The Monuments Men

User Score
5.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 207 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 207
  2. Negative: 46 out of 207

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User Reviews

  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.
  2. 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 worksIt 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.
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  3. Feb 27, 2014
    5
    I can't bring myself to say this is a bad film because there are some genuinely entertaining and heart warming moments but by the same token I can't say it's particularly good either. The whole thing feels very disjointed, jumping around from one place to the next with the tone being equally sporadic. Several times within the space of a minute we're taken from a light hearted, slightlyI can't bring myself to say this is a bad film because there are some genuinely entertaining and heart warming moments but by the same token I can't say it's particularly good either. The whole thing feels very disjointed, jumping around from one place to the next with the tone being equally sporadic. Several times within the space of a minute we're taken from a light hearted, slightly comedic feel straight to a darker melancholy scene and then back to the happier atmosphere just as quick.
    I can't fault the actors, John Goodman in particular puts in an impressive performance but we're never told that much about the characters history, how they all seem to know each other before the events of the film or why none of them seem to object to putting their lives on hold to jump head first into a war zone just because George Clooney said they had to.
    I give this film a 5 because about half of it is really good. Had they taken 50% of the footage from this film and got a better writer and director to fill in the blanks then it could have been much better. As it stands there are a lot of good ideas being poorly executed.
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  4. Feb 7, 2014
    5
    ‘The Monuments Men’ is the type of ‘Hollywood movie’ that they don’t make anymore--for good reason. The film depends strictly on the charms of the actors which are many, there are no surprises and you are usually a couple of steps ahead of the screenwriters George Clooney and Grant Heslov, which is based on a true story, and director George Clooney does bring one or two new shots to the‘The Monuments Men’ is the type of ‘Hollywood movie’ that they don’t make anymore--for good reason. The film depends strictly on the charms of the actors which are many, there are no surprises and you are usually a couple of steps ahead of the screenwriters George Clooney and Grant Heslov, which is based on a true story, and director George Clooney does bring one or two new shots to the screen Along with this the star George Clooney does one too many voiceovers. Would anyone be surprised to hear that George Clooney also produced this movie along with Grant Heslov?

    In my opinion if anyone has starred, co-wrote, co-produced and directed a film I would say it was exhibitionism but this is George Clooney, a good actor when need be and has proven himself as an director and has produced winners previously.

    The film is about a group of men who get together to recapture an unaccountable amount of art stolen by the Nazis during WW2 and then was threatened to be confiscated by the Russian army. The 8 men are, of course, a rag-tag team but each is brilliant in their own way. Frank Stokes (George Clooney) is a art historian who convinces President FDR to allocate money to get the stolen art and return it to the original owners. James Granger (Matt Damon) is the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art while Walter Garfield (John Goodman) is a sculptor. The other 5 men are French art dealer Jean Claude Clemont (Jean Dujardin), Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville) an art expert, Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas) a German Jew who Stokes enlists to be their driver and translator along with Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban) and Richard Cambell (Bill Murray) as an architect. Along the way Granger connects--no, not that way! Not that she didn’t want to!--with Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett) who is a Parisian and was in a position to keep meticulous records of where all the art works were sent by Hitler, for a future Fuhrer museum, and Goering who took them for his own collection.

    There are no spoilers because whatever happens you have seen before. Would it really surprise you that someone (won’t say who as that might be a spoiler until 15 minutes into the movie) finds the piece of art they are searching for? The only big surprise and possible SPOILER is that Granger turns down Simone when an advance is made. How do you turn down baby faced, dimpled, gosh, gee Matt Damon?!

    The musical score by Alexandre Desplat would make any of the older Hollywood scorers proud with its pounding, ‘pay attention to what’s happening on screen’ score.

