User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16

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  1. May 7, 2011
    I saw the movie and I liked it. I may have some secondary flaws, but the negative critiques are missing that in this movie the most important thing is the what (the content, the message), and not the how. And its message of forgiveness and redemption is just what we need.
  2. May 6, 2011
    The powerful and compelling movie,"There Be Dragons" moves the viewer to search within and face his own inner dragons that ultimately need to be slayed in order to find forgiveness and happiness. Are you afraid of your inner dragons? This movie will help you face them. Any movie that can accomplish that deserves 5 stars!
  3. May 7, 2011
    To Enrique -- I do not belong to Opus Dei. However, I have several friends who do belong. For the past ten years, I have gone to some of their days of recollection. My friends who belong are some of the holiest people I have ever met.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. If you did not, that is your choice. But I think Your negative commentary was more than a movie review.
  4. May 7, 2011
    People of Opus Dei: could you stop voting 10 for this movie? In every place where there are reviews about this movie, a group of people vote 10 without any kind of doubt. This is ridiculous, donâ
  5. May 14, 2011
    Excellent film, worth watching more than once to get the best out of it. I can't understand why some people can say bad things about this movie. This is exactly the kind of movie we need these days. Stories that makes us think and rethink our lives. Of course we all have to face our dragons (and deal with our sufferings)...the message of the film is one of forgiveness and redemption, more importantly about the mercy of God who is always ready to forgive us. THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. Even in the technical aspect, the movie delivers; the photography is superb, the dialogue is beautiful, great sound effects and post production work; even the music is perfect (the composer did a great job). I don't think the point of the movie is to educate people about the Spanish Civil war nor about Opus Dei. The main point of this film is simple and beautiful (and there is a mystical beauty and truth to simple things)...FORGIVENESS, forgiveness in any context is good....people can critique this film and say whatever they want, but if they don't focus on the foundation of the message (they clearly failed to understand it).
    Enrique, coincidentally we share the same name, but totally diametrically opposite views. You are attacking irrevocably Opus Dei in a personal way, therefore you are not even contributing with objective opinion of the movie. It seems to me like you still have to face your dragons (which are entirely yours) . In fact, this movie can help you more than you think. My advice is go see it again with fresh eyes, get yourself out of the equation and think about all the good this movie can do for other people; people that are divorcing, separating, hating and unwilling to forgive. One more thing to all the potential viewers; this movie also speaks about humility which is one of the most difficult and mysterious things in life. Josemaria lived a heroic life, and no matter how much he has been attacked and put down, you should ask yourself why a director who is a non catholic decides to put his testimony on the big screen for other to see...and let others know that we can all (even you Enrique) be like him.
    We should be supporting this movie and echoing its universal messages of love, faith, friendship and can any of this be a bad thing?....everyone should see it!!!!
  6. May 14, 2011
    I strongly recommend this movie, despite agreeing with some of the professional critics' negative observations. The dialogue was stilted in places, the Spanish accents uneven, and the fictional storyline a bit formulaic. But there is a lot going on at a deeper level, which makes it worth seeing more than once (as others have noted). It's one of those movies that I've found stays with me for several days after viewing it -- scenes or lines will come to mind at what seem like random times, but when I think about it, I can see and actually use the connection. I would have liked Manolo to be a more balanced character so as to sympathize with his suffering and regret. Roberto and Leila, I thought, were annoyingly trite. But Charlie Cox's Josemaria was irresistible, which helped me to understand how he could have attracted so many people to his vision of the Christian life. I found it supremely refreshing to see Christianity and especially the Catholic priesthood portrayed positively in a Hollywood production. Reviews that criticize the movie for not being forthright about Escriva's support for Franco and Opus Dei's secrecy seem prejudiced: maybe they don't come through because they are, in fact, not true. I think it's interesting and also a shame, that whenever something is put forward in a favorable light, someone behind it is assumed to have a self-serving agenda. As Josemaria said, "God's world is so full of goodness"....even when there is war and suffering. Other movies I've seen this year took me out of my life for a couple of hours and made me feel good; this one took me more deeply into my life and gave me inspiration to actually be good. Speaking for myself, I'd rather pay $13 for the later. Expand
  7. Jul 14, 2011
    First let me say to Enrique, It sounds like you have an ax to grind with Opus Dei. you must have been privy to their secret memos about "influencing the media". Get real! Nobody knew what Opus Dei was until Dan Brown's silly little novel was made into a book and Tom Hanks and Ron Howard kept mentioning Opus Dei in the millions of press interviews promoting their movie. Opus Dei is an organization for people who want to live holy lives outside of church. No money making scheme here. They function on donations just as any other not-for-profit does. Members are not recruited they are "called" . And I am not a member or even a catholic I'm a CPA with a few Opus Dei clients . Enough said.
    On to the movie....Not perfect, but I agree with Christy, well worth the $13. You will be well entertained. It is much deeper than its flaws and makes the moviegoer think about his own actions and human imperfection. As a non-christian this movie was more moving than I expected. Hopefully when you see this movie you won't waste time with the minor details. They really are not all that destracting to the average person who enjoys a great story. And scenes and lines from the film pop into your thoughts for several days later.
  8. lar
    May 8, 2011
    This is a very powerful message of forgiveness. As with many good movies such as Kings Speech, it is better the second time around. I think it is fair to say we all have a few dragons in our life and when we have the courage to face them it is very freeing. I think Jaffe nailed it with this one.
  9. May 9, 2011
    One of the things I liked is that the acting was good (especially Charlie Cox), and the film was entertaining (although the end dragged-on). The story was a bit lame, but it was trying to frame a larger story with a very deep meaning. I needed to see it more than once just to get all the lines. It is nice to finally see a movie that isn't paper thin, especially in these days of special effects. Most movies these days are like a meal insofar as I cannot even remember what I saw the next day. The message in this one was special because I couldn't stop thinking about it for a few days. Expand
  10. May 9, 2011
    Excellent movie, so many things to talk about, loyalty, friendship, forgiveness, never giving up on people, faith in God. I saw it last Friday & was impressed that so many people who came really didn't know what the movie was about ahead of time. We could talk about Manolo's dragons, his friendship, that Josemaria never gave up on his friend. Manolo (like the prodigal son) sees the errors of his ways in the acts of those people he thought would help him become something great (the general, his father, girl). we could also talk about Josemaria & seeing the horros of war, his friend being shot on the street, leaving his family behind, in some ways feeling abandoned by God. i would see it again! Expand
  11. May 10, 2011
    Good film, as an Spaniard I think it's a good approach to our complicated civil war, as it falls far from the myths of one and other side, and gets close to how it really was. I paste here my comment in imdb, with some modifications:

