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The Road (2009)


Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 203
Fresh: 152 | Rotten: 51

Critics Consensus: The Road's commitment to Cormac McCarthy's dark vision may prove too unyielding for some, but the film benefits from hauntingly powerful performances from Viggo Mortensen and Kodi McPhee.

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 41
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 14

Critics Consensus: The Road's commitment to Cormac McCarthy's dark vision may prove too unyielding for some, but the film benefits from hauntingly powerful performances from Viggo Mortensen and Kodi McPhee.


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 245,991


Movie Info

A father (Viggo Mortensen) and son make their way across a post-apocalyptic United States in hopes of finding civilization amongst the nomadic cannibal tribes in 2929 Productions' adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's thrilling Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road. John Hillcoat (The Proposition) directs from a screenplay provided by Joe Penhall. Charlize Theron co-stars in the Dimension Films release. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

R (for some violence, disturbing images and language)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
Joe Penhall
In Theaters:
May 25, 2010
Box Office:
The Weinstein Co./Dimension - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for The Road

All Critics (203) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (152) | Rotten (51) | DVD (3)

Hillcoat's movie is a resounding triumph. Stunning landscape photography sets the melancholy mood, and Nick Cave's wrenching score reinforces it. But it is the performances that ultimately hold the film together.

Full Review… | January 8, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

Hillcoat certainly provides the requisite seriousness, but what the movie lacks is an underlying sense of innocence, a sense that, however far humanity has sunk, there is at least some chance of rising again.

Full Review… | December 2, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

It hits a few tinny, sentimental notes. Still, I admire the craft and conviction of this film, and I was impressed enough by the look and the performances to recommend that you see it.

Full Review… | November 30, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

In this haunting portrait of America as no country for old men or young, Hillcoat -- through the artistry of Mortensen and Smit-McPhee -- carries the fire of our shared humanity and lets it burn bright and true.

November 29, 2009
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

How could anything so bleak be so promising?

Full Review… | November 29, 2009
Toronto Star
Top Critic

You hang on to yourself for dear life, resisting belief as best you can in the face of powerful acting, persuasive filmmaking and the perversely compelling certainty that nothing will turn out all right.

Full Review… | November 29, 2009
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

A remarkable, haunting picture worth multiple viewings.

Full Review… | September 24, 2014
Film Comment Magazine

The Road is one of the year's strongest dramas. But it's no picnic, to say the least.

Full Review… | March 11, 2014
Maclean's Magazine

There's about as much action as My Dinner With Andre.

Full Review… | February 17, 2014
Stop Smiling

The Road is a highly emotional, involving, palm-sweatingly tense movie that will scar you for life if you let it. Exhausting to watch but oddly exhilirating to experience, it's a film you'll watch once but will never forget.

Full Review… | September 28, 2012

Unpleasant post-apocalyptic drama.

Full Review… | June 16, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Hillcoat does his best, and for the most part, he succeeds. The horrifically desolate landscape and the drab greys and cobalt blues of the scarred sky pervade every shot.

Full Review… | October 21, 2010

Una película agobiante, notablemente realizada y narrada. Tan dura y desoladora como el futuro posible que describe.

Full Review… | October 7, 2010
Uruguay Total

This is a tough road to follow

Full Review… | September 28, 2010
3BlackChicks Review

Without watering down Cormac McCarthy's hangman prose, John Hillcoat's adaptation transcended sad, gray apocalypse tropes to become an unexpectedly uplifting parable about faith, kindness and family at world's end.

Full Review… | September 17, 2010

...only half as traumatic as the Cormac McCarthy novel on which it's based - which of course means that it will still leave you a wreck.

Full Review… | July 15, 2010

Has an interesting thesis about morality and humanity, but lacks complexity in its approach.

Full Review… | June 8, 2010
Window to the Movies

"The images are searing, but there's little for Hillcoat to bat around besides endless agony. The Road is glacial and precise, but rarely offers the viewer something to chew on besides utter finality."

Full Review… | June 2, 2010

While identifying with characters in a bad situation is a movie must, drowning in their deep funk as much as they do, is a narrative no-no.

