Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 43
  2. Negative: 1 out of 43
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Feb 5, 2014
    60
    It comes down to a matter of tone, and Clooney can’t really settle on one. The Monuments Men is in no way a bad movie. Just, with this bunch, a disappointing one.
  2. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    Feb 5, 2014
    50
    Ultimately, however, this film is a collection of vignettes in search of a narrative center. Although it’s enjoyable, the film never coheres into a whole. Instead, it resembles a pile of ill-fitting jigsaw-puzzle pieces rather than a fully formed picture.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 6, 2014
    50
    It’s a great story, and much of it’s true. This should work like a pip. Instead, The Monuments Men is a tonal mishmash: Half “Hogan’s Post-Doctoral Heroes,” half “Saving Private Rembrandt,” and half “Ingres’s 11.” That’s three halves, so you can see the problem.
  4. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Feb 6, 2014
    75
    If you’re worried that the re-teaming of Clooney and Cate Blanchett in a World War II movie signals something like “The Good German,” fear not: She’s better here, playing a French art historian who worries the Americans will “rescue” the art in order to steal it for their own country.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Feb 4, 2014
    75
    This is a solid albeit slow-building film with few dull moments.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 5, 2014
    50
    Clooney's attempt to honor unsung real-life heroes while recapturing the ensemble pleasures of some well-remembered Hollywood war pictures, notably "The Great Escape" and "The Guns of Navarone," comes off as a modestly accomplished forgery at best.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 7, 2014
    42
    It’s like an over-the-hill gang variant on “The Dirty Dozen,” except not as much fun as that sounds.
  8. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Feb 5, 2014
    42
    The Monuments Men sounds like a what's-not-to-like? movie, but it turns out to be a bizarre failure.
  9. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Feb 7, 2014
    59
    Monuments certainly isn’t unbearable to watch, but for all its quality pedigree and good intentions, the result is a frustratingly flat film that drifts from moment to moment with a curious lack of urgency and an overbearing sense of self-importance.
  10. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Feb 4, 2014
    58
    Smothered by its lighthearted approach, The Monuments Men attempts to make a grand statement about the valiance of dying for the sake of art, but fails to create it.
  11. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Feb 6, 2014
    40
    It can't decide what kind of a film it wants to be and so ends up failing across a fairly wide spectrum.
  12. 63
    Clooney, for the first time in his directing career (“Good Night, and Good Luck,” “The Ides of March”) never finds the sweet spot, and never quite wrestled the script into a shape entertaining enough to make the liberties he and Heslov took with the facts worth it.
  13. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Feb 6, 2014
    50
    In The Monuments Men, director George Clooney takes a wild, stranger-than-fiction true story and turns it into a dull, prestigious slog.
  14. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Feb 7, 2014
    40
    All aspects of this great story are drawn toward the middle ground of mediocrity.
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Feb 6, 2014
    60
    There’s great repartee between its cast of this “based on a true [but forgotten] story” of World War II. Yet the film overall isn’t colorful enough.
  16. 70
    It’s a graceful, engaging film — I enjoyed it. But it could have been called "The Tasteful Dozen."
  17. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Feb 5, 2014
    88
    This is their story. It is true. It is history. As a film, it is riveting, suspenseful, harrowing and exciting, and somehow, it also manages to be something rare among war pictures—a big-scale entertainment.
  18. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Feb 6, 2014
    75
    Except possibly for a superlative supporting performance by Hugh Bonneville of “Downton Abbey,’’ Clooney’s low-key directorial effort is not quite an Oscar-caliber movie, though it’s got a great cast, a worthy theme and plenty of things to reward adult moviegoers.
  19. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Feb 7, 2014
    40
    There's lots of information, some nice images, plenty of earnest sermonizing about culture and almost no suspense, or tension, or character development, or structure. Or, well, art.
  20. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 7, 2014
    50
    Alas, it's a throwback that's thrown its back out - limping along, trailed by battalions of stereotypes and ammo rounds of cliche.
  21. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Feb 6, 2014
    42
    The story of the rescue of these priceless artifacts is absolutely worthy of as much attention as Hollywood can provide. But by the final, self-congratulatory, groan-inducing scene, it's more than clear that this telling of it is a monumental mess.
  22. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Feb 8, 2014
    63
    Certainly, the story told by The Monuments Men is worth telling and it's easy to see why a luminary like Clooney would be sufficiently attracted to want to direct it. Unfortunately, this treatment, written by Clooney and long-time collaborator Grant Heslov, isn't the best fit.
  23. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Feb 7, 2014
    63
    Heart alone does not a good film make.
  24. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 31, 2014
    75
    Who knew? The work of the Monuments Men is fresh territory for film, and Clooney builds the story with intriguing detail and scope.
  25. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 6, 2014
    75
    The film depicts a treasure hunt, only in the sense that the movie has to have a running story. But it doesn't really trade on suspense or adventure, and in the few places Clooney pushes it that way, it doesn't feel right.