    "The film is technically quite interesting. It starts with a short sequence that shows the deepest Spanish soul in a lost village near France. This sequence
    has an impeccable cut and setting, and works as introduction of the characters and situation. In my opinion the best sequence (speaking as cinema "freak"). The best thing in the film is the photography, which takes the viewer 1920s Spain.

    The script is also quite interesting. Although the main character in the film is the Spanish priest Josemaria Escriva, he is not the protagonist of the story (literally speaking, not meta-literally). This makes the film more interesting, as it plays with 2 people weighting their importance by their personality and their role in the story. Josemaria is the alter-ego Manolo, both are attractive persons that keep the attention of the viewer, which at the end should judge. Another success of the script is the usage of time. The main story happens in 1920 and 1930, but it is told as memories in the 80s, when the son of Manolo has to write an article about Josemaria, which is going to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Robert discovers that his father came from the same little village of Josemaria, and asks to his father about him. The answer give the title to the film "there be dragons".

    Now let's go with the dragons. The makers knew that the film was going to be surrounded by dragons. Opus Dei, communism, revolution, Catholics and the Spanish Civil War... this film has all the ingredients to be a big scandal. The film has the collaboration of some members of the Opus Dei (at least 2 of the producers are) and the organization has given information and access to the documentation about Josemaria. The film also shows a period of the Spanish history which still is a taboo in this country. In Spain, still today, there are mainly 2 opposite streams: pro-franquists and pro-republicans. The film success- in my opinion- to show that as in any war there were no good and bads (which has shocked the Spanish population), that in both sides there were good and bad people, good goals but bad means. My personal opinion is that it success to show the real left of Spain, breaking with the franquist propaganda of the left as communist criminals, but also breaking the view given to Americans by Hemingway that the left in Spain was the advocate of Democracy and freedom. Maybe the film fails to show the right-side of the war, but nevertheless is- in my opinion- the best representation of the civil war that I have seen in art.