    ‘The Monuments Men’ is a movie for the fans of the actors, for those who remember how ‘they use to be made’ and for those who want to see what the old folks are talking about.
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  5. MCS
    Feb 8, 2014
    5
    This is a movie that could have been great, were it not for the script, which was dumbed down to the 6th grade level. The story is such a great one, and I anticipated a story line with more depth and history than cliche dialogue. Here are some of the missing elements which I believe could have made it better: 1. more on who owned the art originally and how it was stolen, 2. more about howThis is a movie that could have been great, were it not for the script, which was dumbed down to the 6th grade level. The story is such a great one, and I anticipated a story line with more depth and history than cliche dialogue. Here are some of the missing elements which I believe could have made it better: 1. more on who owned the art originally and how it was stolen, 2. more about how the Nazis moved the art, 3. how did it get back to its owners and if there were no owners alive, what happened to it, 4. how did Cate Blanchett's character get involved, and 5. what art was lost and never retrieved. The musical score was a little strange, more like Hogan's Heroes at inappropriate time. What a disappointment. I will read the book for the details and history. Expand
  6. Feb 19, 2014
    5
    Lack of focus and actual character depth are what really bring this movie down. The plot isn't taken seriously enough and feels like it could turn into a comedy about bumbling old men in a war, and the actors do nothing to alleviate the boring script and character development. It's a shame that such an interesting topic got such a lackluster treatment.
  7. Feb 9, 2014
    5
    "The Monuments Men" is a bad title- they should've called it "World War II Fluff". The movie is jovial in a bad way as it features a cheery soundtrack when the men drive into war zones, training barracks, etc. I also can't figure out whether it was a comedy or a drama. The plot was already a rarely visited angle to the war, and a risky one at best. Acting was okay, and the film was"The Monuments Men" is a bad title- they should've called it "World War II Fluff". The movie is jovial in a bad way as it features a cheery soundtrack when the men drive into war zones, training barracks, etc. I also can't figure out whether it was a comedy or a drama. The plot was already a rarely visited angle to the war, and a risky one at best. Acting was okay, and the film was marginal, but the flaws can't be overlooked. Expand
  8. Feb 18, 2014
    6
    I feel obliged to start off by saying that the movie being booed and critically panned at the Berlin Film Festival was wrong and completely unjustified. The Monuments Men is based on a true story just like most of the dramatic movies which have been released over the past 6 months (American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street). Despite many criticsI feel obliged to start off by saying that the movie being booed and critically panned at the Berlin Film Festival was wrong and completely unjustified. The Monuments Men is based on a true story just like most of the dramatic movies which have been released over the past 6 months (American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street). Despite many critics commenting on the poor acting quality I though all of the performances were decent, nothing special, surprisingly Cate Blanchett is the weakest and forever trying to make her accent just a little bit more realistic but fails. The least well known member of the almost ensemble Bob Balaban is by far the best but not on one of the posters for the movie at all, probably because he is not well known so the advertising campaign will do better. Again in contrast to what the critics have been saying the plot of The Monuments Men is compelling and believable (probably because it is true). What impressed me the most though was the dazzling cinematography and brilliant sets which were so realistic I can't believe they weren't filmed on location. However you may be wondering why I haven't said anything bad but I have given the movie a pretty low score. The problem is that quite a few minor things are cliched. Lots of minor things to be honest. Just some of these are the hammy dialogue, the cliched Great Escape like soundtrack (a very rare thing) and the period costumes which I really doubt were not what they actually wore, having read sections of the book I can assure they are not even close. Another thing was the stilted attempts at humor in serious situations which took away from the atmosphere, created quite well especially in the death scenes may I add, and I didn't usually laugh at. But the most annoying flaw about The Monuments Men was how Clooney felt the need to do the way too obvious "not showing the Presidents face" gimmick, which always irritates me because it just feels pointless. While it didn't offend me or ruin the true story in any way, my enjoyment of The Monuments Men was severely affected by many minor problems which added up to one big problem. I didn't hate it and it wasn't terrible, but I doubt I will bother watching it Expand
  9. Feb 9, 2014
    4
    This movie failed, and it was supposed to be awesome! Unfortunately this noble idea wasn't realized well, the script is just bad, no proper characterization, no reason to see this one!
  10. Feb 16, 2014
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It does not explore the depths its talented cast and crew are capable of, and its relatively lightweight script is at odds with its heavy subject matter, never quite exploring the depths it could. Nonetheless, "The Monuments Men" still manages to be an entertaining war caper, particularly due to its nimble pace and the reliably good performances of its cast, particularly from Cate Blanchett, Hugh Bonneville and George Clooney. Not a great film, but not a bad one either. Expand
  11. Mar 31, 2014
    5
    Despite the poor reviews I gave it a shot, due to the talent involved. However, it was quite a letdown. Generally flat and uninteresting performances, dull pacing, and a plot that doesn't make you feel invested at all. Not recommended.
  12. Mar 31, 2014
    4
    This movie was so painfully lame. It could have had something. The cast is phenomenal. But the characters they play? Eh, not so much. Bill Murray shows some good acting in a few segments. John Goodman and Jean Dujardin's characters almost connected with me. But other than that, everything feels cheesy and slow. It also had some of the most forced scenes ever. Cate Blancett and Matt DamonThis movie was so painfully lame. It could have had something. The cast is phenomenal. But the characters they play? Eh, not so much. Bill Murray shows some good acting in a few segments. John Goodman and Jean Dujardin's characters almost connected with me. But other than that, everything feels cheesy and slow. It also had some of the most forced scenes ever. Cate Blancett and Matt Damon have some sort of weird, forced relationship as well. Some characters die, and by the end, I had forgotten all about them. Its really a shame. Expand
  13. 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.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. Expand
  14. May 31, 2014
    4
    It is a bummer when 20th Century Fox rescheduled Clooney’s fifth director endeavour THE MONUMENTS MEN into a lukewarm February release, bodes ill for its craftsmanship which may not up to Oscar’s calibre. But gauging from its stellar cast, a more probable upshot could be a fun-loving teamwork like OCEAN 11-13 fanfare, yet, it does’t even achieve this lesser goal.
    continue to read rest of
    It is a bummer when 20th Century Fox rescheduled Clooney’s fifth director endeavour THE MONUMENTS MEN into a lukewarm February release, bodes ill for its craftsmanship which may not up to Oscar’s calibre. But gauging from its stellar cast, a more probable upshot could be a fun-loving teamwork like OCEAN 11-13 fanfare, yet, it does’t even achieve this lesser goal.
    continue to read rest of the review on my blog, google cinema omnivore.
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  15. May 30, 2014
    5
