The Majestic


Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 30
  2. Negative: 17 out of 30

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Critic Reviews

  1. 88
    It tells a full story with three acts, it introduces characters we get to know and care about, and it has something it passionately wants to say.
  2. Marks a surprising maturity, restraint and confidence to Carrey's acting. Even more than "The Truman Show," he plays it perfectly straight here, and his natural charisma carries the movie with just the right dose of Jimmy Stewart charm.
  3. 80
    For those who appreciate movies that capture almost every emotion -- from laughter to tears, suspense to tranquillity -- The Majestic was made for you.
  4. Channels the spirit of Frank Capra in this serio-sentimental fable about a man who loses his memory but finds his soul.
  5. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    A real sentimental journey -- and luckily they've got both the right director (Darabont) and the right actor to squeeze our heartstrings.
  6. Maybe this well-loved Luke is who his neighbors want him to be, a good fellow who, with his father, reopens the old movie house in town -- the Majestic -- thus allowing his neighbors to dream in the dark again.
  7. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    A sweet, visually handsome sermon, but it's too dramatically bland to convert even the converted.
  8. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    A pale imitation that challenges credulity and tries too hard to win our hearts with schmaltz.
  9. Darabont and Sloane stumble consistently and fall into the abyss.
  10. If only I liked The Majestic half as much as I liked Carrey in it.
  11. That Carrey, who's a bit old for the part, always seems one facial muscle away from a smirk doesn't help matters.
  12. Has sentimental goo oozing from its opening frame, and the gunk gets so thick so fast, it's a wonder the projector doesn't freeze before the molasses-strapped finale.
  13. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The story has to carry way too much weight, as war remorse battles McCarthyism. The Majestic's makers don't get what made Capra movies invigorating.
  14. 38
    Might have been more successful if Darabont and his pal had attempted a Preston Sturges-like farce. Instead, it's played totally without any kind of edge - a fantasy that makes "The Lord of the Rings" look realistic by comparison.
  15. It's too manufactured and deliberate to be persuasive.
  16. 30
    The most indolent waste of screen time since Andy Warhol's marathon shot of the Empire State Building.
  17. 25
    The indisputably gifted Jim Carrey shows the side of him that just wants to be loved - the Riddler on Ritalin, the Mask unmasked. And it turns out to be stultifying.
  18. The film tries to revive the sort of good-hearted optimism associated with Frank Capra classics of the 1940s era, but pictures like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" were never so simplistic, syrupy, or tedious to sit through.
  19. Miami Herald
    Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Winds up suffocating you with its aura of bogus, store-bought nostalgia.
  20. The Majestic isn't. Rather it's "The Film That Wasn't There," a derivative, self-satisfied fable that couldn't be more treacly and simple-minded if it tried. And it tries, oh, how it tries.
  21. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    I staggered out of this shameless, interminable movie feeling as if I'd been force-fed a ton of mealy, artificially sweetened baby food.
  22. 20
    A mishmash of life-insurance commercials and Ronald Reagan campaign spots, this sexless orgy of self-congratulation is designed to make you feel good about Hollywood, America, and Jim Carrey -- not to mention the nation's motion picture exhibitors, who are praised at one point as the antithesis of Soviet Communism.
  23. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A thick slice of bogus inspirational cheese that only makes itself look bad by recycling so many golden movie memories.
  24. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: David Denby
    Carrey, unable to pretzel himself in this role, has to do a normal job of characterization, but he never fills in the blank spaces in Peter Appleton. [28 Jan 2002, p. 90]
  25. When nostalgia, hypocrisy, and indifference to history converge in the kind of shameless Capracorn manufactured here, one can either be stupefied by the filmmakers' cynicism or fall for the package hook, line, and sinker.
  26. It can't fake sincerity. It tries ever so hard, but it doesn't have a single believable second. Every word in it is a lie.
  27. 10
    May just be the most boring movie ever made; certainly it's the most boring movie I've suffered through to the bitter end.
  28. 10
    Indeed, the best that can be said about The Majestic is that it may boost Capra's reputation by virtue of comparison. Apparently, it's not so easy to weave that kind of magic.
  29. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    The worst would-be-big-and-Capraesque-but-actually-bloated-and-bloviating-beyond-belief movie of the year.
  30. 10
    One of those movies that makes you feel as if the national IQ was dropping while you're watching it. It's the return of all the homiletic clichés about an America that never existed.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 56 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 19
  2. Negative: 3 out of 19
  1. Jun 15, 2013
    Jim Carrey is one of those comedian/actors who's had more than his share of potential overlooked movies. Whether it's his first commercialJim Carrey is one of those comedian/actors who's had more than his share of potential overlooked movies. Whether it's his first commercial failure, the underrated The Cable Guy, or his excellent turn as Andy Kaufman in Milos Forman's Man On the Moon, it seems like most of Carrey's best movies (with the exception maybe of The Truman Show) are his least appreciated. But, let's face it Man on the Moon received lots of critical praise and even some award nominations when it came out, and Cable Guy certainly has its cult of defenders. But perhaps his best-least-appreciated movie is is Frank Darabont's 2001 homage to Frank Capra, The Majestic. Carrey stars as Peter Appleton, a Hollywood screenwriter who is blacklisted during the 1950s communist witch hunt. After an accident gives him a wicked case of amnesia, Peter winds up in the small town of Lawson, where he is mistaken for another man Luke Trimble, a local hero who was believed to have been killed in WWII. And Peter, not knowing any better, assumes he must be Luke, too. Together with his "father" (Martin Landau), Peter/Luke begins restoring The Majestic movie theater that had been closed down for years. won't get into what happens from there, because it would ruin several of the movie's surprises. But I will say that The Majestic has gotten a bad rap. Maybe audiences were expecting something else from director Darabont, who was coming off The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Maybe the movie lacked a certain cynicism that many people require to distance themselves from having a sincere emotional response to a movie. Maybe it wasn't funny enough (it's not a comedy) or "edgy" enough for Carrey's two audiences. Whatever the reason, the movie never really found an audience. I rather like it, though and I'm not a person who automatically responds to something being called "Capra-esque." Here, I think the description works (clearly, that's what Darabont was going for). But the movie's got more on its mind; it's a tribute to old Hollywood, and a minor history lesson about a pretty scary time in America. Despite his penchant for overselling a moment (a trait especially apparent in his comedies), Carrey makes a likable everyman he's not afraid to be totally sincere and throw his heart into the role. The failure of The Majestic meant that Darabont who is awesome, by the way wouldn't make another movie until 2007. When he did, he went back to adapting Stephen King (The Majestic remains his only non-King-affiliated film) and made damn sure the movie had plenty of cynicism. That movie was The Mist, which was equally overlooked and, in many ways, kind of the anti-Majestic. Audiences rejected that, too. I guess both films were missing the one thing audiences really want: Morgan Freeman narration. Full Review »
  2. Mar 19, 2015
    I'd never heard of this movie but noticed it on a list of flops; it's actually a very entertaining film. There are nowhere near enough filmsI'd never heard of this movie but noticed it on a list of flops; it's actually a very entertaining film. There are nowhere near enough films made about the shameful McCarthy witch hunts (Amerika just can't admit it's wrong, can it?) and while this is no "The Front", it's engaging enough Full Review »
  3. Feb 13, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I found this movie to be cheesy but nonentheless, still touching. I actually cried at the scene when the "father" passed away I feel that Jim Carrey's face can be a bit too comical sometimes but overall, I liked the show.. I saw it on HBO the other night. Full Review »