Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 29
  2. Negative: 4 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Nov 12, 2012
    100
    Sean Penn makes a striking screen presence in This Must Be the Place, a smart, funny and original road movie by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino ("Il Divo").
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Nov 1, 2012
    90
    Maybe, beneath the stylistic flourishes and bursts of operatic emotion, it is a simple story of psychological struggle, about a man in midlife reckoning with the damage of his past. But to settle on that interpretation is to deny or discount the splendid strangeness of Mr. Sorrentino's vision - and also, therefore, of the curious corners of reality he discovers along the way.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Nov 14, 2012
    88
    Few actors have played a wider variety of characters, and even fewer have done it without making it seem like a stunt.
  4. Reviewed by: Joseph Jon Lanthier
    Oct 28, 2012
    88
    The film believes in maturity, but only as a freely continual process of acceptance.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike D Angelo
    Oct 31, 2012
    83
    This Must Be The Place practically dares viewers not to find it ridiculous, but few will accept the challenge.
  6. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Nov 15, 2012
    80
    It's hard to imagine sitting through the film without Penn in the role of Cheyenne. But there he is, in all his intense, bizarre glory, almost daring us to come along for the ride and rewarding us with a compelling trip when we accept.
  7. Reviewed by: Chris Packham
    Nov 1, 2012
    80
    Sorrentino's languorous photography, understated humor, and quiet but profound dramatic reveals coil together into something organic, whole, and achingly sweet.
  8. Reviewed by: Andrew Lowry
    Oct 27, 2012
    80
    Succeeding against the odds and adroitly blending its disparate elements, this is a fine entry into the Eurodirector-gawps-at-America subgenre.
  9. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Oct 27, 2012
    80
    Quirky, hilarious and moving, Sorrentino's first English-lingo production is a road trip of stunning scope yet deep intimacy, featuring an aged rock star-turned-Nazi hunter played by Sean Penn at his transformative best.
  10. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Nov 14, 2012
    78
    Mixing faded rock glory with Nazi-hunting and American road-tripping creates an odd hybrid that is completely transfixing, although some viewers are likely to find this film an awkward mishmash. The drama, however, is consistently offset by comic underpinnings, which are well-played by the actors and seamlessly presented by Sorrentino.
  11. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Nov 14, 2012
    75
    This Must Be the Place is a movie existing in a zonked-out realm where reality smashes head-on with a train-wreck hero too strange to be real, unless you're the love child of Ozzy Osbourne and the Cure's Robert Smith.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Nov 8, 2012
    75
    This isn't a great movie, but it is a special one. And Penn is something to see.
  13. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Nov 4, 2012
    70
    The director seems to be drawing a line from the horror of the war years to the infantilism of the Boomers and rock; the father lost his innocence, and the son froze his.
  14. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Nov 1, 2012
    70
    This mashup of genres and themes doesn't entirely succeed, but it is warm, funny and ably crafted.
  15. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Oct 27, 2012
    70
    This Must Be the Place is dazzling to behold, not least when our hero leaves Ireland. [29 Oct. & 5 Nov. 2012, p.128]
  16. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Nov 23, 2012
    63
    Penn has created a colorful tour guide, but in This Must Be the Place, there's no there there.
  17. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Nov 1, 2012
    60
    If the movie doesn't entirely get past its hard-to-buy premise, director Paolo Sorrentino does have the courage of his convictions, not just embracing every contradiction but spinning many of the story's contrivances into moments of strange, aching beauty.
  18. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Oct 31, 2012
    60
    The film's numerous idiosyncrasies - virtues at the outset - ultimately suffocate it.
  19. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Oct 27, 2012
    60
    Determinedly quirky and cool, arresting and ultimately too baffling to be satisfying, although Penn is priceless. Cultdom beckons.