    Only a non-Spanish could make such a good representation of the Civil War, and only a person like Joffe could dive enough to make such a good representation."
  12. May 12, 2011
    I saw the movie and really liked it. It is a story that moved me and made me want to be a better person when i left the movie theatre. Also helped me forgive my ex boyfriend who hurt me very much and i feel free now and happier. I wish we get to see more good movies like this, unfortunately what sells the most are the trashy and empty productions, it says a lot of how the world is turning these days. thanks for this movie! Expand
  13. Aug 2, 2011
    This movie tells a beautiful story of love and faith between two young boys whose lives remain intertwined even until death. I enjoyed the historical aspects as well as the deep insight of faith to each individual. The story is bittersweet, yet allows us to see a new perspective concerning World War II.
  14. Jan 13, 2012
    A great movie. One of the best I've seen all year. It has a profound realism to the Spanish Civil War and gives us much appreciation for what Spain and it's people went through during the 1930's, a fact of history that is often lost on American audiences. Also the background on the distinctions of social classes and the affect on one's character and one's trajectory through life is very evident. Also, the film's depiction of Catholic priests is very true to the reality, so true that I have strongly recommend it to friends of mine who do not understand or have misconceptions to the Catholic religion. The line of thinking, the attitude, and utmost compassion of all the priests in the film are extremely close to that of the priests I observed in Catholic school. The ideas, the mindset, the philosophies, the outlook on life of the priests depicted in the film is almost exactly what was taught to me as a child and a teen while attending Catholic school. So I greatly appreciate seeing something so true to my the reality of my upbringing depicted on the big screen.

    I greatly enjoyed how the film showed the Priest's weaknesses and how he must deal with keeping his vows and the ideals of his vocation in a time of war.

    I also did enjoy seeing the strong female character. The Hungarian Communist who falls in love with orator. I liked seeing how well written she was in that even in her most vulnerable to time she does not sell out, she stays true to her ideals. But like most women who are true to themselves, she is punished. But I am glad to see her existence rather than not at all.

    True, the Spanish accents could use some work, but other than that I have no complaints.

    I think people who do not like this movie are those individuals who hold some bigoted notions. If you looked inside their brain you would find that they either hate Catholics, are threatened by strong women, are racist to Latinos and so by their ignorance lump Spain into the same lot as Mexico and Puerto Rico thinking it's all the same (f.y.i. Spain is part of Europe, not part of Latin America), or don't like upper middle class boys being depicted as ruthless, heartless, murderous spies. Because honestly, there is no other reason not to give this film an 8 at the very least, and that's if you're getting nit picky.

    To the critics who put "There Be Dragons" down, you have no depth and so your opinions don't mean a penny to those of us with thinking brains. And have fun at your next Britney Spear's concert, I'm sure your reviews of it will be glowing since it's more your taste.
  15. Mar 21, 2012
    The film was selected from Red Box by my wife but as it happens I had been looking into Opus Dei because of Santorum's affiliation with, if not outright membership in, this strange organization. My appetite whetted for more information after watching the movie, I looked up Escrivas entry on Wickipedia. Although the Wikipedia entry mentions some of the controversy surrounding Escriva, the biographical details match pretty closely what we saw in the film. What I have come away with from my admittedly limited research is that to Escriva, when he was alive, and to the organization he founded, image is all all that matters. In protecting its image and that of its founder at all costs, Opus dei strongly resembles other "religious" cults like the LDS and Scientologists who have elevated their founders, the very human Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard, to saintly status. Of the three only Josemaria could become an actual saint, a status he apparently aspired to even before his death. This film was a heavy handed propaganda schlock job commissioned and funded by Opus Dei. 18 of the 19 reviews appearing on this website pan the movie while 14 of 15 users thought it was great. Should I be surprised?

    Notwithstanding the high marks given this film by the users, I thought it was a ;pretty bad and 18 of the 19 critics whose reviews appear on this site it thought so too. Since the film was conceived and funded by Opus Dei, it's not a stretch to conclude all or most of the user reviews were writen yu OD members. I have been looking into Opus Dei during the last week or so .

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 19
  2. Negative: 8 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    May 6, 2011
    The flashback sequences sometimes come across like "'For Whom the Bell Tolls' for Dummies."
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    May 6, 2011
    There Be Dragons is tethered to the earth by a tangled plot, wooden acting and the heavy burden of healing old wounds.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    May 6, 2011
    History can be an equalizer, so director Roland Joffe ("The Killing Fields," "The Mission") makes sure saints and sinners all get painted with the same uninteresting brush in this fact-based drama.