Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. A beautiful film, harrowing, tough and rife with grief.
  2. Immediately has you in its thrall and doesn't let go -- a reminder of how powerful and moving cinema set in wartime can be when all the elements align.
  3. 100
    Takes a chaotic moment in the long history of "the Troubles" and turns it into a keening, air-clearing epic.
  4. It's unmistakably the work of aging cinema activist Loach, who wears his social-justice heart on his sleeve and pauses the story for lively debates among the characters, especially as Sinn Fein signs a treaty that many think betrays the cause.
  5. The Wind That Shakes the Barley turns out to be a more complicated, more dramatically potent story than it appears at first. It's concerned at its core not with how bad the British were but with what the cost of dealing with them was for the Irish.
  6. 90
    The history presented in The Wind That Shakes the Barley hardly feels like a closed book or a museum display. It is as alive and as troubling as anything on the evening news, though far more thoughtful and beautiful.
  7. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    Loach hurls us into the fracas, circa 1920, and creates such a vivid sense of the nuts and bolts of guerilla war you almost forget you are watching a period piece. Unlike the epic sweep of Neil Jordan's "Billy Collins," which spoke in a syntax closer to Hollywood's, "The Wind" doesn't paint over its political arguments with a patina of nostalgia.
  8. 90
    A sombrely beautiful dream of the violent Irish past. Refusing the standard flourishes of Irish wildness or lyricism, Loach has made a film for our moment, a time of bewildering internecine warfare.
  9. Loach's cast fits perfectly, and his directing has his usual extra tang of commitment. He provides almost a sensory response to his material: we seem to feel the textures and scent the air.
  10. 88
    The Wind that Shakes the Barley is a multi-layered story, and the more you see those different aspects, the more you'll enjoy the film.
  11. Beautifully shot, both in darkened homes and on the misty green Irish landscape by Loach's frequent cinematographer Barry Aykroyd, "Wind" has a you-are-there intensity and intimacy about it that make it nearly overwhelming. But for all its violence and subsequent sadness, it's a movie of extraordinary importance.
  12. Gripping, powerful, heart-breaking.
  13. 88
    The vicious clamor the film occasioned in the U.K. is simply the measure of how volatile a subject the relationship between England and Ireland remains more than eight decades after the film's events, and the thinking viewer can hardly help but see parallels between the Irish insurgency and all subsequent guerrilla conflicts.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 59 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. Jul 29, 2011
    10
    Cilian Murphy Was AMAZING,The Whole Film Was Brilliant With Brilliant Filmmaking And Superb Acting,Mesmerizing Music,Cinematography WasCilian Murphy Was AMAZING,The Whole Film Was Brilliant With Brilliant Filmmaking And Superb Acting,Mesmerizing Music,Cinematography Was Excellent.

    Great Film

    10/10.
    Full Review »
  2. May 1, 2014
    8
    The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a war film that is far more than your typical war film. It is dark, yes, but it is deeply emotional andThe Wind That Shakes the Barley is a war film that is far more than your typical war film. It is dark, yes, but it is deeply emotional and entirely tragic, yet beautiful all the same. From the shots of the lovely Irish countryside to the interactions amongst the characters to the costumes, the film was very much a beautiful one. However, it is the acting and characterization of the characters that really help to make this film a home run. In war films, there is typically a plethora of action with little-to-no character development. However, here, we get both. We are not shielded to the carnage of war as there is plenty of "action", but we also get the emotional trauma that accompanies war in the characters' interactions with one another and their families. Cillian Murphy and cast also kill their roles and really handle this one perfectly, as does the director, Ken Loach. Another strength for the film is the delicacy with which is handles the tension between the British and the Irish. Yes, the British are depicted as evil and unjust, but we are not given a romanticized version of the IRA either. Instead, we see them doing exactly what the British do, but since we are seeing the war through their eyes, we are not angered by their actions. But, by showing them doing exactly what the Brits do, especially at the end, the film allows us to realize that there is no true bad guy and both sides have rotten elements to them. Nobody is truly innocent on either side. At the end of the day though, the violence and trauma depicted effect everybody involved in the war effort, whether directly or indirectly. A beautifully tragic film, The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a very good film. It is not a great one, but it is hard to ask for much more from a film of this kind. Full Review »
  3. Feb 18, 2011
    8
    Brothers at war - Damien O'Donell sacrifices his possibilities of having a career as a doctor in order to fight for Ireland with his brotherBrothers at war - Damien O'Donell sacrifices his possibilities of having a career as a doctor in order to fight for Ireland with his brother during the Irish war of independence in 1920. Outmaneouvered and understaffed by British Black and Tans patrols, they join the Irish republican army with their closest friends. All though significantly outnumbered, they refuse to give away their independence to the United Kingdom and retaliates with unconditional patriotism. As the war increases and lives are lost, Damien falls in love with his childhood friend Sinead, who operates as their informant and provides them with food and artillery. The democracy amongst the inhabitants in Ireland are beginning to doubt their chances against the Brits, and the differences in opinion are about to complicate the relationship between Damien and Teddy.

    In "The Wind That Shakes the Barley", the great humanitarian Ken Loach went far back in history to depict the Irish War of independence (1919-1921) and the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). He also moved to new surroundings, and unlike most of his films which are set in cities: "Riff-Raff" (1990), "LadybirdLadybird" (1994), "My Name Is Joe" (1998) and "Ae Fond Kissâ
    Full Review »