• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: May 10, 2020
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Carol Midgley
    May 18, 2020
    100
    It won't cheer you up. However, its unrelenting misery did not stop it being almost exhilarating to watch, mainly because of beautiful, near-perfect performances by Mark Ruffalo.
  2. Reviewed by: Clint Worthington
    May 11, 2020
    100
    It’s an astounding work of drama featuring an incredible ensemble of performances, involving direction, and a beautiful, novelistic script that earns its big emotional swings for the fences. And it might be some of Ruffalo’s best work of his career.
  3. Reviewed by: Jeff Sneider
    May 11, 2020
    90
    Cianfrance has a gift for exploring the complex relationships between people, and he deals the cards straight here. There’s also a timeless quality to his work that makes I Know This Much Is True feel like it could’ve been set at any point in the last few decades.
  4. Reviewed by: Kevin Fallon
    May 8, 2020
    90
    The new HBO series I Know This Much Is True is excellent. It’s also incredibly depressing. Relentlessly, viscerally depressing.
  5. Reviewed by: Sheila O'Malley
    May 8, 2020
    88
    "I Know This Much is True" is filled with riveting performances, and not just Mark Ruffalo. ... There are times when "compassion fatigue" sets in, particularly in the final episode. But seeing actors do what they do best, with Cianfrance giving them the space to do it, makes "I Know This Much is True" a real feast.
  6. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    May 26, 2020
    80
    HBO's production is relentlessly grim, a smothering tapestry of insanity, nutballery, and emotional and physical brutality.
  7. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    May 13, 2020
    80
    Empathy is what keeps this harrowing story from being just a wallow in misery. [Dominick's] journey of self-discovery, which includes a crusade that began in childhood to learn his birth father's identity, feels absolutely, dramatically true. [11 - 24 May 2020, p.6]
  8. Reviewed by: Melanie McFarland
    May 11, 2020
    80
    Ruffalo inhabits both roles completely; any nods earned are deserved. It's up to you, however, to decide if you want to witness the full effort of his performance from bloody stem to depressing stern. Make it through the first episode, and the second warms up.
  9. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Apr 30, 2020
    80
    As a movie, it might also play as a merciless assault of misery. Here in HBO's six-episode miniseries, the misery has room to breathe.
  10. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    May 7, 2020
    75
    The first episode of “I Know This Much Is True” frontloads much of the anguish felt and reflected in this six-episode family drama, and even though it’s not wholly representative of the beauty to come, the series’ dour tone can overshadow its remarkable filmmaking, exacting performances, and poignant personal discoveries.
  11. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    May 8, 2020
    70
    Once you get past the soapy title, this six-episode limited series offers a grim but gripping adaptation of Wally Lamb's book, rife with tormented family history and the struggle to overcome the past.
  12. Reviewed by: Judy Berman
    May 6, 2020
    70
    Though writer-director Derek Cianfrance smartly dilutes the melodrama with the same blunt realism that made his 2010 film Blue Valentine a gut punch, he doesn’t entirely succeed at bringing the narrative down to earth. ... It’s Ruffalo who rescues the show from mediocrity, counteracting heavy-handed twists and on-the-nose lines. ... Commanding as it is, his performance is also generous. It brings out the best in scene partners.
  13. Reviewed by: Amy Amatangelo
    May 7, 2020
    67
    Ruffalo gives a transformative performance. ... The series is filled with terrific performances. ... But even sad shows need moments of levity and there are none here. Even from Huebel who is more known for comedy. If ever there was a miniseries that needed just a modicum of comic relief I Know This Much Is True is it.
  14. Reviewed by: Ines Bellina
    May 1, 2020
    67
    I Know This Much Is True can be an uneven journey, overwhelming in its self-indulgent trauma and soaring when it examines the parallels between our individual transgressions and the grand scale sins that forged this nation. One wishes this theme would have been further explored instead of weakening its punch. There are some payoffs, however, to sticking with the miniseries.