  26. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Feb 6, 2014
    50
    George Clooney's film boils a big, messy maelstrom of theft and uncertainty down to a digestible, faintly appetizing mush.
  27. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Feb 6, 2014
    63
    It’s admirable, but Monuments Men just poses on a porous foundation like a statue.
  28. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Feb 6, 2014
    58
    Mostly it's hamstrung by an abundance of reverence and dialogue sounding like an art studies syllabus when it isn't rehashing war movie tropes.
  29. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Feb 5, 2014
    50
    The Monuments Men feels not just self-conscious but also a bit self-congratulatory, its creator squashing the spirit of adventure with too many grandiose lines about the Importance Of Art.
  30. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Feb 6, 2014
    40
    While the film is often playful, it never attempts to be particularly funny, perhaps out of a fear that too much levity in a World War II-themed movie would be in poor taste. Instead, it loads on great quantities of tacky crowd-pleasing moments and clichés.
  31. 50
    By the film’s end, one can’t help thinking that the story would be better served by a well-researched documentary on the real-life MFAA division (monuments, fine arts and archives.)
  32. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 29, 2014
    50
    Something less than monumental, The Monuments Men wears its noble purpose on its sleeve when either greater grit or more irreverence could have put the same tale across to modern audiences with more punch and no loss of import.
  33. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Feb 6, 2014
    50
    It can be nice to spend time with these actors even when you don’t believe their characters for a single second, and there’s no denying this movie’s easy pleasures... Yet because Mr. Clooney can’t figure out what kind of story this is, he too often slips into pandering mode.
  34. Reviewed by: Drew Taylor
    Jan 29, 2014
    67
    Turns out it was even trickier than originally imagined and that for all of its best efforts, The Monuments Men remains an unwieldy, overtly sentimental (but still emotionally distant) epic.
  35. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Feb 18, 2014
    40
    The problem isn't a lack of weight, but of lightness. It's stuck with lead feet for a historical caper and serves no other worthwhile purpose.
  36. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Feb 6, 2014
    70
    Rather than juicing each element to blockbuster volume, Clooney has delivered it in the tone of a memorial lecture, warm and ambling, given by one of the distinguished academics he put in his movie.
  37. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jan 29, 2014
    60
    Clooney occasionally shows a surer hand: He gets great work from Downton Abbey’s Bonneville — notably in an emotionally charged scene revolving around Michelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges — and has a fine monologue himself, in which Stokes dresses down a high-ranking German commander (a moving encapsulation of the American spirit at its best).
  38. Reviewed by: Paul Bradshaw
    Feb 18, 2014
    40
    An amazing story and an amazing cast don’t always make an amazing film. Too light for drama, not funny enough for comedy; it’s unlikely anyone will ever risk their lives for this.
  39. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Feb 6, 2014
    50
    Genial and well-intentioned, but tepid.
  40. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Jan 29, 2014
    30
    Clooney has transformed a fascinating true-life tale into an exceedingly dull and dreary caper pic cum art-appreciation seminar — a museum-piece movie about museum people.
  41. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 4, 2014
    70
    The Monuments Men fails in its grand ambitions, but it's still satisfying in bits and pieces, like a busted statue. Even a tribute made of shining fragments counts for something.
  42. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Feb 6, 2014
    40
    The movie's tone is at war with its subject, and sometimes with its wavering self.
  43. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Feb 7, 2014
    63
    The Monuments Men often lets the schematic gears show, succumbing to threadbare formula and sentimental cliches rather than taut, sophisticated drama.
User Score
5.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 166 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 70
  2. Negative: 14 out of 70
  1. Feb 7, 2014
    4
    Ultimately, The Monuments Men needed to have as much narrative focus and dimension as it does reverence for its subject matter. Director George Clooney's star-studded WWII pic The Monuments Men feels like a work-in-progress rather than a finished and focused feature film. Full Review »
  2. Feb 7, 2014
    6
    This was obviously going to be a tough movie to make from such an excellent book. Go in with modest expectations, and you'll enjoy it. It feels like a companion piece to such other great works as Band of Brothers and Schindler's List. Even though there are only a handful of truly interesting scenes, if you appreciate fine art and the cultural ramifications of war, you'll enjoy this film. If you're an amateur film critic, there's a ton to pick apart here. so just know that and know that this is not an award-worthy flick. None of the actors truly shines and the writing is tepid, but I still had good feelings leaving the theater. Full Review »
  3. Mar 25, 2014
    5
    It has nice aspiration and strong cast, but the script just isn't up to par. A bit resembling Ocean franchise, George Clooney assembles a squad of intelligent men, not to steal valuable goods, but to preserve artworks from being destroyed at World War II. Contrary to usual war theme movie, The Monuments Men takes a lighter, more humorous view of the brotherhood and their cause. It works moderately in its own way with the interesting concept, although uneven pace, shallow screenplay and feeble dialogue confine the movie in mediocrity.