  20. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Oct 27, 2012
    60
    With a sure-to-be-talked about performance by Sean Penn and the dueling themes of overcoming depression and revenge against Nazi atrocities, This Must Be The Place is anywhere BUT the place for moviegoers who aren't in the mood for something different.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Oct 27, 2012
    60
    The Holocaust material was not entirely successful, though certainly transmitted with absolute certainty and sincerity. This Must Be the Place is not my favourite of Sorrentino's films, but it certainly deserved inclusion at Cannes, and deserves to be watched for the glorious Byrne moments alone.
  22. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Oct 27, 2012
    50
    Eccentric, misguided and occasionally charming and sweet, this curiosity item with Sean Penn in one of his nuttier performances is unlikely to be embraced critically or commercially.
  23. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 2, 2012
    42
    Sean Penn is one of those actors, like Nicolas Cage, who is best (sometimes worst) when he's over-the-top. Unlike Cage, Penn doesn't pour himself into dreadful commercial vehicles. No, his dreadful movies are usually not destined for the multiplex. Case in point: This Must Be the Place.
  24. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Nov 1, 2012
    42
    Sorrentino's very title suggests someone who doesn't have the most well-defined sense of where they ultimately want to wind up; as goes the Talking Heads song, so goes the movie.
  25. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 11, 2013
    40
    There's no "place" in this place, no clear destination -- and no real payoff in a film that stands a cinematic curiosity but little more.
  26. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 1, 2012
    33
    Guided by an over-the-top Nazi hunter played by Judd Hirsch (clearly enjoying himself), Cheyenne begins a road trip through Middle American that goes nowhere, and Penn's mopey has-been routine starts to feel like a bad joke that just keeps getting worse.
  27. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Nov 15, 2012
    25
    This Must Be the Place is as emotionally zonked-out as its protagonist, and just as difficult to warm up to.
  28. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Nov 9, 2012
    25
    Worst of all, in promoting its hero's eccentric journey as a voyage of healing, the movie replaces emotional precision and intellectual honesty with syrupy sincerity and insistence. It turns boring and cute and begs us to love it.
  29. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Nov 1, 2012
    20
    As juxtapositions go, regressed Goth rock star and Holocaust could hardly be more bizarre, and bizarre can be good when it's done deftly. In this case, however, it's done ponderously and sententiously.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Dec 29, 2012
    3
    Just a mess. This film feels like it was written by a class of stoned film students. Ideas are thrown together seemingly at random. The first part is set in Dublin, with Sean Penn playing Robert Smith. Penn delivers all his lines as though he is watching a really good TV show and is very, very tired. That is ok for the first 10 minutes. France's McDormand doesn't even have to try to steal every scene, and the film gets worse when Penn and we leave her in Ireland and go to America. There's a road journey to Texas, which has no point, a quest which has something to do wight the holocaust (rather insultingly) and wasted cameos by David Byrne and Harry Dean Stanton. None of the characters are there for any reason other than to contribute to banal, disjointed scenes which become quite boring. One example - Penn drives through a puddle and drenches a uniformed marching band. He gets out and says he is sorry, although they should know he did it on purpose. This is the kind of scene that must seem like fun when you are high and desperate to come up with something, but when you string dozens of these scenes together, it's alienating, pointless, and a waste of the talent available. Full Review »
  2. Apr 13, 2013
    4
    This film was created solely to test those who rate films. If you gave it more than a 5 (out of 10) then you are too dumb to rate movies. There is nothing going on here. It is a waste of talent and should never have been green-lighted. Full Review »
  3. Nov 4, 2012
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I completely understand where Joe Morgenstern is coming from in his pan of this film - and when I truly think about it, it's not a film of immense substance, and it doesn't make sense in many ways. But there's something about the way that Penn plays the role that connects with me. The portrayal reminds me of a friend, and perhaps that colored my judgement a bit, but I really feel like I need to see this film again. His ultimate treatment of the Nazi war criminal seemed a bit out of left field to me, and I'm sure it was meant as food for thought. It's the most disturbing movie in an otherwise genial, benign flick. Full Review »