Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. 25
    The similar Kevin Bacon HBO movie "Taking Chance" got there first. Worse news: The earlier movie was sober, meticulous and quietly convincing, not a shouty, shoddy bore like this piece of flummery.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Jul 18, 2014
    A very emotional film, The Messenger is certainly a must watch as it really manages to touch you in many ways and feels entirely heartfelt. On top of that, it sports a fantastic performance from Ben Foster, as well as Woody Harrelson. Both of them really steal the show and sweep you off you feet as you entirely believe they are both heavily damaged men dealing with their own demons. On the surface, The Messenger is a film about an injured war veteran (Foster) being assigned to casualty notification duty with a hard as nails Captain (Harrelson). However, it is truly about their relationship and themselves as individuals as they learn more about one another and the other sees what troubles them. It is a very well done character study that is entirely moving in its subject matter and the way it handles this subject matter. The Messenger feels like a small film at times, but at others, it feels entirely grand and is very well done. Now, it is not a great film, but it is undeniably a damn good one and makes for a tough watch. Full Review »
  2. Feb 24, 2013
    An emotional powerhouse drama. Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster are stunning, and Samantha Morton and Jena Malone give solid supporting performances. Check it out! Full Review »
  3. Mar 22, 2012
    Even securing Hollywood veteran Woody Harrelson his second Oscar nomination, the film has eluded me until now, and a long overdue viewing proves it is an overlooked gem on the recent war-trauma film list. The breakthrough effort of the film is its one-of-a-kind perspective, with zero scenes from the violent frontline (including the usual gambit of fly-on-the-wall clips), the modus operandi aims at the ominous casualty notification soldiers and one theatrical oomph originates from the various poignant reactions from the next-of-kins of dead soldiers in Iraq when they are being notified, a faintly tricky scheme to gain the empathy towards both the film and its main characters, which is a laudable feat and very operative due to a splendid cast and unostentatious script (the formality of notification is swell written).

    Budding as one of the versatile young actors in Hollywood, Ben Foster excels in his not-so-frequent leading role as an ostensible war-hero plagued by a hidden secret, typifies ideally a post-war anguish-tortured individual. Foster generates a magnificent screen chemistry both with his tutor-cum-friend Woody Harrelson (a well-developed supporting role as Fosterâ
    Full Review »