Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. 100
    The movie is brilliant, really. It is philosophy, illustrated through everyday events. Most movies operate as if their events are necessary--that B must follow A. "13 Conversations" betrays B, A and all the other letters as random possibilities.
  2. 100
    It's a remarkable, thoughtful achievement that will make you want to watch it twice. You should.
  3. 90
    The superb ensemble never plays for sympathy, and the movie isn't as depressing as it may sound. Its hushed, contemplative quality is oddly affecting.
  4. Demands the utmost concentration, for to look away from the screen for even a brief moment is to risk losing a plot line or a crucial bit of information, but its cumulative, transporting impact makes it worth the effort. Above all, it has an overwhelming sense of reality atypical of the American cinema.
  5. Thrillingly smart, but not, like so many other pictures in this vein, merely an elaborate excuse for its own cleverness. As you puzzle over the intricacies of its shape, which reveal themselves only in retrospect, you may also find yourself surprised by the depth of its insights.
  6. Reviewed by: David Stratton
    90
    This intelligent, engaging indie sets out to find a few answers and in the process introduces a clutch of interesting, very human characters.
  7. 90
    By the time Sprecher's skeins, set forth in 13 related episodes, come together, we've got as clear a view of the big picture as we got assembling the elements of "Nashville," "Lantana" or "Magnolia".
  8. 88
    Resonates with intelligence and a poignancy made more sorrowful by what happened to all of us, but especially to New Yorkers, on that terrible day.
  9. 80
    It takes a while for this oddball film -- a mosaic of stories in the style of "Magnolia" -- to take hold, but when it does, it grabs you hard.
  10. In this movie, only one thing is certain: No one remains the same.
  11. 75
    Nothing fantastic or supernatural ever happens, but you can still feel cosmic forces at work behind the scenes, conspiring to repeatedly test the movie's characters, doling out reward and punishment in equal doses.
  12. The segments are introduced with little clichés or homilies, like "Ignorance Is Bliss," but the fierce intelligence of the script reminds us that sometimes a cliché is the only way to express the ineffable.
  13. Mostly this elegant little film is a case study in the inconsistency of thoughts and feelings. Here, moralists break commandments, intellectuals act emotionally, and cynics have moments of idealism.
  14. What's exciting is that the Sprechers have delved into territory that is normally the domain of literature and have emerged with a film that's neither overly literary nor simplistic.
  15. Smart, serious and deftly composed, New York director Jill Sprecher's jigsaw anthology film, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, is the kind of work you want to applaud just for its ambitions.
  16. Avoids pretension by never trying to be more than it is -- an acknowledgment that things frequently are not as bad as they seem. That's a concept that deserves a little spreading.
  17. 70
    It starts slowly, but this contemplative drama's cumulative effect is genuinely haunting.
  18. 70
    Encircles the viewer in a comforting, open-hearted humanism. It’s a quiet, modest piece of work, but no less lovely for it.
  19. Arkin has a great and gentle feeling for small-time malcontents, and he knows how to make their woes our own. He does justice to the human comedy -- and redeems the movie.
  20. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    67
    For a movie about happiness, Thirteen Conversations is terribly joyless. Thirteen Conversations tries hard and its ambitions are provocative, but its conversations often fall like that Zen tree in the forest.
  21. 63
    Seems afraid to cut loose in the manner of Robert Altman or Paul Thomas Anderson, so this labor of love suffers from an overly earnest and morose tone. Which, given the cast in Thirteen Conversations, is a real shame.
  22. 60
    In spite of the uniformly strong performances, 13 Conversations largely factors out human nature, leaving a giant puzzle where each piece is pre-determined to fall into place. In the end, the Sprechers have a movie for people who brag about finishing the New York Times Sunday crossword in pen.
  23. 58
    Judging by the title, though, Sprecher made the movie she wanted to make, and if you're in the right damp-wool mood, you may connect with it too.
  24. Reviewed by: Bill White
    58
    The character crossovers between narratives, however, are too contrived to work.
  25. 50
    Aspiring to evoke an unreal city stranded in the autumn of the soul, the film succeeds only when it peers up from the intro-philosophy book for the occasional glimpse of everyday beauty.
  26. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    40
    Writer-director Jill Sprecher doesn't have the deftness or sad humour that P. T. Anderson uses in his similarly contrived group portraits, but the cast are, at least, individually fine.

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