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Generally favorable reviews- based on 236 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 236

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  1. Oct 8, 2014
    Excellent movie with good pacing. Characters depict what it would really be like for a father & son struggling to survive the apocalypse. No mutants, cyborgs, or sci-fi creatures like in I am Legend, or the Fallout game series, this is pure survival. Acting is superb and will have you feeling for the characters from beginning to end. A lot of suspense leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat. This movie will leave you wondering if the decisions the main character chooses are right or wrong, or if right or wrong has a place in the wasteland that unveils itself over the course of the movie.. overall this is the only movie I have seen that depicts how hard and realistic it would be to live through an apocalypse. Expand
  2. Aug 24, 2014
    Frankly, I was disappointed after seeing this movie. It seemed to drag on forever, and the trailer didn't really give the right idea about the film itself.

    Maybe the book is better, who knows.

    All in all the acting was decent, which is good since this was a view into the struggle of humans when the world is coming to an end. (At least that is what I think was going on, or something
    like that; they never told what happened, and while that was clever, it was also very annoying.)

    Viggo Mortensen was raw, no other way to put it. No great acting, but that wasn't needed to portray the desperation and hurt that followed him everywhere in the movie.

    I liked the theme of the movie: the new rules of survival, the embracing of death as an escape, the fear, the drive to find hope and save what is left of your life - mainly the son of Mortensen's character; he describes that his son is like a God to him, and if he would be gone, nothing else would matter anymore.

    The movie was raw, confusing, dark and oozing with pain from end to beginning. Sudden flashbacks added to the chaos of it all, and the brutality in what a human needs to do to survive makes one shudder just a little inside. That part was no fiction.

    Not necessarily a movie I will be watching again - other than for inspiration.
  3. Aug 16, 2014
    This one is very impressive. I am not a huge fan of John Hillcoat's, but his direction here is good as usual and he really manages to tell quite the beautiful and tragic story here. Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee are phenomenal. Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron, Michael K. Williams, Guy Pearce, and Molly Parker, all have very small roles here, but all are good in their roles and really make the film all the more tragic. Unrelentingly bleak, the worst (best?) part of this one is how it will give you a glimmer of hope from time to time and then it just rips your heart out again and steps on it. This makes the somewhat hopeful ending, almost depressing, since you know the positive will not last forever. This one is gorgeously filmed and it really shows how much beauty there is, even when things are going bad. Each shot, with its largely gray and bleak colorization, is breathtaking and, for me, is the true star of this film. While the acting is great, the cinematography is the true powerhouse here. The story is also solid, even if bleak. As a whole, the end result for this film is pretty good. It is not an amazing film, but it is most certainly powerful, beautiful, tragic, and filled with despair, all of which make it one that is tough to watch, but make for a good watch all the same. Expand
  4. Aug 2, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Wow this was a fascinating movie to say the least unlike other apocalyptic movies this doesn't have any zombies or something like that this is what I would call a realistic post apocalyptic movie there's a reason this movie is rated r it shows what would probably be a real life post apocalyptic world when watching this movie you feel unsure of what's going to happen and nervous this movie shows what dark and terrible things mankind would do to stay alive and let me just say some of the things in this movie are absolutely despicable the only thing I found unrealistic was the ending I would have rather seen something along the lines of the kid ending up a survivor and getting his act together instead of just staying like a boy I think something like that would have been more believable and realistic than him finding a "good guy" to take Carr of him as dark as it sounds I rather would have seen him turn out like Ellie from the last of us than stay an inefficient boy. Expand
  5. Jul 8, 2014
    Incredibly powerful, emotional, and it gives a very realistic feeling of what could happen to humanity under a worst case scenario. It rates far above other disaster films in its portrayal of the human experience and what we are capable of in dire circumstances. In effect it looks like a warning to us if we are not careful in how we conduct our society. It brings out feelings of sadness that few
    films could replicate and displays a full range of powerful emotions
    that emphasize what it means to be human.This is much more than
    a film to entertain you for a few hours; it is a message about the will
    to live, what it means to be human and about how unsympathetic
    this world could be. I could not tear myself away from it though I hadn't
    planned to watch all of it when I started watching it on TV. It is rare that I
    can relate with deep feelings to characters in a film but this one compels you
    to do so. The father-son relationship was so deep it forced me to think
    about my own deceased father and the relations I had with him. More than
    entertainment it is an insight into our souls.
  6. Jun 3, 2014
    Bare pass for this movie. Very depressing fare without even the smallest glimmer of hope basically. Good strong acting from the lead didm't raise it much due to the overwhelming weight of the script. Absolutely leaden in places. I don't think there is another film out there that is darker in terms of theme. I don't recommend this movie much. Probably has big fans in people who think that half decent SF like Aeon Flux were awful. Even if AF was based on a cmic it was still better than this black napkin of a movie. Expand
  7. Feb 16, 2014
    This would be a great movie if it wasn't for the whiniest brat, worst written child in the history of movies.