    While it's great to see this true WWII story being given attention, I just wish it was done in a more interesting way. There's a great cast here, but the story isn't filled with enough humor or action to become compelling. Instead it's almost two-hour running time feels uneventful and largely boring outside of a few high points. I can definitely see history buffs getting enjoyment out ofWhile it's great to see this true WWII story being given attention, I just wish it was done in a more interesting way. There's a great cast here, but the story isn't filled with enough humor or action to become compelling. Instead it's almost two-hour running time feels uneventful and largely boring outside of a few high points. I can definitely see history buffs getting enjoyment out of this, but those less interested in the history and more interested in humor or action will be left largely bored. Heck, even the history buffs might have a problem how dull the majority of the film is. Expand
  16. Feb 18, 2014
    5
    Allora, riassumendo: i sovietici non sembrano particolarmente svegli, i tedeschi si rivelano delle perfide carogne e gli alleati sono tutti bravi e buoni nonchè dediti al sacrificio. Fra le fila di questi ultimi, poi, gli statunitensi sono spesso belli e sempre integerrimi (anche se davanti c'è Cate Blanchett che fa le moine, a Parigi è primavera e la città è appena stata liberata), mentreAllora, riassumendo: i sovietici non sembrano particolarmente svegli, i tedeschi si rivelano delle perfide carogne e gli alleati sono tutti bravi e buoni nonchè dediti al sacrificio. Fra le fila di questi ultimi, poi, gli statunitensi sono spesso belli e sempre integerrimi (anche se davanti c'è Cate Blanchett che fa le moine, a Parigi è primavera e la città è appena stata liberata), mentre con gli altri la sorte è meno benevola - e comunque il primo a defungere è quello che più ha da farsi perdonare. Se, a questo punto, qualcuno sta pensando a un film di cinquant'anni fa, non ha tutti i torti: il nuovo lavoro firmato da Clooney sembra ispirarsi direttamente alle pellicole di guerra corali (tra 'Il giorno più lungo' e 'Il ponte di Remagen') che sono stati girate, celebrando la liberazione d'Europa dalla barbarie nazista, fino alla metà degli anni Sessanta e all'irrompere del conflitto vietnamita. L’impressione è rafforzata dalla partitura classicheggiante di Alexandre Desplat (che ha anche una piccola parte) e persino dai titoli di coda, così che l'unica, vera differenza può essere cercata nei combattimenti che restano sullo sfondo, o forse sarebbe più corretto dire di lato: ispirato al libro di Robert Edsel che ne narra le gesta, il film racconta infatti la storia di un piccolo gruppo di intellettuali che si dedicò al recupero delle opere d'arte rubate dai tedeschi mentre le truppe alleate avanzavano nel cuore del continente. Il fatto che i protagonisti non siano più giovanissimi (e, viste le loro professioni, non abbiano mai tenuto un'arma in mano) ma vengano comunque inquadrati nell'esercito favorisce il tono di commedia che, diffuso nella prima parte, si mantiene, malgrado lo sfondo tragico, lungo tutta la pellicola, favorito dalla capacità degli attori di affrontare ruoli in cui il registro brillante prevale su quello drammatico. Ben presto, i Monuments Men si dividono in coppie, fra le quali il regista tiene per sè quella che meno si fa notare (anche se la sua parte è quella del loro capo, Fred Stokes): in ordine crescente di efficacia, Damon va nella capitale francese a cercare informazioni presso la diffidente Blanchett, Dujardin e il sempre ottimo Goodman hanno la tendenza a ficcarsi tra i guai (cioè tra le pallottole), gli irresistibili Bill Murray e Bob Balaban iniziano da cane e gatto e finiscono per apprezzarsi a vicenda (e, anche in questo caso, non si può dire che uno non se l'aspetti). Il cast ben assortito e fatto di solidi professionisti è uno dei pregi della pellicola che, in fondo, fa trascorrere due ore senza troppi pensieri celebrando comunque uomini che hanno rischiato in proprio perchè gli strascichi della seconda guerra mondiale fossero anche solo un po' meno dolorosi. Il buon intrattenimento, però, non fa per forza il bel film e bisogna dire che, con 'Monuments men', Clooney dà vita alla sua regia meno convincente: non è un fatto di vecchio stile o di sviluppo più che prevedibile, ma di uno svolgimento a volte un po' didascalico e lento (specie nella prima parte) che non sempre sa sfruttare appieno anche i momenti più interessanti. Questo vale sia per gli spunti umoristici - il pessimo francese del personaggio di Damon parte bene, ma poi lasciato cadere troppo presto - sia per quelli seri, come l'incontro della coppia Murray/Balaban con lo spaurito soldato tedesco o l'improbabile situazione che porta alla morte di Clermont/Dujardin. A parte qualche bello sprazzo – la notte di Natale nelle Ardenne, la morte di Jeffries/Hugh Bonneville - la conseguenza è una certa piattezza emotiva, con lo spettatore che, malgrado i frequenti pistolotti sparsi lungo le due ore di durata, fatica a farsi coinvolgere dalla narrazione persino nei momenti che dovrebbero essere clou, come, ad esempio, il ritrovamento della ‘Madonna di Bruges’ di Michelangelo: malgrado il budget non indifferente, ‘Monuments men’, pur non facendo rimpiangere i soldi spesi per il biglietto, si rivela così un’occasione sprecata. Expand
  17. Feb 23, 2014
    5
    It has interesting history behind it, and the cast is diverse in their own talents. But there are some spotty points I the script, dialogue, and cinematography. George Clooney has the brains to write and direct, but this just isn't his full potential. It's far from 'Good Night and Good Luck'. But it isn't as bad as people say it is.
  18. Feb 11, 2014
    6
    Director George Clooney has assembled a strong cast (including himself, Matt Damon, Bill Murray & John Goodman) to play the men who traveled to Europe at the end of World War II to rescue thousands of works of art from the Nazis. This true story is full of amazing events, but it's not sure what kind of movie it wants to be. It's a war adventure, a comedy, a drama and an art film,Director George Clooney has assembled a strong cast (including himself, Matt Damon, Bill Murray & John Goodman) to play the men who traveled to Europe at the end of World War II to rescue thousands of works of art from the Nazis. This true story is full of amazing events, but it's not sure what kind of movie it wants to be. It's a war adventure, a comedy, a drama and an art film, literally…and that's the problem. The story lacks a strong focus. It's an entertaining history lesson, but it's a less than thrilling movie. Expand
  19. May 18, 2014
    6
    Not a good written movie. It's not that bad but at the end it looks like a lot of money and good actors were just wasted. Some part of the movie just don't have anything to give to the narration and could be cut without noticing, making it less boring. Some other parts are just dumb...
  20. Feb 22, 2014
    6
    A potentially interesting story - looking for the accumulated hoards of Nazi art works - is uncertainly told. Partly because of the Kelly's Heroes approach - slightly wacky gang of misfits pulled together as if for a heist movie - and partly because of the necessity, apparently, to give the audience a map that checks war movie titles rather than history. Enjoyable overall, though mostlyA potentially interesting story - looking for the accumulated hoards of Nazi art works - is uncertainly told. Partly because of the Kelly's Heroes approach - slightly wacky gang of misfits pulled together as if for a heist movie - and partly because of the necessity, apparently, to give the audience a map that checks war movie titles rather than history. Enjoyable overall, though mostly because of the armchair comfort of a good cast. Expand
  21. May 25, 2014
    6
    This should have been a great movie, one that could have possibly swept the Oscars. A small group of aging artists and art scholars who are physically out of shape get together out of a sense of universal and moral obligation, join the armed forces and undergo a painful basic training in order to undertake Mission Impossible. Theirs was not a separate peace, but actually a separateThis should have been a great movie, one that could have possibly swept the Oscars. A small group of aging artists and art scholars who are physically out of shape get together out of a sense of universal and moral obligation, join the armed forces and undergo a painful basic training in order to undertake Mission Impossible. Theirs was not a separate peace, but actually a separate war—they were trying to save the history of Western culture and civilization. Hitler's criminality as an insane, hysteria-ridden, and sadistic mass murderer was a separate issue from his interest in art. He had started out as an artist who flunked out of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. His paintings and sketches were mediocre, dull landscapes and uninspired figures. Hitler lacked originality, style, and anything that even came near creative imagination. His rejection from the academy reportedly caused him to fly into a hysterical rage that was frightening to witness—it was a harbinger of what was to come.

