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Brothers 2009

Critics score:
63 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: It's easy to overlook a drama like Brothers, with its plain-spoken title and stern subject matter. Don't. The film is gripping---an honorable and beautifully acted addition to the tradition of homefront war stories. Read more

James Rocchi, MSN Movies: Brothers -- an Americanized re-make of Danish director Susanne Bier's 2004 film "Brodre" -- revolves around the Afghan War but also keeps its distance, a balancing act that winds up looking more wobbly than elegant. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Sheridan pulls you so deep into Brothers so fast that there isn't time for the alarm bell to go off that says: "Warning! Another Traumatized-Vet Movie!" You never catch Sheridan or Benioff grandstanding, only observing. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Brothers has all the right ingredients -- it's made with care, and it works very well. But it rarely finds the raw intensity that the Danish original did; adding a little polish, in this case, took away a bit of the grit. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: It's a combustible (though boilerplate) situation that Bier, once Dogme 95-certified, plays to the hilt. For his part, Sheridan treats it with a turgidness that shouldn't be mistaken for restraint. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Brothers is a powerful statement on loyalty, love and the cost of war. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: This is a corny tale, told with both generous helpings of deli-sliced cheese and a brief stretch of chilling tumultuousness. Read more

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: Sheridan seems as conflicted as the Cahills about their virtues and failings. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Bier's film succeeded on the merits of its actors, and this one offers fine performances by Portman and Gyllenhaal, but Maguire doesn't cut the mustard. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Brothers never fully earns the right to exploit Sam's crucible in Afghanistan and the angry anguish it brings about. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Sheridan and Maguire orchestrate things perfectly here, running a line of tension through the film that explodes at the end, just as it should. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Brothers isn't badly acted, but as directed by the increasingly impersonal Jim Sheridan, it's lumbering and heavy-handed, a film that piles on overwrought dramatic twists until it begins to creak under the weight of its presumed significance. Read more

Laremy Legel, Film.com: A depressing tale of contrived melodrama that fails to make any point at all. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: When Carey Mulligan (the breakout star of An Education) pops up in a cameo, you realize how rich the film would be with her in the lead. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Brothers is a collection of strong moments that don't add up to anything. The movie is all build-up. Read more

Jake Coyle, Associated Press: The aspiration of Brothers is noble. But it can't preserve the intimacy of the original film, and the loosened characters slide into cliche. Read more

Ramin Setoodeh, Newsweek: Brothers shows us that even when our troops do come home, their war may be far from over. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: Brothers, the new home-from-the-war film, written by David Benioff and directed by Jim Sheridan, has been made with obvious devotion and sincerity, and I wish I could take it seriously. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Perhaps it's true that, as some analysts say, generals are always re-fighting the last war. But when did directors start doing it, too? Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Brothers tries to delve into how war can tear families apart, but only succeeds in showing how miscasting and melodrama obscure good intentions. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: Brothers isn't nearly as unbearable as most of the anti-war pictures of the last five years, but when it comes to members of the armed services, screenwriters continue to lose their ability to think in more than one dimension. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: A soap opera ensues with more cliches than one movie can survive. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: As predicable and cloying as Brothers sometimes is, the cast is fascinating, young actors now possessing the dramatic heft to pull something like this off. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Brothers is a heartbreaking film that speaks to the lifelong aftershocks of war, and to the powerful bonds of family and of love. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: This is a powerful, disturbing film that explores common cinematic territory -- the ability of war to destroy the individual -- without seeming cliched or familiar. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Roeper.com: Natalie Portman deserves an Oscar nomination. Tobey Magure in the performance of his career. This is the best movie I've seen this year. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: This becomes Tobey Maguire's film to dominate, and I've never seen these dark depths in him before. Actors possess a great gift to surprise us, if they find the right material in their hands. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: Sheridan shapes the drama so casually that he succeeds in making it feel naturalistically unshaped. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: In a role without any flamboyant touches, playing what is essentially just a decent, intelligent woman, Portman lends the film dignity, understanding and true radiance. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: After watching this movie, I had what you might call Portman Traumautic Stress Disorder, a condition that leaves you twitchy, irritable, and in need of a well-acted light comedy. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: The film packs a wallop. Too bad about the missteps. It could've been a knockout. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: As a melodrama, Brothers is passable entertainment. But the film squanders the opportunity to meaningfully portray the impact of war on American lives. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: An almost-good movie weakened by its desire to have a major impact, as melodramatic material is heated to boiling over. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: It's almost as if Sheridan and screenwriter David Benioff were constructing a pile of old bones for a museum installation, with no live connective tissue required. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: It takes two-thirds of the film for any scene of real emotional truth or power to emerge - and by then we're lost. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Sheridan is a consistently agile storyteller, drawing strong performances from even the youngest actors. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: Plays like a more polished but less effective twin to the 2005 Danish original. Read more

Melissa Anderson, Village Voice: [Sheridan] aims for Greek tragedy but ends up with a PTSD melodrama. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: Is it a movie you'll enjoy? Not enjoy, so much as appreciate. Or maybe recognize. Read more