Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. One thing few will disagree on is the quality of the film's acting, especially by Gael García Bernal as Guevara and Rodrigo de la Serna as his friend. Both effortlessly embody the footloose, sometimes feckless quality of this "On the Road"-style adventure.
  2. 100
    A gorgeous, poetic and stirring epic.
  3. 100
    Lovely, heartfelt and unforced.
  4. 100
    The result is a rare and precious work. The Motorcycle Diaries is an epic road movie with everything you'd want from such a film: laughs, kicks, adventures, pathos, poetry, natural beauty, strange encounters and friendship tested and strengthened.
  5. Provides a smart, insightful prologue to the career of the man who continues to inspire countless people around the world.
  6. Soulful and reflective film, as gentle as it is potent.
  7. Mr. Bernal's soulful, magnetic performance notwithstanding, the real star of the film is South America itself, revealed in the cinematographer Eric Gautier's misty green images as a land of jarring and enigmatic beauty.
  8. 88
    A mesmerizing look at an asthmatic, rich-boy medical student in the act of discovering his insurgent spirit.
  9. Salles' movie isn't fiery or didactic. It doesn't rage or storm. Salles romanticizes the youthful Ernesto.
  10. A steady, soulful film experience. It's got poetry to it - the poetry of humanity.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    More coming-of-age story than biopic, this Guevara odyssey is a transformative adventure well worth watching.
  12. Captures the lovely, heart-and-eye-opening ode to youthful possibility with affection and compassion.
  13. Reviewed by: Don R. Lewis
    Subtle, funny and touching. It’s not like a blow-by-blow “Birth of a Hero” type of film. The script is near perfect and the acting is spot on.
  14. 80
    There is a balancing act at work here that sometimes makes the film seem too careful, but I found it a lovely and supremely moving experience, a haunting symphony in a minor key if not a knock-your-socks-off masterpiece.
  15. The film is a deeply felt and beautifully acted hagiography.
  16. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    This intelligently made picture is artful but not arty, political without being didactic.
  17. A convincing, entertaining portrait of the revolutionist as a young man.
  18. The movie's not heavyhanded about this coming of moral age; the revelations unfurl in subtle ways. What Bernal and this well-wrought movie convey so well is the charisma that would soon become a part of human history.
  19. Nothing like a full picture of Che--nor of Granado and his eventual scientific career in Cuba, for that matter. But it exhilarates with the spirit of these young men in Act One of their lives.
  20. There is no great story being told here. Mostly, it is a conventional road movie - a buddy comedy even - about the quests of two likable guys. The memoirs exist only because of Guevara's subsequent fame as a revolutionary leader in Cuba, Congo and Bolivia.
  21. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Some might not even notice what's going on when director Walter Salles finally shows his hand, and ends the film with documentary footage of the real-life Granado, now aged 81, romping in the earthly paradise that is present-day Cuba.
  22. Captures some of the spirit of the real Che.
  23. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    A smartly scoped story of great personal growth and transformation. It's not hard to see the personality/political basis for Che's later revolutionary actions.
  24. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    The film works best when it doesn't try so hard, when Salles simply allows his excellent actors and his beautiful images to work their magic.
  25. 70
    Handsomely shot by Brazilian director Walter Salles and beautifully played by the two leads, The Motorcycle Diaries would amount to little more than a minor, softly politically conscious coming-of-age story, if not for its historical context.
  26. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    It's a picturesque tale that, hobbled by its episodic structure, never achieves full steam.
  27. Surprisingly effective re-creation of a Latin American Bing and Bob on the Road to History.
  28. 67
    "Dr. Goodlove," or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Proletariat" might have been a better title for this ingratiatingly loopy origin story about prerevolutionary icon Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
  29. 63
    Seen simply as a film, The Motorcycle Diaries is attenuated and tedious. We understand that Ernesto and Alberto are friends, but that's about all we find out about them; they develop none of the complexities of other on-the-road couples, like Thelma and Louise, Bonnie and Clyde or Huck and Jim. There isn't much chemistry.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 82 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 57
  2. Negative: 10 out of 57
  1. Dec 22, 2013
    Well crafted and acted but it is not really special, the story is ambitious but the characters don't develop an interesting relationship and it just reach the point of showing an inspired young "Che". Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal's work should be mentioned. Full Review »
  2. Jul 1, 2011
    A road movie with a little more substance than most. The countryside is beautifully shot, and feels totally true to the period. Political without being moralising. Well worth a watch Full Review »