User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 45
  2. Negative: 2 out of 45

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  1. Feb 24, 2013
    7
    An emotional powerhouse drama. Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster are stunning, and Samantha Morton and Jena Malone give solid supporting performances. Check it out!
  2. Mar 22, 2012
    8
    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
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  3. Mar 19, 2011
    1
    The movie started out pretty good, but about 15 minutes into it, descended straight into Absurdia. I am not a military man, but it is hard for me to imagine that notification officers would act like that. In addition, what is the appeal of yet another movie showing two guys who basically cannot handle life, and opt for the bottle ? It's old, it's boring, and nature itself selects these individuals for extinction, because no woman in her right mind would stay with them. The movie got that part right. I am in no way saying that war is not horrible, and that soldiers get traumatized, But as soon as you pop that beer, you are just one of the countless losers... Expand
  4. Nov 14, 2010
    7
    Without firing a single bullet or be shown horrific scenes of the battlefield, The Messenger shows the pain that comes with war through the eyes of those that stay behind... Credit to the cast that deliver a subtle but yet emotionally rich performances.
  5. Oct 10, 2010
    8
    La opera prima del guionista convertido en cineasta Moverman es un sólido melodrama viril en el que un héroe de guerra de Iraq, el sargento Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) es comisionado, en sus últimos tres meses de servicio, a fungir como pareja del veterano capitán Stone (Woody Harrelson, justicieramente nominado al Oscar), quien tiene la responsabilidad de tocar la puerta de los familiares de los caídos en combate para avisarles que su ser amado ha muerto. En su debut, Moverman demuestra que sabe a la perfección como manejar la cámara. Expand
  6. Sep 5, 2010
    8
    This movie will be a favorite to many because it has some sort of magical ability that other films based off war can't seem to muster -- heart. I felt satisfied after watching the Messenger because not only were the situations realistic, but the realism actually played a huge role in touching me for what might be the first time (in film) on personal levels.
  7. Aug 28, 2010
    9
    A superb war film with not a glimpse of actual warfare in it. The performances are all utterly compelling but what makes this movie great is the way director Oren Moverman slowly builds to big dramatic payoffs. In the small pantheon of modern warfare movies this stands tall.
  8. Aug 13, 2010
    9
    The Messenger is the second best Iraqi war movie of 2009, it's not as good as The Hurt Locker but still proves it's self among other war movies by being better. The best war movies I have seen that are worth to watch again and again are Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan and Platoon.. They were able to capture the essence and pathos of soldiers. There are many more that I would like to see. However there are not much Iraq war movies out there, until Kathryn Bigelow directed and release The Hurt Locker which won Best Picture and Best Director. Then came along another film that people ignore and it's worth a watch. The Messenger talks about grief, loneliness, pain and the transition to coexist in the real world. Our men in uniform call home the real world while the combat zone is hell. I personally experience my cousin who's like a brother to me went to Iraq and came back injured and the terrible time our family went through. He's all right now and finish with the Army. I love movies that deeply respect soldiers and doesn't succumb them into melodramatic plots and clich?ar stories or bloody violence. I'm talking to you Pearl Harbor and Windtalkers. Ben Foster who I compare to Anthony Mackie from The Hurt Locker who should have been nominated plays Staff Sgt. Will Montgomery. He just came back from Iraq after serious injuries. He's already despising the fact of everybody calling him a hero. He already has bad luck when his girlfriend leaves him for another guy. He has three months left on his enlistment and his commanding officer orders him to join the Army's Casualty Notification service. He's reluctant but is forced to join. Here he meets Capt. Tony Stone who is he's partner and training officer. The movie is power full when they go and notify the families of the fallen soldiers. There are gut wrenching scenes which are not to be taken lightly especially if you are family who has lost loved one in Iraq. There is a scene with the great actor Steve Buscemi that completely steals the scene and one of my favorite scenes of the movie. Then they notify Kelly played very well by Jena Malone who is now a single mother because of her husband dying. Strangely Will is attracted and intrigue by her. He helps her with things around the house and visits her and eats dinner with her and her son. This is something that he can't do and angers Tony, Will who feels everybody in the world doesn't understand him Kelly is a safe haven for him. She's needy and he's needy in his own way. The movie works as well because of the chemistry Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster has. They start off not liking each other but gradually getting along. Tony feels the up most respect towards Will because of his combat experience and at the same time jealousy because of his lack of combat. Will teaches Tony that the families are human then just names on a piece of paper. I feel the flaw of the film is that it loses its focus when the romance starts with Will and Kelly. There are good scenes between them, don't get me wrong but I feel the movie loses track and doesn't head into the right direction but it does pick it self up and finish very satisfying. The movie is thought full and very respectful towards its subject. The movie has no war violence whatsoever but Will's brutal description of the events will make you shudder. A very good movie and must be seen.

    Note: It's funny on my senior year I was going to join the Army and I was to be sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky and my MOS was going to be Calvary Scout. I was ready to go April 23, 2005, my mom got hit by a car and I couldn't go. My pregnant wife and mom begged me not go back again. I think to myself if I would have still join where would be now? Could I be somewhere around the world, or would my wife get that two neatly dressed service men on the door? This movie made me think that way. My prayers go to all our woman and men in uniform.
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Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew Male
    Jun 13, 2011
    60
    A worthy addition to the canon of Iraq war films, The Messenger has a gentle humanity that creeps under your skin. Look out for a terrific Harrelson turn, too.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Lowe
    80
    Moverman adopts a functional directing style that gives full rein to the actors' impressive performances.
  3. 90
    This is a fully felt, morally alert, marvellously acted piece of work. Despite the grim subject, it's a sweet-tempered movie, with moments of explosive humor-an entertainment.