Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
New York Magazine/Vulture:
As Ain't Them Bodies Saints moves along, its elliptical approach to drama goes from keeping us on our toes to dulling everything down.
New York Times:
This film's longing for ... for a simple, elemental truth that will be both specific to its time and place and ripe with deeper meanings - is precisely what makes it unconvincing.
New York Observer:
If Ain't Them Bodies Saints seems insubstantial in structure, it may be because Mr. Lowery has chosen to focus on appearance over plot, which doesn't mean the movie is less effective as a result.
Wall Street Journal:
This is Terrence Malick territory; you might guess that with the sound turned off, thanks to the bronze sunlight low on broad horizons. Still, Mr. Lowery stakes out his own distinctive boundaries ...
Lowery, it can't be denied, has Malick's moves down pat. It's the Malick touch that eludes him.
Awash in 1970s filmmaking and the kind of stylized folksiness that pickling Brooklyn hipsters with handlebar mustaches will positively drool over.
The characters are too ordinary to care deeply for and the story doesn't add up to much, but Lowery has made a shrine to his actors, to the land through which they move, and to the kind of cinema that once sustained us.
Writer-director David Lowery strains for poetry at every turn, and only the strain registers.
It is not a large film. But Lowery may well be a large talent, and he sure knows how to cast the right actors.
Christian Science Monitor:
Lowery has a way with actors, though. As a local sheriff with an eye for Ruth, Ben Foster is excellent and, in a too-small role as a grizzled shopkeeper, Keith Carradine proves himself yet again to be one of our finest performers.
Dallas Morning News:
On its own terms, Saints conjures a mood of stoic obsession at the service of a tale older than the Hill Country dirt it calls home.
An exceptionally beautiful, if a bit fuzzy-headed, romantic Texas outlaw saga that announces a considerable talent in writer-director David Lowery.
Los Angeles Times:
A wistful and wayward drama about an outlaw couple who will get under your skin and work on your heart if you're not careful.
Lowery has a lyrical style of storytelling that is delicate and subtle yet suffused with emotion and atmosphere. It's gentle and pointed at the same time.
The New Republic:
This is a hell of a film, a marvelous experience, far more beautiful than sentimental, so long as you don't have to have a mind made up for you.
A repository of fugitive Americana that's substantial and satisfying.
The feel of the movie is intimate and handmade, as if Lowery were renewing, lovingly and poignantly, the landscape's ruined landmarks and infusing them with his own memories and dreams.
Ain't Them Bodies Saints has big thematic ambitions matched by a grandiloquent style ...
New York Daily News:
The shadow of Terrence Malick falls hard across this Texas crime drama, a beautiful-looking prose poem that starts strong but winds up with nowhere to go.
New York Post:
Lowery put 90 percent of his energy into the atmosphere and 10 percent into the script.
Orange County Register:
A lyrical modern Western that casts a contemporary but un-jaded eye on the romantic mythology of outlaw couples.
Ain't Them Bodies Saints offers no glib answers or smooth resolution, but there's no question that Lowery is a filmmaker with a striking future.
It marks the arrival of an immense talent who will be new to most moviegoers - although Lowery is a well-known figure in the indie-film world - and it's surely one of the best American films of the year.
San Francisco Chronicle:
The tone never changes. Scenes aren't inflected, and when the end comes, it registers, but without much impact.
It's a gorgeous film to behold, but writer-director David Lowery gets so wrapped up in the visuals that the storytelling lags at critical moments.
A slow, banjo-string-tight thriller ... Bodies gets under your skin and stays there.
If it's not thrillingly new, it's old in the best way-worn, comfortable and embodying virtues too often lost.
David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints landed with the excitement of a bold new voice, and yet, there's also something undeniably old-fashioned in his approach, suggesting a lost artifact freshly unearthed from the 1970s.
Lowery isn't a Malick and he's certainly no Kazan, but he's his own man, and a filmmaker to watch.