Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 20
  2. Negative: 3 out of 20
  1. The Stoning of Soraya M. goes well beyond its angry didacticism and its specific indictment of men's oppression of women to achieve the impact of a Greek tragedy through its masterful grasp of suspense and group psychology, and some superb acting.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Brunette
    It's a powerful, shocking piece, and the denunciation of a system in which an accused woman has to prove her own innocence (while in the case of a man, his guilt has to be proven by others), is strong and clear and unforgettable.
  3. 75
    The Stoning of Soraya M.”has such a powerful stoning sequence that I recommend it if only for its brutal ideological message. That the pitiful death of Soraya is followed by a false Hollywood upbeat ending involving tape recordings and silliness about a car that won't start is simply shameful. Nowrasteh, born in Colorado, attended the USC Film School. Is that what they teach there?
  4. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    The sum is difficult to watch. But this isn't a film against Islam or religion in general: A clear distinction is made between Allah's more vicious followers and the mercy of Allah himself.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    A timely story, given the political upheaval in Iran, it is emotionally explosive. It also is profoundly compelling.
  6. The Stoning of Soraya M.'s drawn-out torture sequence is harrowing and lurid.
  7. Reviewed by: Cliff Doerksen
    Based on a French true-crime best seller, this gory, ham-fisted hybrid of social-issue picture and horror film exerts a crude but undeniable power.
  8. This broadside against sharia law lacks the finesse of an import, but it's effectively melodramatic.
  9. As with so many message movies, this one trades ­nuance for naked outrage. The filmmakers'heartfelt intent is admirable, but right now they’re competing with a more compellingly told reality.
  10. The last thing I want to do is represent The Stoning of Soraya M. as entertainment, summer or otherwise. This is classic tragedy in semimodern dress that means to horrify, and does so more successfully than any film in recent memory.
  11. 50
    A slow, inexorable slog to the titular event -- a public execution so inconceivably violent and brutal the movie practically dares you not to look away.
  12. 50
    It also gives another black eye to Iranian fundamentalists. It is most unfortunate, then, that the film isn't better.
  13. 50
    Director Nowrasteh seems to think the only way to save lives is to sensationalize death. You could trek to the theater and have this movie whack you upside the head. You could also just mail a check for $10 to the human rights group of your choice.
  14. Though The Stoning of Soraya M.'s heart is in the right place, its head is lost in storm clouds of anger.
  15. 50
    The film oddly mirrors "The Passion of the Christ," as a show trial leads inexorably toward an almost sadistically filmed public execution (it doesn't hurt that Jim Caviezel plays the reporter). Like that movie, it gets its point across with all the subtlety, sorry to say, of a rock upside the head.
  16. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    This is basically self-congratulatory fare for people who feel more "politically conscious" when reminded that women in the Islamic world can have it rough. Right now, you're better off just watching the news.
  17. Thoroughly blurs the line between high-minded outrage and lurid torture-porn.
  18. 33
    Nowrasteh constantly overplays his hand, not realizing that some horrors speak for themselves.
  19. Reviewed by: Jan Stuart
    Iranian American director Cyrus Nowrasteh, co-writing with wife Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh, has amplified the basic elements of Suraya's story into the worst kind of exploitive Hollywood melodrama, presented under the virtuous guise of moral outrage.
  20. A classic case of preaching to the choir, since it’s doubtful the film will reach many of the minds that need changing.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 37
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 37
  3. Negative: 2 out of 37
  1. Jul 27, 2013
    It is riveting, moving and extremely powerful. This is a movie you need to see. The Stoning of Soraya M. is packed with extremely moving and powerful story, with truthful acting and graphic violence that has a reason to be there, because if you cut off some of the violence, if you didn't see it happen, you will say it never happened. It is a movie with a real hero, because think about how many heroes we have now, not many. The story is amazing, the directing is wise and the movie overall is one of a kind. Full Review »
  2. FrancisL
    Jul 30, 2009
    Such a stridently powerful film. It brings to light and issue that must be exposed! I strongly support positive change in Iran and this movie will definitely serve as a catalyst to that cause. Furthermore the acting, the atmosphere and themes themselves all make for an immersing film that you'll have to see to truly understand. I highly recommend this film for activist and film-lover alike. Full Review »
  3. GerryF.
    Jul 19, 2009
    Definitely worth seeing. Critics - 5/10, Real People 10/10. The critics in the main stream media would rather trash this masterpiece as it exposes Real Evil, and glorify movies like An Inconvenient Trust which exposes nothing but Liberal fear mongering over EVIL, which can only exist in the mind of a Liberal. This movie deserves and Academy Award, but that will never happen. Full Review »