Metascore
91

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 21 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: Not far from Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya, and Issan, their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined toNot far from Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya, and Issan, their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes when Kidane accidentally kills Amadou, the fisherman who slaughtered his beloved cow. He now has to face the new laws of the foreign occupants. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 29
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 29
  3. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jan 29, 2015
    100
    If Timbuktu — a nominee for this year’s foreign-film Oscar — were politically astute and nothing more, it would still serve a valuable purpose. But the film throbs with humanity, and abounds in extraordinary images.
  2. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Feb 12, 2015
    100
    In providing audiences a chance to bear witness to unspeakable suffering as well as dazzling defiance and human dignity, Sissako has created a film that’s a privilege to watch.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Mar 19, 2015
    100
    The movie Timbuktu is as fresh as today’s headlines, but it’s paced and photographed like a timeless slice of life. It’s an exquisite, wise and even funny film, easily the best of the year.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 6, 2015
    91
    Sissako, a Muslim, frames his story as a cry against religious intolerance. One of the characters, speaking of jihadism, says, “Where is piety? Where is God in all this?” It is the central question of this movie – and of much more now than this movie.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Feb 19, 2015
    88
    The Mauritanian-born Abderrahmane Sissako, one of the great filmmakers of sub-Saharan Africa, does not need to resort to propaganda in Timbuktu to denounce fanaticism. He has poetry. With subtlety, irony, and even humor, he gradually prepares the viewer for the horror to come.
  6. 80
    If Timbuktu has a “takeaway,” it’s a deeply humanist one and so, in this context, political: that there’s no such thing as a monolithic Muslim culture; that the threat is nowhere near as great to Westerners as to the people of Mali, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc.; that ideology is deaf and blind and anti-life; and that cinema (and all art) can blow it to what I’d once have called Timbuktu.
  7. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jan 26, 2015
    70
    Timbuktu is hard to grasp, as befits the sand-blown setting and the mythical status of the name. The more you try to define the movie, the faster it sifts away.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Feb 15, 2015
    8
    A powerful, insightful look at what happens when dogmatic fundamentalism is allowed to hold sway over a devout, peace-loving people looking toA powerful, insightful look at what happens when dogmatic fundamentalism is allowed to hold sway over a devout, peace-loving people looking to live their lives in everyday ways. This very deserving Oscar nominee for best foreign language film exposes a cynical, hypocritical, bullying power structure for what it really is -- and why it desperately needs to be removed from control. This isn't the easiest picture to watch at times, but it makes its statement in an undeniably clear way, one that, one would hope, inspires reformers to step to the forefront to bring about much-needed change. Expand
  2. Mar 3, 2015
    6
    When religious fundamentalists occupy a village in West Africa, they impose their beliefs and bans on the citizens. This leads to oppressionWhen religious fundamentalists occupy a village in West Africa, they impose their beliefs and bans on the citizens. This leads to oppression and resistance. One man lives peacefully with his wife and child in a remote tent until an accident brings the occupants' laws to their reality. Not only does this film reveal the irrational tyranny and tragedy brought by the Jihadists, it provides glimpses into the small town life in this part of the world. The story isn't structured in a traditional sense, but is rich with cultural observations. The pace is leisurely, the emotion is underplayed and the narrative takes a back seat to the way of life, but it's still a interesting examination. In subtitles. Expand

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