Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. This is a film of terrific selectivity. By focusing on two of the few who did survive the collapse, the film achieves emotional power and an uplifting ending.
  2. Mr. Stone has taken a public tragedy and turned it into something at once genuinely stirring and terribly sad. His film offers both a harrowing return to a singular, disastrous episode in the recent past and a refuge from the ugly, depressing realities of its aftermath.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    World Trade Center celebrates the ties that bind us, the bonds that keep us going, the goodness that stands as a rebuke to the horror of that day. Perhaps, in the future, the times will call for more challenging, or polemical, or subversive visions. Right now, it feels like the 9/11 movie we need.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    90
    Very simply, World Trade Center is a powerful movie experience, a hymn in plainsong that glorifies that which is best in the American spirit.
  5. It's as harrowing as moviegoing gets.
  6. The script by Andrea Berloff is stunning in its simplicity and aching details.
  7. 88
    World Trade Center is Stone's most potent motion picture since "Platoon," and may be the most accessible across-the-board since "Wall Street."
  8. The strong personalities of Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal, who play typical supportive wives, keep scenes from sagging.
  9. At its best it shares with Stone's finest work a feeling for the imminence of death and salvation.
  10. The lack of stellar performances gradually becomes a virtue of the movie as we forget we're watching actors in roles, and Stone builds a documentarylike veracity that gives the saga of the trapped cops and their loved ones a riveting immediacy.
  11. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    80
    Even without his box of political tricks, Oliver Stone remains the foremost cinematic shrink for America's distress.
  12. 80
    This square movie, at its best, is very powerful.
  13. 75
    Undeniably affecting, but you leave it wanting more.
  14. 75
    A straightforward, earnest, sentimental picture: It's all the things you'd think a Sept. 11 movie directed by Oliver Stone would never be.
  15. 75
    A physically impressive, well-acted, sometimes emotionally powerful - and mostly apolitical - re-creation of that awful day that has some conservative pundits praising Stone as some sort of born-again patriot.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    Where "United 93" was a superb example of masterful storytelling, World Trade Center is a more conventional rendering.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    One reason World Trade Center is such a good, healing cry is that it absolves us of the discomfort of thinking about everything that has happened since.
  18. A scrupulous and honorable film. Yet it never comes close to being a revelatory one; it sentimentalizes more than it haunts.
  19. Where "United 93" was lean and merciless and got you thinking hard about how you might conduct yourself in a no-win situation, World Trade Center is reassuring.
  20. 75
    It may not tell us anything about terror in the new millennium, but the filmmakers' work is solid and affecting. In its own over-emphatic, sometimes clumsy way, it can move an audience to tears, cathartic laughs and cheers.
  21. 70
    World Trade Center is Stone's rehabilitation. It's not just courage that's honored, it's God's Will. It isn't only men who are saved, it's their families -- and their family values.
  22. Without being too glib about it, World Trade Center is a most improbable thing: an upbeat film about September 11, one of the few stories to emerge from that day to come with a happy ending.
  23. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    70
    World Trade Center yields lovely and touching moments but proves a slow-going, arduous movie experience.
  24. Stone has concentrated on one of the catastrophe's stories and has fashioned it well--with almost palpable physical detail, and with performances that never sink to exploitation.
  25. Although the conclusion is heavily sentimentalized, Stone finds the common ground Americans can rally around for relief from the devastation: We are, in the final analysis, good people.
  26. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    63
    Like Stone's "Platoon," World Trade Center has the visceral stuff it takes to appeal to audiences of all political stripes. Unlike "Platoon," however, its sense of craft feels impersonal.
  27. 63
    Stone, the master of the epic conspiracy and the operatic spectacle of diametrically opposed forces at war for men's souls, is so entangled in the trees that he's lost sight of the forest -- who could have imagined?
  28. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    63
    Underscored by the fragility of a plinking piano and well-timed flourishes to uplift, this heroic heartstring-tugger is still frequently and unexpectedly affecting, so much that it's able to hide its true face as a glorified movie-of-the-week.
  29. Despite the best efforts of the cast (Cage is especially evocative in a literally confined role), Stone can't disguise the fact that his movie, like his heroes, has come to a kinetic halt, stuck between a narrative rock and an emotional hard place.
  30. 60
    Perhaps only a marginally effective movie about 9/11, because, I suspect, there can be no such thing as an effective movie about 9/11 -- at least not right now.
  31. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    60
    A true story of courage and survival, yes. But viewing the destruction of the World Trade Center--in a film called World Trade Center--through this kind of prism represents a distinctly Hollywood brand of tunnel vision.
  32. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    60
    When Stone's movie is at its best, it simply ignores the temptation to say everything about 9/11, instead keeping its focus tightly trained on the two domestic dramas at its center.
  33. Stone does everything he can to do justice to the real-life people he's depicting, and yet nothing he does can cover up the film's single but overarching weakness: The personal story he uses to portray the larger event is limited in scope and impact.
  34. 50
    World Trade Center is fatally benign -- an unexceptionable and therefore unexceptional heroic narrative that does little to further the tentative creep of our pop culture toward parsing the significance of that catastrophic day.
  35. The problem is not so much that World Trade Center is an attempt to make a feel-good movie about a ghastly situation, it's that the result feels forced, manufactured and largely -- but not entirely -- unconvincing.
  36. World Trade Center shows us many things we already know, though with impressive flair, then plunges underground for an unconvincing drama based on a multitude of facts. It's upbeat, all right, but badly off kilter.
  37. It telegraphs its emotions loud and clear, but somehow they don't reach us.
  38. I don't question the legitimacy of celebrating the courage of these individuals and their families, and I can even tolerate the hokey nostalgia for World War II epics. But I'm troubled that the filmmakers have elided so much else of what happened on that day, as if it were some kind of neutral backdrop.
  39. 42
    The politics of Stone's 9/11 movie lean right, if they lean any way at all. Mostly, the film sits up straight and just wants to be loved by all. There are more controversial Hallmark cards.
  40. 40
    Almost unforgivably sentimental.
User Score
5.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 132 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 58
  2. Negative: 18 out of 58
  1. JohnF.
    Oct 24, 2008
    10
    Very emotional movie. THe acting was excellent and you never know how it will end until it is over. Great movie.
  2. Aug 24, 2014
    6
    There's a certain unique emotion surrounding this film--perhaps, because it is the first major film to depict that tragic day. Nicolas Cage along with director, Oliver Stone, give a very respectable take on two survivors and their future. Full Review »
  3. Mar 11, 2013
    10
    Stone's best movie in years and Nicholas Cage best role. By keeping the perspective on that of the first responders, the film provide an heartbreaking story of courage. Yes, this is the story of two very lucky men but they were as brave as any who died and by learning their story we get a little glimpse of the sacrifice so many made that day. Full Review »