    In the film,George Clooney, in the role of museum curator Frank Stokes (based on the real-life George L. Stout), is the leader of the seven men who were selected to try to retrieve the millions of paintings and sculptures that were stolen by the Nazis. Most pieces were stored in underground caves slotted to go to German museums. A significant amount of art was destroyed by the Nazis, not because of the “Nero decree” (Hitler's instructions to destroy all military and transportation infrastructure if he should die or if Germany should lose), a decree which apparently did not mention art, but because avant-gardism (Picasso, Miro, Dali, Klee, and others) was considered by the Nazis to be unworthy of the spirit of the Third Reich and of poor or degenerate quality.

    The film, like most Hollywood cinema of a historical nature, is historically inaccurate, which is probably why director Clooney changed all the names of the original team. For a blow-by-blow analysis of all the inaccuracies, read “How Accurate Is The Monuments Men?” at slate.com. But even as a fictionalized account loosely based on a true story, the film runs amuck because it is difficult to follow the plot as the seven men split up and tackle different aspects of the situation, later reuniting for the final coup that takes place in the underground mines. Some of the best scenes are shown in the film trailer, such as the scene where Matt Damon, playing art restoration expert James Granger, is frozen in place because his foot is firmly planted on a land mine. When Clooney's Frank Stout has to recruit Damon's James Granger, there is an amusing chat at a bar where Stout informs his friend that the entire squad will consist of six men. When Granger objects to the small number, he's informed that he will bring the total to seven. “Oh, that's much better,” Damon (Granger) replies with a dry sarcasm. Clever conversations, which one would presume are Clooney's forte, are not predominant in the film. A much touted scene where Bill Murray, playing architect Richard Campbell, is in the camp shower and hears a Christmas recording from his family over the PA system gives an up-close and sensitive portrayal of his reaction. Nevertheless, the scene was set up in such a way that it was telegraphed well in advance and looked like it could have come straight out of MASH.