  15. Reviewed by: Ed Cumming
    May 11, 2020
    60
    There is enough despair in the atmosphere. I Know This Much Is True is sensitively written, stylishly directed, brilliantly acted, and impossible to recommend.
  16. Reviewed by: Lucy Mangan
    May 11, 2020
    60
    It is a modern-day Job’s suffering examined in careful but ultimately unilluminating detail. The strength of all the performances – Ruffalo’s of course, but also Kathryn Hahn as his still-loving ex-wife, Rob Huebel as her new partner and Dominick’s friend, Melissa Leo as the twins’ downtrodden mother (Leo is only nine years older than her supposed offspring, but that is a column for another time), and Archie Panjabi as Thomas’s new psychiatrist – makes it worth watching.
  17. Reviewed by: Anita Singh
    May 11, 2020
    60
    How much more pain can these characters bear? From previews of later episodes, I can tell you: a lot. I Know This Much Is True is a heart-rending examination of mental illness and trauma. It is technically accomplished, impeccably acted. Would I recommend it as your new boxset? Hell, no.
  18. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Apr 29, 2020
    60
    The acting, and Cianfrance's commitment to letting the performances play out in long, uninterrupted conversations, are what occasionally make I Know This Much Is True feel exhilarating, rather than just like a miserablist dirge. The conclusions the series reaches after six episodes, alas, aren't as revelatory as they should be regarding mental illness, family and what hope any of us can find when we're lost in dark places.
  19. Reviewed by: Richard Lawson
    May 8, 2020
    50
    Though I found much of I Know This Much Is True to be a gloomy slog—turns out I was not one of the people looking for a story of illness and regret at this particular juncture—it does, in Cianfrance’s careful hands, eventually arrive at a bleary poignancy.
  20. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    May 8, 2020
    50
    First-rate craftsmanship tethered to a relentlessly gloomily and ultimately unengaging story.
  21. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    May 7, 2020
    50
    While “I Know This Much Is True” pulls you along on the strengths of its soap opera mechanics, its smoothly downbeat vibe and Ruffalo’s performance, it promises more than it delivers — eventually the story collapses in on itself, settling for the sentimental formulas it’s been pretending it was above.
  22. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    May 7, 2020
    50
    Alas, from the opening moments, with an irritatingly stylish camera move unnecessarily teasing us before a big reveal, through the final scenes, by which time the viewer is more exhausted than enlightened, this is one of the more disappointing misfires of the home viewing year.
  23. Reviewed by: Daniel D'Addario
    May 4, 2020
    50
    Ruffalo’s the one you’ll watch for. But with all the talent Cianfrance brings to a show that’s ultimately a mismatch for his gifts, “I Know This Much Is True” ends up being precisely the sum of Ruffalo’s two parts.
  24. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    May 7, 2020
    40
    I Know This Much Is True does eventually offer a glimmer of insight, and hope, to its characters, just not nearly enough to compensate for all the suffering that’s come before.
  25. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    May 6, 2020
    40
    When Thomas goes on his paranoid rants, it’s hauntingly effective. And when the two Ruffalos appear together in a scene, it’s remarkably natural. ... But “I Know This Much Is True” misses the mark in terms of storytelling. It just sits there, a roiling mass of misery that fails to provide you with a compelling reason to keep watching.
  26. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    May 7, 2020
    38
    The limited series is a carnival of horrors weighed down by moralizing, hysteria, and cross-associations.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 4 out of 13
  1. May 21, 2020
    9
    Amazing acting from Mark Ruffalo!! Deserves an Emmy nod. Beautifully shot by Derek Cianfrance. Keeps the viewer wanting more, despite beingAmazing acting from Mark Ruffalo!! Deserves an Emmy nod. Beautifully shot by Derek Cianfrance. Keeps the viewer wanting more, despite being overall depressing story. Full Review »