21 Grams 2003

Critics score:
80 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News: This may be the most brilliantly made movie of the year. But you don't enjoy 21 Grams, you recover from it. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: One of the most riveting and moving experiences of the year, a movie of aching soulfulness and transforming power. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: This film has great performances all around, especially from Naomi Watts in maybe her best role yet. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Watching it is a wrenching experience; the usual layers of distance between actors and audience are stripped away, and we not only watch their anguish, but become part of it. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: Blessed with one of the strongest casts of any American movie this year, this bravura film, with its radical structure, is full of risk and reward. Read more

Elvis Mitchell, New York Times: You won't come out unaffected, because the depths of intimacy that the Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu plumbs here are so rarely touched by filmmakers that 21 Grams is tantamount to the discovery of a new country. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: A capital-M movie, and the most flagrant kind: Heavy emotion, heavy style, and lite philosophy converge and choke us with meaning. Read more

Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times: Watts, Penn and Del Toro have all been brilliant before, and if we're lucky, they will all be brilliant again. But to watch these three -- working alone and in tandem -- is to experience the strange, at times frightening alchemy of screen acting. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: Establishes [Inarritu] as a major cinematic force. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: It's a startlingly crafted movie, with several extraordinary performances. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: Though not depressing, because nothing this good is, the film is haunting -- a walk on the razor's edge between life and death. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Boasts so many moments of sublime acting that it's hard to know where to start. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: A movie that wallows so profoundly in its own misery that watching it is like atoning for some sin you didn't commit. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: [An]uncommonly ambitious, superbly acted, frustratingly flawed drama. Read more

Gene Seymour, Newsday: The three leads are superb, as are Melissa Leo and Charlotte Gainsbourg in supporting roles. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: A good movie which just misses being great. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: Using the structure of Amores Perros, Inarritu takes his complex tale of hope and redemption and breaks it into a mosaic of emotional tiles that add up to more than the whole. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: A sad movie about the irony of inescapable destiny, it left me captivated and trembling. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Confounded my high expectations by being much too depressing for my taste. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: Fascinating because of the way the story is told -- and because of the existential issues that it forces you to consider. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: It's one of those motion pictures that haunts your thoughts and won't let go. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: It grips us, moves us, astonishes us. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: Watching Penn and Del Toro (and, to a lesser extent, the actually young and actually beautiful Watts) navigate the recesses of these damaged, ambivalent characters ... is pretty much worth the price of admission. Read more

Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle: Inarritu and Arriaga's first English-language film doesn't approach the brilliance of Amores Perros, but it succeeds on a more modest scale. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: Is the strategy to make you work so hard to determine where you are in the timeline that you overlook what a dreary and conventional little soap opera this is? Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: This is a mesmerizing film that is the work of genius. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: This is cinematic storytelling of a very high order, and the clear work of a moviemaker who has almost instantly established himself as a force to be reckoned with. Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Unstintingly explores and exposes excruciating pain, raw grief, ruinous vengeance and life-affirming resilience, creating human portraits that are uncommonly exhilarating in their honesty. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: Watts, who has the most difficult scenes, is splendidly mercurial; what's surprising is that those professional storm clouds Penn and Del Toro are here as powerfully restrained as she is electrifying. Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: Tough, smart, relentless, provocative and, above all, serious. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: If not for its show-offy back-and- forthing of time, the movie would be a banal, pointlessly depressing exercise. Read more