    The musical score is dramatic but at times distractingly grandiose. There's no romantic intrigue, except for an awkward flirtation between Damon's character and that of Cate Blanchett. They should have had an affair—it would have made Damon's character more complex and less dull. But with a brilliant round-up of actors like George Clooney, Matt Damon (replacing Daniel Craig who quit just before filming began), John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin and Bob Balaban, not to mention Hugh Bonneville from Downton Abbey, this film was surprisingly low key and slow moving, and in the end it's the art that holds the viewers' interest, even though we did not get to see nearly enough of it.
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  22. Nov 25, 2014
    6
    When I saw the preview for The Monuments Men, I was really excited. I've never been all that crazy about George Clooney, but I love Matt Damon, and the film is based on a little known tale from a famous historic event. Stories like this one, are often turned into some of the best films that Hollywood has to offer, and I was sure this film would be a can't miss. Clooney stars and directsWhen I saw the preview for The Monuments Men, I was really excited. I've never been all that crazy about George Clooney, but I love Matt Damon, and the film is based on a little known tale from a famous historic event. Stories like this one, are often turned into some of the best films that Hollywood has to offer, and I was sure this film would be a can't miss. Clooney stars and directs this extremely large and diverse cast, which ultimately turns into it's downfall. When you have a large cast of talent, you need to be very careful about how you use them. In The Monuments Men, the cast is split up all across Europe, leading to short scenes, that jump from location to location far too quickly. When the crew is reunited towards the end, the film becomes much better, and in my opinion, this is how the story should have been told right from the beginning. The story centers around a community of art lovers, who are distraught about the Nazi's theft of historic works of art. As the war is winding down and the Nazis defeat is imminent, these men want to make sure that the worlds greatest works of art are protected, and their willing to risk their lives to do so. As I stated earlier, George Clooney stars and gives his usual performance. When Clooney first started doing movies, he was exciting and really gave audiences their moneys worth, but lately all he does is play the same character over and over again. Clooney is the mysterious, handsome stranger, who does a lot without saying much. Some people love that kind of thing, as for me, I find it to be lazy. If you just wanted to direct, there was more than enough talent to carry this film, and in fact, I would have preferred to see Bill Murray or John Goodman in larger roles. The story told in The Monuments Men is extremely interesting, but it's told in these fast paced, short scenes, that do nothing but confuse the audiences and squander the extreme amount of talent this film has to offer. Needless to say, while I thought the film was a great idea, I was far from impressed. Expand
  23. Feb 26, 2014
    6
    Unsure on why this film is rated so low. I mean, i only gave it a six, but could do 7 too. Quality actors in the flick and a good true story to follow and learn about. But quite a bit of dialog at times and the movie begins a bit slow, then a quick montage style to get the story going. There was some jovial moments as the movie is plotted in war, which leads to a bit of confusion-as in,Unsure on why this film is rated so low. I mean, i only gave it a six, but could do 7 too. Quality actors in the flick and a good true story to follow and learn about. But quite a bit of dialog at times and the movie begins a bit slow, then a quick montage style to get the story going. There was some jovial moments as the movie is plotted in war, which leads to a bit of confusion-as in, what is the purpose? Expand
  24. Feb 13, 2014
    6
    Through his career as an actor, George Clooney has offered audiences with a well-to-do list of fine performances that bring to life vivid influential fictional and exciting non-fictional characters. There is no doubting that currently Clooney is a highly regarded, respected and powerful force within Hollywood. And thankfully his work as an actor has yet to be complete. It is in my humbleThrough his career as an actor, George Clooney has offered audiences with a well-to-do list of fine performances that bring to life vivid influential fictional and exciting non-fictional characters. There is no doubting that currently Clooney is a highly regarded, respected and powerful force within Hollywood. And thankfully his work as an actor has yet to be complete. It is in my humble opinion that Clooney, as a director, has excelled in the medium quicker than as an actor of his time. As a director, Clooney has elevated the mainstream storytelling technique as well as contributes to having a tremendous, natural execution of developing his characters, especially when it comes to telling the true stories of some of the most influential behind-the-scenes men that were born and raised in the United States. Clooney’s intent in his films is to preserve culture, history, and a way of life, bringing to life as well as sharing the many amazing stories of men (and women) who make him proud to call himself an American.

