Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 31
  2. Negative: 4 out of 31
  1. Filmmakers have presented an unvarnished drama about Marshall University and the people who love it, and the results are inspirational.
  2. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    Surprisingly restrained and undeniably entertaining.
  3. 75
    Equally thrilling and wrenching, the film is an absolute must for anyone who loves sports and an eloquent explanation for those who don't understand what the fuss is about.
  4. 75
    "Charlie's Angels" director Joseph McGinty Nichol (aka McG) shows surprising restraint with this emotionally freighted material, weighting the movie heavily towards relationships.
  5. 75
    The actor's (McConaughey) lovable exuberance is exactly what this heartsick movie needs.
  6. 75
    We Are Marshall is precisely what one expects from a true sports story: it's uplifting and inspiring.
  7. Often as not, the movie works. Here and there, it works kind of beautifully.
  8. The result is a movie that inspires without pontificating and plays on the heartstrings without pounding on them incessantly.
  9. 70
    The film is injected with a refreshing energy whenever McConaughey is on-screen, balancing some of the inherent sadness of the story.
  10. "Lost" star Matthew Fox pitches in with a strong performance as a coach who, by the laws of whimsy, didn't take the final flight home and had to struggle with survivor's guilt.
  11. To the movie's credit, the cast is better than average.
  12. McConaughey tucks into the role like a hungry man gobbling a ham sandwich.
  13. An enjoyable time-waster, distinguished by an unexpectedly sharp comic turn by McConaughey, lots of boisterous horseplay and some stirring emotional clinches. All in all, an entirely serviceable night out for buddies looking to locate hidden feelings.
  14. What should have been an inspirational story about fortitude and courage in the face of mind-numbing tragedy becomes a compendium of sports cliches.
  15. Reviewed by: Mark Bell
    If you're a college football fan, a fan of sports films or just a sports aficionado with a sense of history, this film is a safe bet.
  16. 60
    McG's Marshall lies at the nexus of Thornton Wilder and Norman Rockwell -- it's David Lynch without the irony -- and if he overdoes things a touch, there’s nothing disingenuous about it.
  17. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Full of good intentions, We Are Marshall has a game plan that's hard to fault, but as with any playbook, a scheme is only as good as how well it's executed.
  18. We Are Marshall has little of the bone-crunchingsincerity of the recent pigskin rouser "Invincible." This one is more like Unconvincing.
  19. It's a powerful subject, but director McG and screenwriter Jamie Linden haul out every cliché in the playbook.
  20. 58
    It's uplifting, but shallow.
  21. We Are Marshall is less a movie than a commemoration.
  22. 50
    Has the kind of soulful subject matter that will strike some as profoundly emotional, but it gets a flag for roughing the tear ducts. This isn't football - it's cornball.
  23. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    We can only speculate why McConaughey chose to play the role this way, but in all honesty, it's a good thing he did. His loony performance is the only surprising thing about this otherwise paint-by-numbers inspirational drama.
  24. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    Even by the low standards of the young-jocks-as-good-clean-soldiers movie, there's little at stake here, unless you count the kids' hunger to win one for the Gipper.
  25. 50
    Matthew McConaughey injects some much needed life as the oddball coach who sets out to rebuild the football squad, and David Strathairn, Ian McShane, and Robert Patrick do their best with sketchy characters and artless dialogue.
  26. There are football movies, and then there's this 800-pound gorilla of a gridiron weepie, which should be penalized for roughing the viewer.
  27. 40
    There are so many emotions in We Are Marshall that there's hardly any room for football -- and when we finally get some, even THAT'S clogged with excess feeling.
  28. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Its use of trite "Win one for the Gipper" dialogue, overbearing soaring music and conventional plot devices makes it far too formulaic to truly move us.
  29. A movie like We Are Marshall stands or falls on its ability to make you feel the pain and loss of individuals in a place where community pride and football are one and the same. As the film, directed by McG (the "Charlie's Angels" movies) from a wooden screenplay by Jamie Linden, follows a handful of Huntington residents during the months after the accident, not one of them comes fully to life.
  30. 25
    No go. Marshall deserved better than this misbegotten tribute.
  31. May not be a very enjoyable movie, but at least the badness is in good taste.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 107 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 57
  2. Negative: 6 out of 57
  1. LawrenceM.
    Dec 17, 2006
    Cliched and stale. Note to movie execs: it's time to relegate all tragic "based on a true story," "overcoming human misery to ultimately succeed" Disney-fied movies to Lifetime. Note #2 to movie execs: stop casting Matthew McConaughey in any sort of drama role. Actually, in any role, for that matter. Full Review »
  2. Jun 2, 2013
    One of my all-time favorite sport movies. It's such a tragic, touching story. I like the way this film balances plot and sport, with sports serving almost as a secondary element. Very touching film. Underrated/appreciated in so many ways. Full Review »
  3. Apr 21, 2011
    I always think, man, if an actor performs badly, it is the fault of the director, and not the actor. I truly believe that actors are victim of poor scripts and poor directing. Matthew and the other talented men and women are thrown under the wheels of a horrible screenplay, with shallow dialogue, cliched characters, and superfluous, melodramatic sequences. I feel for these people... Full Review »