The Messenger - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Messenger Reviews

Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Tom Huddleston
Time Out
June 15, 2011
[An] unpredictable, episodic, deeply resonant character piece.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
February 26, 2010
The bombshell is the news of a soldier's death and the delivery of that message is the heart of this unsentimental, yet deeply moving, story.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
February 26, 2010
The film is premised on the verbal communication of urgent information, yet its many non-verbal moments provide the greatest strength and clarity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 27, 2010
Harrelson gives us layers of hurt under a callous yet needy crust. It may be the best performance of his career and certainly deserves Oscar consideration.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 14, 2010
With the insight and sensitivity of an insider, The Messenger illuminates the sometimes invisible victims of war -- the survivors -- and a pain that is tolerated but never quite healed.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
December 10, 2009
At its center lie three accomplished performances, by Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton, that are not to be missed.
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
November 25, 2009
The beauty in Foster's portrayal is that it never completely explodes, but anger and aching seethe behind his eyes. Harrelson, meanwhile, is a good old boy with a bad old job.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
November 25, 2009
Whenever writer-director Oren Moverman moves past these scattered and admittedly voyeuristic moments into the lives of the two soldiers, the movie drifts into received wisdom and unconvincing romance.
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 24, 2009
This film doesn't take political sides -- and it's all the more heartbreaking because of its restraint.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
November 24, 2009
This is a wholly different look at the fallout of the Iraq War and its effect on soldiers and civilians. It is also a gentle portrait of grief, friendship and solace.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
November 24, 2009
A forcefully acted and peculiar emotional drama...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
November 24, 2009
The Messenger delivers what it has to say without sensationalism or political posturing. That restraint, along with the quality of the performances, makes it all the more powerful.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
November 20, 2009
Foster leaves you hoping that Will finds his way home.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
November 20, 2009
It brings home the horror of the Iraq war in a way that much of our TV news media have failed to do.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
November 20, 2009
Some jobs are dirtier than others, and after seeing director and co-writer Oren Moverman's beautifully acted new film The Messenger, you'll be better acquainted with some of the most grueling work a human being can be called upon to perform.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
November 19, 2009
The Messenger is a privileged glimpse into people's private pain, a drama shot with the simplicity and immediacy of a documentary.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 19, 2009
This is a poignant war movie, but it's also a buddy movie with a difference, one that's both funny and bleak.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
November 19, 2009
The Messenger knows that even if it tells a tearjerking story, it doesn't have to be a tearjerker. In fact, when a sad story tries too hard, it can be fatal.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
November 16, 2009
I'm not sure how Morton made sense of her character's ebbs and flows, but I never doubted her. She's a mariner in uncharted seas of emotion.
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
November 15, 2009
A shoddy, shouty bore. A piece of flummery.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
November 13, 2009
A somber drama about intimate wartime tragedies, Oren Moverman's debut feels more respectful than real.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
November 13, 2009
Oren Moverman's sober and satisfying drama shows how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have created a fissure in American society.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
November 13, 2009
Messengers with the worst possible message, they nonetheless manage to be human and alive .... In a film that itself bears sad tidings about the costs of war, that is an affirming, even an inspiring, gift.
Full Review | Original Score: 8.5/10
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
November 13, 2009
Together, under the assured direction of first-time feature filmmaker Oren Moverman, these three actors tell a story that is at once hard-hitting and bizarrely gentle.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 13, 2009
For all the film's gritty verisimilitude, The Messenger is not the great Iraq War movie that Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
November 12, 2009
The Messenger, showing humanity under siege, opens wounds inflicted by the Iraq War -- not on the battlefield but in the hearts of the families of soldiers who never made it back home.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
November 12, 2009
What The Messenger has going for it is some sober, straightforward direction from Oren Moverman and a few strong performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
November 12, 2009
Harrelson's calm performance anchors the film, and whenever the story drifts back to him and his cautious friendship with Foster, the flick feels true.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
November 12, 2009
Many scenes in The Messenger feel merely illustrative, not designed to develop characters and story so much as to make the point, over and over, that the home front can be as harrowing as the front lines.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
November 11, 2009
A story that strays about without finding its center.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
November 11, 2009
The Messenger honors those who fought and died in Iraq by acting out, with an anguished handheld immediacy, how large each of those sacrifices really is.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
November 9, 2009
This is a fully felt, morally alert, marvellously acted piece of work. Despite the grim subject, it's a sweet-tempered movie, with moments of explosive humor -- an entertainment.
Top Critic
Justin Lowe
Hollywood Reporter
October 26, 2009
A penetrating assessment of post-war readjustment.
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
October 26, 2009
The Messenger manages to be both practical and patriotic in the same breath, zeroing in on one of the most painful aspects of wartime.