    From Chuck Barris, creator of the Gong Show and supposed CIA agent (played perfectly by Sam Rockwell) in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind; to Edward R. Murrow, the man responsible for the censure of Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism (played gallantly by David Straitairn) in Good Night, and Good Luck; to Dodge Connelly, a mimic of Herald ‘Red’ Grange, an icon of American football (played by Clooney himself) in Leatherheads; to Senator Mike Morris (Clooney) in the political-thriller The Ides of March based loosely on the 2004 Democratic primary campaign of Howard Dean, Clooney has quite the knack for bringing to life the controversial stories of some great American men and their great patriotic accomplishments and failures.

    With The Monuments Men, Clooney finds hints of the potential essence that surrounded his greater directorial body of work, but unfortunately, falls into a formulaic routine that solidifies the film as a quasi-informative, melodramatic and somewhat predictable clichéd piece of American cheese. Bound to make its way into library halls and fall under the categories of ‘forgettable’ and ‘unaffecting’, The Monuments Men becomes an outdated artifact of recycled ideas that would see itself in the historical section of the museum collecting dust and being completely forgotten in the years to come.

    With scenes as predictable and numbered as the Dewey Decimal System, The Monuments Men is still a hard film not to like. Lead by a profound group of talented actors, the film tells the true life story of a small group of men who searched high and far through the immense rubble and destruction of the Second World War for the very fabric of humanity, culture and history. Lead by Frank Stokes (Clooney) and his hand-picked team of artists; James Granger (Matt Damon), Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), Walter Garfield (John Goodman), Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin), Donald Jefferies (Hugh Bonneville), Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban) and the young Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas), the main objective for the men is to safely find, preserve and return famous and amateur art; art that Hitler was stealing with the intention of opening up his own museum.

    One of the biggest reoccurring elements throughout the film is the value of human life and the value of art. Clooney, throughout his narration, continuously makes clear that no artwork, no matter how valuable, is worth a human life. Yet, this statement seems somewhat impossible and disapproved during one of the most notorious wars in the history of world, responsible for countless casualties. Although stark and heart-warmingly affective, the narration by our protagonist serves as some of the films most thought-provoking segments of the film, yet takes away from the actions depicted on screen. The narration instead serves as an almost ‘in case you missed it’ captioning to the often times laughable and overly-comedic action on screen.