    Hey movie writers! A little tip. A child will not act like whiny little brat in extreme situations. Ever been to Mexico and seen a 12 year old running a taco truck? Ever seen a kid from any 3rd world country act like a little **** when the chips are down?

    Children will grow
    up very quickly in hardship. This child is written like he's living in a suburb and can't have his xbox. Pathetic writing. Expand
  8. Dec 6, 2013
    As someone who has not read the novel, I was extremely impressed by John Hillcoat's work. It effectively portrays the unending love between father and son in a world where there is no room for emotion, and even provoked thoughts of my relationship with my own father. Visually and audibly the film thrives. Muted colours and the use of silence create a depressing atmosphere whilst retaining a tangible tension. Mortensen's portrayal as the paternal figure who refuses to give up really carries the piece! However, I found 'The Road' a touch too slow at times and a repetitive formula seemed to occur-stop, scavenge, sleep... If you are only looking for a graphic, action packed film where everyone is armed and no one thinks twice about killing, 'The Road' is not for you. If you are looking for something moving and more subtle, with greater underlying issues about mortality, give this film a go! Expand
  9. Nov 10, 2013
    I agree with BradH 100%. It's well acted and directed, You can't help but feel for the characters. Yet the plot was basic and generic. The film itself was painfully slow and far too long. It really takes away from the overall value. It's not an awful film but it's far from good.
  10. Sep 20, 2013
    Strong Points:
    - Really Strong Characters. You really care about the characters when you're seeing the movie. Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee have really strong performances.
    - Great Scenery: The environment can get really gray during the movie, showing the lack of supplies people had.
    - Good Soundtrack: The piano based soundtrack is a welcome addiction to a history like this.
    Every note of the soundtrack fits the movie.
    Weak Points:
    - Lack of explanation: Nothing about the apocalyptic event is explained.

