Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    What Gibson gives us is a portrait of a man behaving gracefully under several kinds of pressure, some of it shamefully unfair. It's a solid acting achievement, and his directing, which never calls attention to itself, is right on the money, too. The Man Without a Face is an affecting evocation of a man of principle who teaches a boy what's important. [25 Aug 1993, p.53]
  2. It has a schlocky title and a rocky start, but then something happens - The Man Without a Face finds its rhythm and its grip, seizing the audience and propelling us straight through to the dewy climax. [25 Aug 1993, p.C2]
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Gibson has done a capable job of directing The Man Without a Face, showing little in the way of a personal style, but taking advantage of the skills brought to the project by his collaborators. [27 Aug 1993]
  4. Minor reservations aside, The Man Without a Face is a moving and substantial achievement. [25 Aug 1993, p.1]
  5. The best that can be said about Mr. Gibson as a director -- and this is no mean achievement -- is that it's often possible to forget he was the man behind the camera. Most of this film has a crisp, picturesque look and a believable manner.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Harrington
    In The Man Without a Face, Mel Gibson reminds us that he doesn't need one-liners and explosive special effects to warrant our attention. Gibson, as actor and first-time director, is not only self-assured in these dual roles, but he seems relieved to let the drama carry him, rather than the reverse. The result is a movie that's both heartwarming and heart-wrenching.
  7. 75
    Gibson, as director, doesn't give himself a soppy speech explaining why he doesn't say them. He lets us figure it out. That is the essence of the story and, we eventually realize, the essence of teaching, too.
  8. The Man Without a Face saves itself from sugary sweetness by presenting the friendship of McLeod and Chuck against a harsh small-town background. The screenplay takes off in some strong directions, while Gibson, in his first film as a director, keeps it honest all the way. [25 Aug 1993, p.E1]
  9. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Mel Gibson, directing for the first time, presents this deeply wet material in a reasonably cool and dry manner. But his film is in desperate need of smarm busting -- something, anything that would relieve the familiarity of its characters, the predictability of its structure, the bland failure to challenge its perfect correctness of outlook. [30 August 1993, p.63]
  10. The Man Without a Face is nothing if not respectable, and occasionally it is something more than that. [26 Aug 1993, p.A9]
  11. Gibson stages the movie episodically, as a series of quiet actors' moments; his direction is scrupulous, tasteful, and, I'm afraid, rather sodden. By the end, he wrings a tear or two, but more from the story's sentimental outline than from anything he does to fill it in.
  12. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    For all the humor, passion and decency Gibson invests in the film, The Man Without a Face doesn't add up to much more than a pretty reminder not to judge a book by its cover.
  13. 63
    The story is full of good feelings, but as one sits there it all seems so predictable that you can't help but ask the point of it all. [27 Aug 1993, p.C]
  14. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    The Man Without a Face marks a solidly crafted directorial debut for actor Mel Gibson, who approaches his melodramatic story with commendable restraint.
  15. 63
    To Gibson's credit, Face's essential hokiness doesn't sink in until later. Let's hope, though, the Mel Man has flushed this scarface stuff out of his system. [25 Aug 1993, p.3D]
  16. 50
    Those who love to cry at movies will doubtless get their money's worth from The Man Without a Face. Others, I imagine, will discover in this movie what I did: a curious mixture of scenes that work and situations that seem hopelessly contrived or overly-sentimental. I didn't hate the film, and after the jarring first half-hour, it kept my attention, but The Man Without a Face never strays far from familiar territory.
  17. The Man Without a Face also manages to be an expression of Gibson's well-known political and sexual conservatism. It goes to some lengths to pay homage to John Wayne (three times) while the anti-war left of the '60s is brutally caricatured as a bunch of effete snobs, and the women in this movie are just in the way. [25 Aug 1993, p.c1]
  18. Reviewed by: David Hepworth
    Mel Gibson miscasts himself in this fairly dull unoriginal movie.
  19. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Furiously intent on celebrating male love, Gibson and company try to refuse the erotics of friendship and miserably, wonderously fail. [[31 Aug 1993]
  20. Usually, I am not so persnickety about such things, especially with first-timers, but the accumulation of mis-matched shots is so great that you have to wonder why some of the more experienced crew members weren't climbing the rafters to say “Whoa, Mel.”
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Jul 13, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Man Without A Face is a great drama directed by Mel Gibson. Gibson also stars in the movie. He lives isolated in a cabin outside of the town. He starts tutoring a young boy but he doesn't get permission from his parents. The child doesn't know about the accident, and other secrets come out. Overall this is a very smart drama with great acting from Mel Gibson and Nick Stahl. Full Review »
  2. Nov 28, 2010
    Mel Gibson is a COMPLETE BADASS and I don't give a **** WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT HIM. REMEMBER THE AXES IN THE PATRIOT? REMEMBER THOSE? HOLY. **** also in brave heart, MORE AXES? AND BROAD SWORDS? CLEARLY every thing Mel Gibson touches is A ****ING MASTERPIECE. Full Review »
  3. KieranF.
    Dec 7, 2008
    No more then a TV-movie.