    Like with any Clooney directed feature, he is always able to round out a talented and multi-faceted cast that sometimes drive the stale action and narration itself. Comedians Bill Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, as well as recent Oscar winner Dujardin, deliver an abundance of unneeded comedic relief that often takes away from the heavy subject matter and serious drama the film is attempting to sculpt. Finding the humour and humanity of a war that didn’t seem to have much during its occurrence, The Monuments Men is a light-hearted take on a solemn historical piece of time.

    Having the only female lead in the film, Cate Blanchett proves here more than anywhere, even amidst all the comedy and juvenile goofiness, that she is next in line to be our generation’s Meryl Streep. Camouflaging herself in her French accent and wholly Parisian character, Blanchett is one of the film’s saving graces. The other, as always, is the charm and bravado of the always impressive Matt Damon.
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  25. May 21, 2014
    6
    A well acted, but flawed and at times boring film. The acting allows for the recommendation all the performances are strong. Wish there was more character development and more things would, but one watch will be worth it. B-
  26. Mar 16, 2014
    6
    George Clooney directed this old-fashioned movie and starred in it looking like Clark Gable. Despite the negative reviews, there is nothing basically wrong with the movie. It tells a straight story, based on facts. It has a short introduction, where we get to meet all the main characters; a development, where we follow the different characters in their adventures and an end that wraps upGeorge Clooney directed this old-fashioned movie and starred in it looking like Clark Gable. Despite the negative reviews, there is nothing basically wrong with the movie. It tells a straight story, based on facts. It has a short introduction, where we get to meet all the main characters; a development, where we follow the different characters in their adventures and an end that wraps up the whole film.

    Granted, today’s audience, used to fast editing, special effects, gore and over the top scripts may find it difficult to appreciate what is really old school story-telling. However, some of the reviews I read do not make any sense: somebody complained about “lack of character development”, but they should know that in movies with a large cast, character development is hardly a priority.

    Somebody else mentioned that it is “absurd” to leave gold and art in cave. Well, that actually happened for real, as the retiring Nazis could not carry all that stuff with them. Just check the historical records…
    Other complained about “yet another movie about WWII”. Perhaps they should check in advance which movies they are going to see, if they do not care about WWII movies.

    I agree about the fact that given the premises it could have been a better movie, but I still found it entertaining. Murray, Damon and Clooney were good as usual and even Blanchett, in a small role, managed a decent performance.

    Definitely not a masterpiece but an enjoyable movie to watch, especially if you like classic movies moving at a slower pace.
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  27. Mar 2, 2014
    5
    The movie has many good actors like George Clooney and Matt Damon and many more. The movie doesnt know what it wants. It is a good time wasting movie but nothing special.
  28. Feb 22, 2014
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Monuments Men fictionalizes the true life adventures of a team of artists, art historians and curators who are drafted and "tasked" (not my term but screenwriter/director/star George Clooney's)to find and recover thousands of art treasures looted by the Nazis. War,larceny and an opportunity to right wrong on a scale unprecedented in history should provide for a spell binding viewing experience. Then why was I not spellbound?

    Casting is always a delicate proposition. With the quizzical casting of George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and John Goodman in the major roles, one is left wondering how this will work. It doesn't. George Clooney, the group's leader and film director, is obviously too busy behind the camera to exhibit much on screen leadership and is therefore relegated to phoning in (literally) his role. Matt Damon, known for his powerhouse parts and some pretty good acting skills, is cast against type. That's okay, if given something to work with, which he isn't. Well Bill Murray is always good for a laugh. Oh right, this isn't a comedy. No matter, lets write some scenes specifically for him. Painful. And poor John Goodman is left lumbering his way through a nondescript part.

    Cate Blanchett's role is by far the one with the most potential. But this is Monuments Men, not Monuments Women. Based on the true life character of Rose Valland, Gallerie Jue De Paume caretaker during the Nazi occupation, the character of Claire Simone (Ms. Valland) is written as a mean spirited, untrusting spinster who comes on to Matt Damon's character out of nowhere. But Damon's character is too vanilla to have any of that. Thankfully, Mr. Clooney does include some of Ms. Valland's indispensable part in recovering the Nazi loot.

    It is understood these men are scholars, artisans, art businessmen and as such, are not the stuff of action heroes. But at least give them some dialog of weight. We never get the sense that these men are subject matter experts but some guys with a passing knowledge of great art.

    In the end, treat an important historical event importantly, even if it is fictionalized. In the 1964 fictional epic "The Train" the French Underground attempts to stop a Nazi train filled with Impressionist Art stolen from the Jue de Paume. Actors of weight are cast - Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield. John Frankenheimer and Arthur Penn direct. Taut screen writing prevails with dialog that conveys the importance of the character's endeavors ("Save the heritage of France"). There's little to none of that in The Monuments Men.

