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85

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

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  • Summary: A richly imagined joumey into the life and writings of the brilliant Cuban author and exile Reinaldo Arenas. (Fine Line Features)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    This powerful, lyrical meditation on Arenas's life achieves a kind of hallucinatory urgency as it leaps and twists through his life.
  2. It's an horrific and tragic story, but somehow made beautiful through the care and attention of Schnabel's direction and Bardem's tender, unforgettable performance.
  3. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    90
    A dense, emotionally satisfying portrait of a man, a time and a place.
  4. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    88
    Most of all it's the emotional and spiritual arc of an exile, in all its terrible isolation, that gives ''Before Night Falls'' its power.
  5. Reviewed by: David Ehrenstein
    80
    Arenas' story is a downer that doesn't produce despair. That's because of the exceptional bravery of Arenas himself, and the understanding that both Schnabel and his extraordinary leading man, Javier Bardem, have of him, his world, and his time.
  6. Like a deathbed dream it leapfrogs through Arenas's life, reconstructing crucial moments as a succession of bright, feverish illuminations.
  7. Under Schnabel's direction, it becomes stilted and static, if not simplistic.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Aug 25, 2013
    10
    It's without doubt one of the best films ever made!! I wasn't expecting Johnny Depp to play this role and I am impressed that he played soIt's without doubt one of the best films ever made!! I wasn't expecting Johnny Depp to play this role and I am impressed that he played so good. I have no words for Javier Bardem.......he was perfect!! Expand
  2. Aug 26, 2010
    4
    Aside from a few fleeting moments of cinematic brilliance and some key performances, Julian Schnabel's biopic of homosexual Cuban writerAside from a few fleeting moments of cinematic brilliance and some key performances, Julian Schnabel's biopic of homosexual Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas falls flat on its face. Guest spots by Sean Penn and Johnny Depp are hilarious, though. Expand

See all 9 User Reviews

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