    The story takes place in dusk of World War II, just as German was about to be defeated by Allied forces. Since the Nazi has confiscated a large amount of art from its occupation time, not to mention the war's toll on many other unprotected objects, Franks Stoke (George Clooney) inspires to save as many historic legacies as he can. The unit he established consists of museum curators, architects and historians, a very unorthodox squad by any means. In the casualty heavy struggle, their cause may seem trivial, and the movie tries to present this angle even though it may not rise in its fullest.

    Cast is composed of famous line up, such as Matt Damon, Jean Dujardin, Cate Blanchett and more. Each contributes in their own way as one only has a couple of fervid scenes. Cate Blanchett delivers the most somber role of the somewhat light-hearted movie, she displays a cynical unyielding will and probably would fit in more intense direction. Bill Murray and John Goodman as veterans give a comedic side as they're aware they might not be soldier material, but they offer vivid reaction when faced with mortality. Jean Dujardin in the few scenes he's in manages to be suave and persistently spirited.

    The most unfortunate thing is the screenplay doesn't allow the talented cast to reach their best potential. Dialogues sound tedious, stiff and frankly inauthentic. Pacing is monotonous, the unit splits into different teams and it's meant as an effort across the war torn Europe, but it never manages to create an intertwined flow. The pace feels fragmented as there's barely any consistency to string everything together. Its dramatic moments mostly seem dull and humor is unsuccessful at times.

    There are some good scenes here, although they are brief and numbered in only a few stretched across the two hours movie. Ironically, the above average length can't form a compellingly structured plot because the content is sparsely divided the many characters. More than half of the movie is spent on comedy, sadly the jokes are stale, and they don't amount to much laughter or enjoyment. Aside from these short-lived moments of fascination, the movie is mundane.

    The Monuments Men is based on cultural achievement, a good intention by George Clooney and it's presented in easily accessible fashion. However, the pace, direction and screenplay are subpar, making the movie muddled and far less inspiring than it could have been.
    Full Review »