    Other comments: The narrative is very interesting, although it seems to have some flaws.
    In my opinion, 8/10.
  11. Xon
    Jun 30, 2013
    Based on the phenomenal novel of the same name, this movie offers us a glimpse of a world where everything has gone wrong, there is no light at the end of the tunnel and all that is left is the weak preying on the weaker. The book made me depressed and sick, the movie less so but it raised the hairs on the back of my neck several times. This is not for the faint of heart.
  12. May 26, 2013
    What an amazing movie, I really felt for the characters, A good movie like this doesn't come around often enough. I would go as far to say this is in MY top 5 movies of all time.
  13. Apr 28, 2013
    Dumb movie, the kid is gay and i wanted all along to choke him with my bare hands, he wouldn't survive 5 min without hes father and yet he wants to spread love in a cannibalistic post apocalyptic world, of course at the end of the movie the producers conveniently avoid putting him in harms way situation by making him meet a good guy, but we all know that such gay and useless prick will end up raped and eaten in a true post apocalyptic world Expand
  14. Feb 24, 2013
    From the writer of No Country For Old Men, comes yet another tale about the end of the world. From the previews, I thought this movie had promise, that it would be different from other post-apocalyptic stories, but it wasn't. It's the tale of a father and son wondering aimlessly just trying to survive. Nothing is at all explained, there are weird flashbacks, and there are way too many interactions with people. Most of the world is gone, not a single animal survived, yet everywhere you go, you run into people, crazy people, most of whom are cannibals. Viggo Mortensen does give a pretty solid performance, however Kodi Smit-McPhee does not. I've never seen him in anything before, but the whole movie, he's hiding, whining, and screaming papa, it got really annoying! It was awful, I felt like they kept acting out the same scene over and over again in a different location. Nothing happens, there's no plot, and the dialogue is just stupid. This movie is a huge waste of time. Expand
  15. Feb 23, 2013
    A truly unpleasant movie, because it realistically portrays a world without authority and law. Most likely, a lot of people you know would become that bad guys in a situation like that. Good people are very rare unfortunately... Recommended if you are interested in Post-apocalyptic fiction.
  16. Jan 9, 2013
    The road is not just an ordinary movie, it not about action or anything it's about something deeper, the ambiance created is insane from time to time. The music provided also suited the movie well and served it's purpose well. The story was sometimes really dark but in a really strong way. It is a movie which will not win prizes for the special effects or anything but it really comes close to you, makes you think. This may movie isn't just a movie sometimes is just an artwork. Collapse
  17. Nov 28, 2012
    It is considerably dispiriting and unnerving, however that's what makes John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel so unfading. It's rich with haunting questions of morality, remarkably human characters, and some unshakably frightening imagery.
  18. Sep 3, 2012
    The movie was gripping, but it was just too depressing to watch because it was really boring and dull and dark at times. There is no possible way I can actually say I enjoyed the movie or even thought provoking.
  19. Jun 17, 2012
    This is a FANTASTIC film and it is realistic in the way that they have to worry about things like food, shoes and bandits. As it progresses through the film you grow attached to the characters and feel their struggles and triumphs and it is just great.
  20. Apr 5, 2012
    Beautiful but sad. After I watched the movie, I went to buy the book- I was retiscent for I am a very good reader, and know a lot about good literature, so I don't like much 'comercial' reading. Yet, I did enjoy both. I think it deserves at 8, absolutely! But yeah, it is beautiful but depressing...and I like that mix, for somehow, it works....the art direction was great too! were the performances! Expand
  21. Mar 27, 2012
    John Hillcoat's adaption of the classic novel of the same name is a solid, loving and engrossing effort. Viggo Mortensen is absolutely brilliant as an unnamed survivor, trekking slowly towards the east coast with his son, played by Kodi Smit McPhee. The young and inexperienced McPhee holds Mortensen back in some scenes, especially the more emotionally intense dialogues that occur toward the end of the film. He does a satisfactory job, and shows a lot of potential, but nevertheless a more experienced child actor might have better captured the character. The script is pretty well thought-out, - there's very few of the cliches one might expect from such a film. However, some of the scenes drag out too long, and at times I was left wondering why certain scenes were necessary. The cinematography in The Road is immaculate. The way post-apocalyptic America is presented, with bleak, washed out landscapes and decaying buildings, is truly one of the most effective visions of a dying world I've ever seen.
    The Road is so filled with melancholic beauty and gentle, thought-provoking imagery that the situation in which the viewer watches the film will heavily influence their opinion of it. This is not a film to watch over some beers with mates - it's a film to watch alone and become totally immersed in.
  22. j30
    Jan 30, 2012
    Cormac McCarthy's adapted novel "The Road" is powerful story telling in some sort of Biblical way. Viggo Mortensen gives a performance of a lifetime. I'm surprised that this film didn't get more recognition from the Academy as CM's other novel No Country For Old Men did. Like NCFOM The Road is filled with underlying meaning and themes that can be discussed long after the credits are done.
  23. Nov 4, 2011
    This is easily the most realistic looking post-apocalyptic world I've seen. This movie does an excellent job of creating an atmosphere of despair as the remaining survivors are starting to lose their humanity in the empty world. Only negative part was that the story seemed a little dull, as if you are expecting some big climax to happen, but it never does.
  24. Nov 3, 2011
    "The Road" is a astonishingly masterful film that greatly succeeds re-imaging the original book. The movie is filled with unexpected tension and profound quietness most films fail to create. It also presents a well made, re-designed future apocalypse that looks realistic. Possibly in this case one of the most thought-provoking films of the year.
  25. Jul 22, 2011
    I have not read the book but I found this to be a great movie with great acting and amazing cinematography. This is a very depressing movie, and you'll want to go outside and see the sun after. My mom (I'm 12 years old) thought this was a boring movie and the ending "didn't go anywhere". That just shows you how the average moviegoer is these days. Haters gonna hate. Go Aragorn! And Col. Kilgore!
  26. Mar 18, 2011
    This movie made me suffer, a lot! If this is what the post-apocalyptic world looks like then release me out of my misery a.s.a.p. I couldn't even survive the few hours this movie lasted, let alone a lifetime. This was pure torture, it gave you glimpses and teases of something was going to happen but it never did. The worst part is everything looks and sounds so promising, you actually want to give this movie a chance. You want it to be good and give you that satisfaction. But it doesn't. This movie is the ultimate teaser! Expand
