mostly garbled, allowing expressions and body language to be interpreted.
  24. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Dec 25, 2010
    91
    The result is one beautiful movie-and no less so for making a strong case that beauty is a lie.
  25. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Jan 21, 2011
    75
    Though something less than a masterpiece, The Illusionist is a rare animated film of fleeting charms rather than loud noises, aimed more at wistful adults than thrill-hungry kids.
  26. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Dec 25, 2010
    70
    The Illusionist is both a modest homage to its writer and a melancholy look at a lost world.
  27. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 25, 2010
    70
    I wish I found The Illusionist as pleasing to sit through (twice) as to write about. I'm glad there's a "new" "Tati" film to add to his small, important body of work, yet I wish that the creator of "The Triplets of Belleville" had made a true Chomet film instead. I'll be waiting for that, with a hope to be found nowhere in this handsome, airless movie.
  28. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Dec 22, 2010
    80
    Chomet builds this beguiling symphony of sadness to a poignant finale that does ample justice to the many layers of Tati's tale, both in text and out.
  29. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Dec 23, 2010
    80
    For its 80 minutes, the movie creates the illusion that not just Tati but his form of cerebral slapstick lives.
  30. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 23, 2010
    100
    Exquisite images, poignant humor, echoes of cinema history and a sense of having watched genuine magic.
  31. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Feb 4, 2011
    75
    It's enough to make you laugh if you didn't feel like crying.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 47 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Jan 14, 2012
    10
    The Illusionist is one of the best animated movies of all times. Is unbelievable the levels of emotion that can reach this movie with little dialogue, sad colors and simple characters. The protagonist is a failed magician trying to survive in a Europe that has no time for that kind of entertainment and where is not possible to dream. But one day, he meets a girl who believes that his magic tricks are real. That girl represents our childhood, but everyone must grow up and be mature enough to accept the reality. On the other hand, the illusionist recreates the figure of Jacques Tati and represents a lost concept by cinematography, the dignity of the loser; if things dont work out, find another way of living or simply walk away.
    In this movie are noticeable the same ideas that treat Sylvain Chomet in The Triplets of Belleville: poor environments with no possibility of dreaming, failure of the show business and a life where is not escape from reality, no matter how cruel or dream destroyer could be.
    This film is beautiful, charming and it will touch you heart, because everyone like their childhood, but this movie is a slap on the face that brings you to the adults world.
    Full Review »
  2. Nov 16, 2013
    10
    The perception of ANIMATION has tainted most of the reviews. To tell a story is unique, and not limited to the perception of the viewer or the storyteller. To truley reach the audience one must simply present content, therin lies the connection we all comment on, negative or positive, we talk. Full Review »
  3. May 31, 2013
    10
    It's an interesting film, very unique, and there aren't many like it. It has that Disney-esque type magic to it without being made by Disney or Pixar. Its a truly beautiful movie. It truly did deserve a nomination for best picture of 2010, it was amazing! I just cannot express how much I loved it. It had great emotional timing, it was extremely entertaining, its beautiful, charming, heartfelt, classic, stunning, touching, unique, interesting, and just amazing! I recommend it to all people, not just kids, but adults, you will like it too! Full Review »