Full Review… | June 1, 2010

Shames most films with the audacity to consider themselves tearjerkers.

Full Review… | May 27, 2010

Um filme difícil e angustiante. (...) Mas, talvez mais surpreendente, representa uma experiência profundamente tocante.

Full Review… | May 26, 2010
Cinema em Cena

In a post-Apocalypse world in which you can't tell the difference between good guys and bad guys, it's better to trust no one, and Man will do anything to protect Boy.

Full Review… | March 25, 2010
Moving Pictures Magazine

It's just a slow wander through wreckage, waiting for bad stuff to get worse.

Full Review… | March 19, 2010
Philadelphia Weekly

The dull gray monotony of existence never looked as uninviting as it does in this film.

Full Review… | March 2, 2010
Laramie Movie Scope

When the world goes Boom! I want Viggo Mortensen to be my dad. Who better to keep your spirits up in the hideous post-apocalyptic after life as pictured here?

Full Review… | February 8, 2010
Windy City Times

The Road is a haunting portrait of what it means to be a parent.

Full Review… | January 31, 2010
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Audience Reviews for The Road

A beautifully shot film with a haunting soundtrack that adds to the depressing and often disturbing story of a father trying to keep his son alive in a post apocalyptic world. Mortensen is simply amazing as the father and the youngster Kodi Smit-Mcphee is great as the son.

It doesnt matter what happened, it just did and when that time comes, the story revolves around someone just trying to survive. And that is the beauty of this simple but complex story. Wonderful film.

John Manard

Super Reviewer


Grim, straight ahead, no frills account about a just-the-facts dad and his young boy trying to survive after the apocalypse. Hope peers occasionally through the cracks but this highway makes no allusions about where its headed. Decent.

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer


A bleak and un-nerving movie of a man and hes 10 year old son travelling thru a post apocalyptic america and a dieding world too.This is a un pleasant movie with not must hope for the two leads.Mortensen is so good here and carrys the weight of the movie but is help by hes young co-star and the two are so believeable.There are a couple of big name stars co starring as well but are given a very limted screen time.Charlize Theron is limted to flashback as mortonsen wife and boy's mother and you learn about her fate.Duvall as about 10 mins of screen time as a old man they come across who is trying to survive and guy pearce who end up at the end of the movie and has about 5 mins screen time.The main star of the movie here is not just the simple story but the world they have created.Has they wonder the countryside with no colour just dark and grey and the land barren with the town destoryed and city still burning.I do recommend this alot to hard core movie fans who like this type of movie,Please dont take the trailer for what it is because to me that could have been other movie but its not this one.There is no big action sence here.Hopefully this should get a nod at the oscars because it deserse it but will just have to wait and see.

Brian De Guelle

Super Reviewer


A little too slow for my liking but I'm always intrigued by these dark films and this one certainly wasn't lacking in the acting, plot and character development department.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

The Road Quotes

The Boy: Poppa!
– Submitted by Donivan D (21 months ago)
The Boy: Are you carrying the fire? The Veteran: Am I what? The Boy: Carrying the fire. The Veteran: You're kind of weirded out, aren't you, kid? The Boy: Well, are you? The Veteran: Yeah. I'm carrying the fire.
– Submitted by Steven F (2 years ago)
The Boy: Because we're the good guys. The Man: Yes. The Boy: And we're carrying the fire. The Man: Yes.
– Submitted by Steven F (2 years ago)
The Boy: Are we still the good guys? The Man: Yes, we're still the good guys. Of course we are. The Boy: And we always will be? No matter what happens? The Man: Always will.
– Submitted by Steven F (2 years ago)
The Man: The clocks stopped at one seventeen. There was a long shear of bright light, then a series of low concussions. I think it's October but I can't be sure. I haven't kept a calender for years. Each day is more gray than the one before. It is cold and growing colder as the world slowly dies. No animals have survived, and all the crops are long gone. Someday all the trees in the world will fall. The roads are peopled by refugees towing carts, and gangs carrying weapons, looking for fuel and food.
– Submitted by Steven F (2 years ago)
Wife: They're gonna catch up with us. They're gonna catch up with us and they are going to kill us.
– Submitted by Steven F (2 years ago)

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