    Apparently, they don't make 'em like that anymore.
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  29. Mar 3, 2014
    5
    Trying to save the memory of a murdered people shouldn't be this whimsical but other than a fun movie . I get the premise of this film but really seems a little shallow how it focuses and their on intercourse being funny. Goal was noble but unnecessary whimsy was not .
  30. May 6, 2014
    4
    It has got a fantastic premise and an all star-cast led by the talented George Clooney, but unfortunately, The Monuments Men wastes them with a very bland and dull script that fails to recreate any of the excitement or the intensity of the subject matter.
  31. Feb 24, 2014
    6
    Good:

    -Good acting -Great soundtrack -Good visual presentation -Interesting backstory The bad: -Story "flow" is poorly maintained with long, boring stretches -Stereotypical "All Germans are stubborn, uninteresting Nazis where as all Allied troops are down to earth, lovable guys". You know what I mean if you have seen 90% of U.S war movies. Simply said, there is a
    Good:

    -Good acting

    -Great soundtrack

    -Good visual presentation

    -Interesting backstory

    The bad:

    -Story "flow" is poorly maintained with long, boring stretches

    -Stereotypical "All Germans are stubborn, uninteresting Nazis where as all Allied troops are down to earth, lovable guys". You know what I mean if you have seen 90% of U.S war movies.

    Simply said, there is a lot of fluff in this movie and not a lot of heart. We get a good story, interesting characters and overall a great production value. However, it is brought down by the boring writing and uninspired character development
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  32. Mar 1, 2014
    5
    Great cast (personally way better than the American hustle cast) It was ok it wasn't serious but I didn't hate it I kinda liked it... I liked bill murray John Goodmans and Matt Damon's charecters, Cate blanchett was basically the most serious in the hole film but it is a Greta film for the whole family
  33. May 29, 2014
    5
    The cast is the highlight of this film. The movie is disjointed with terrible pacing that seems to take away from the experience of watching it. There is little explanation of the jumps in time and distance and this leaves the viewer lost at times. There were unnecessary elements in the movie that did nothing other than take up time that could have been used to more fully flesh out anThe cast is the highlight of this film. The movie is disjointed with terrible pacing that seems to take away from the experience of watching it. There is little explanation of the jumps in time and distance and this leaves the viewer lost at times. There were unnecessary elements in the movie that did nothing other than take up time that could have been used to more fully flesh out an excellent story. This is a story that is deserving of more than this attempt. Expand
  34. Nov 10, 2014
    4
    It has got a fantastic premise and an all star-cast led by the talented George Clooney, but unfortunately, The Monuments Men wastes them with a very bland and dull script that fails to recreate any of the excitement or the intensity of the subject matter.
  35. Jul 27, 2015
    4
    2/5★ Its all very adequate, but it feels...indulgent. Its not a bad film just dull, and with a story that is actually quite interesting, I wonder what a better director could have done with it. The tone is proudly old-fashioned and there is a mini-series feel, a splintered focus on too many characters and locations.
    Despite a fantastic cast, Cate Blanchett is the only actor who gives a
    2/5★ Its all very adequate, but it feels...indulgent. Its not a bad film just dull, and with a story that is actually quite interesting, I wonder what a better director could have done with it. The tone is proudly old-fashioned and there is a mini-series feel, a splintered focus on too many characters and locations.
    Despite a fantastic cast, Cate Blanchett is the only actor who gives a serious performance.
    Verdict: For a really rainy day.
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  36. Nov 2, 2014
    5
    The Monuments Men is a war-centric film without the typical action and gore found in these epics. Instead George Clooney opts to take a dramatic approach to this non-fiction caper story only to end up with a rather stale product. The terribly slacky narrative brings absolutely no suspense or thrills, filled with corny comic relief. The cast is misused with their powerful star potential onThe Monuments Men is a war-centric film without the typical action and gore found in these epics. Instead George Clooney opts to take a dramatic approach to this non-fiction caper story only to end up with a rather stale product. The terribly slacky narrative brings absolutely no suspense or thrills, filled with corny comic relief. The cast is misused with their powerful star potential on characters with zero development causing the story to drag on until its inevitable anti-climactic end. Expand
  37. Nov 27, 2014
    5
    The Monuments Men unfortunately is an average movie. I was hoping for so much more and the worst part is that it wastes such a great cast. I never thought for a second that these actors were these real men not to mention the extremely boring plot. While this is a story to be told and these men need to be known, this wasn't the representations they deserve.
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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.