  27. Mar 11, 2011
    No movie with such less effort has convinced me to dwell in self-examination of the world we're living in than The Road. Pain and hopelessness may be all over the movie from minute 1 towards the end but the single scene where the lead actor's son walks away with strangers gives enough pleasure of living and hope. The movie'shaunting cinematography and art direction blend well with the convincing production design and costume. Vigo Mortensen's sharp acting should have been nominated for the Oscars. Expand
  28. Feb 2, 2011
    To say this film was underrated is an understatement. It was one of the best films of 2009, and by far one of the best acted. Viggo Mortensen is astounding, as is the one only known as "Boy" in the film, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and the Oscars were fools to overlook their brilliant performances. The cinematography was nothing less then breathtaking, as we the dark, gritty yet beautiful landscapes. "The Road" is a gem, despite the Oscar's misjudgement. Expand
  29. Jan 9, 2011
    Great movie, heartbraking and thought provoking, the love between father and son was truly heart-rending throughout. I thought the cast were fantastic.
  30. Jan 1, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Road: A tale of a father and a son making their way across a trechorous wasteland, heading south, hoping to find others whilst being cautious of those around them. First things first: This is a grim film. You can see that just by looking at the surroundings. Corpses swinging from nooses, trees void of life, crashing to the ground one by one, snow stained with blood, water dirty as hell. It is quite the spectacle, yet for something so horrific looking, it is quite beautiful. Striking, how the director has perfectly captured the film's tone. It isn't just the surroundings that are bleak, the characters successfully empthasise this as well. Groups, in order to survive, slautering innocent people. Theres a scene in the film of a woman and her child being chased by a large group of these savages, where the surroundings are skulls displayed on pikes and the aformentioned blood stained snow. Food is scarce in this post-apocalyptic world, so one group keep people chained in a basement, to bring them out and kill them one by one, for sustenence. The father knows that the world is a bleak place, and his one driving point is his son. He teaches his son how to shoot himself in the head, if the time ever comes. He keeps two bullets in a gun specifically for them two, if the time ever comes. He very nearly shoots his son, so that a savage group do not take him to be chained and later eaten. The characters have become paranoid in this world, with the father not trusting any one in case they could be a cannibal, not trusting Ely, refusing to let him come with them for their food wouldn't last long, and he would slow them down. At one point, a woman shoots the man with an arrow and he kills her husband with a flare gun, because they both believe the other was following them. This shows how paranoia has set into these characters lives, how they cannot trust anyone, because it could spell for their end. Kudos to the actors of this piece. They all perform their roles perfectly, from Charlize Therons suicidal mother, not wanting to live in such a terrible world, to The Thief, whom instantly regrets robbing the main characters. Viggo Mortenson and Kodi Smith-Mcfee perfectly play their roles as father and son. You truly believe their roles, and their character relationship. The man's death, whilst his son is curled upto him, is a scene which, i'm not ashamed to say, brought a tear to my eyes. The ending of this film really shows the boys trusting ways paying off, as he now travels with a family, across the trechorous landscape. Conclusion: Quite a bleak film, with many grim moments, but wonderful character interaction makes it all worth while Expand
  31. Oct 5, 2010
    'The Road' is a magnificient film that gives it's audience an insight into the affect on people in the planet after a mass destruction of vegetation and animal life. People resort to cannabilism and keeping others like cattle. The movie gets us thinking and creates a great visualisation of what the world would be like without police, businesses and the law. I enjoyed this film but I am taking two points off due to it's disapointing ending. Expand
  32. Sep 23, 2010
    Finally a movie that presents a post-apocalyptic story in a dark, realistic manner. The actors play very well, while the story is very well described and interesting. Good movie.
  33. Sep 5, 2010
    Brutal. A bit slow-paced, but compelling nonetheless. Excellent direction gave the viewer a real feeling of isolation and desperation. Shame that it was let down by a very weak ending.
  34. Aug 22, 2010
    I had no idea what this movie was really about (i knew post-apocalypse) and had not read the book. I was surprised by how intensely dark and frightening it was. It did, as one reviewer put it, rattle around in my head for several days. I thought it was not boring, but I like science fiction. I thought Viggo Mortensen was good and the kid, was pretty good. The tension created in the encounters with the 'bad guys' was incredibly intense. I went out and read the book immediately and thought that the screenplay actually improved the plot of the book in some ways. The post-apocalyptic imagery was good, but in these days of anything is possible CG, I thought they could have attempted some larger imagery - like when Cormac McCarthy in the book describes building "melted and then refrozen". But overall, intelligent, consistent, scary and thought provoking. No false notes. Expand
  35. Aug 11, 2010
    I never read the book (even though I knew it was adapted before hand.) I actually was excited to see this one, boy was I disappointed. No wonder it only stayed in my local theatre for one week. It's a whole lot of boring. Don't get me wrong I like a psychological movie but this movie didn't really have a point. In any good story you need to create enough tension for you to at least care about what happens to the main characters. This is the first movie (other than the Twilight movies) I literally just turned off and say I'll finish this later. I don't know how this movie ends but from what I watch I got bored just waiting for something to happen. I only got as far as when Viggo's character meets Duvall's. And the grainy cinematography (while I understand why it was chosen, it does fit the film's subject matter) just made the film unwatchable on my wide-screen HDTV. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Evocative as it is, The Road comes up short, not because it’s bleak but because it’s monotonous.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark Salisbury
    This might just be a tad too grueling and bleak for everyone’s liking, but it’s a Road that’s definitely well worth traveling.
  3. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Director John Hillcoat has performed an admirable job of bringing Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to the screen as an intact and haunting tale, even at the cost of sacrificing color, big scenes and standard Hollywood imagery of post-apocalyptic America.