This Must Be the Place


Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 29
  2. Negative: 4 out of 29

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Nov 1, 2012
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Oct 31, 2012
    The film's numerous idiosyncrasies - virtues at the outset - ultimately suffocate it.
  3. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Oct 27, 2012
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Oct 27, 2012
    Determinedly quirky and cool, arresting and ultimately too baffling to be satisfying, although Penn is priceless. Cultdom beckons.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Oct 27, 2012
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Oct 27, 2012
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 2, 2012
    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.
  8. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Nov 1, 2012
    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.
  9. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 11, 2013
    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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 7
  2. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. Dec 29, 2012
    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 firstJust 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
    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.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
    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 »