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Samson and Delilah (2010)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 48
Fresh: 45 | Rotten: 3

Alternately beautiful and heartrending, Samson and Delilah is terrifically acted and shot, and presents a complex portrait of what it means to be Australian.

100

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 0

Alternately beautiful and heartrending, Samson and Delilah is terrifically acted and shot, and presents a complex portrait of what it means to be Australian.

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 8,458

My Rating

Movie Info

Two teenagers find love and look for a place where they can be together in peace in this comedy drama from Australia. Samson (Rowan McNamara) is 15 years old and lives in a shabby town in the outback, where he huffs gasoline to get high, hangs out with his friends, and spends his days goofing off and getting into minor trouble. One day, Samson meets Delilah (Marissa Gibson) at the village market, a girl who follows a different path in life -- she looks after her elderly grandmother (Mitjili

Jan 11, 2011

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October 15, 2010:
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All Critics (48) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (3) | DVD (2)

This lovely, aching film opts for romance in the face of modern ruin.

February 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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This sterling 2009 debut by Warwick Thornton is harrowing and tragic but has a stoic, stately realism that elevates the material way above victim politics.

January 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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The film may be hard as hell to watch, but it's even harder to look away from.

November 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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How do you know you're looking at a pretty good piece of filmmaking? When the director and actors can make you care about the central characters even though they exchange almost no dialogue.

October 15, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Pitched somewhere between City Of God and the Dardenne brothers, Samson And Delilah is unsparing in its brutal vision of the world.

October 14, 2010 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
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Thornton's modest little story about two indigenous teens had been hailed as ground zero for a glorious new wave in Australian cinema. For once, the hyperbole seems justified...

October 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the great political films, masked as one of the best personal films, of 21st-century cinema. For all its unsparing, quietly condemning look at Australia's treatment of Aborigines today, it ends on a grace note of devotion and tender care.

May 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Director Warwick Thornton's artistic choices alienated me as viewer and made me pray for the end.

September 29, 2012 Full Review Source: The Aristocrat
The Aristocrat

Spare and beautiful, Samson & Delilah gives viewers a peephole into two characters' struggle in a corner of the earth not visited enough on film.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

There's little dialogue in Samson and Delilah and the film has a gritty, sun-baked poeticism to it.

December 10, 2010 Full Review Source: KPBS.org
KPBS.org

Thornton's grip on familiar narrative tropes comes to more and more resemble a choke-hold up until the film's lovely final moments

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Thornton isn't concerned about filling in the lines, requiring viewers to make the connections for themselves. The film is all the more engaging for it.

October 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Moving Pictures Magazine
Moving Pictures Magazine

A poetic, tender and unflinchingly real love story. Its powerful visuals, music and raw, captivating performances will leave you feeling deeply moved.

October 18, 2010 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

The actors succeed at portraying a couple whose bond is strong enough to not require words.

October 14, 2010 Full Review Source: NYC Film Critic
NYC Film Critic

A unstinting look at the social outcasts of Australian society made by a member of aboriginal society, its grim narrative punctuated by off-kilter humor in a minimalist style.

October 11, 2010 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Director/writer Warwick Thornton makes the mistake that hobbles too many new filmmakers: an overindulgence on arresting visuals but a deficit of compelling storytelling.

October 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Threat | Comments (4)
Film Threat

First-timers McNamara and Gibson deliver instinctive, assured performances.

April 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Thornton's command of space, location and mood is exemplary, recalling the Taiwanese master Tsai-ming Liang in the way this love story plays out in the interstitial spaces of the city.

April 7, 2010
Little White Lies

An extremely grim story of a particularly nasty culture clash, and yet writer-director Thornton tells it with wit and irony

April 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Audience Reviews for Samson and Delilah

A beautiful, wrenching portrait of a reality that is so little known to non-Australians, reaching us through an Aboriginal love story that relies on two amazing performances, and smoothly moving from tender to heartbreaking moments.
May 31, 2010
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

Warwick Thornton's astounding, gruelling and rewarding movie - which he shot, as well as wrote and directed - puts us in the place of Australia's most dispossessed and forgotten people.
Samson and Delilah is hard viewing and unsparing almost to the last. Even then the redemption it offers is perhaps ephemeral. But this wrenching film is also a tender, realistic love story and a lyrical piece of visual art. It unfolds mostly without dialogue, depending on the remarkable natural expressiveness of its untrained leads Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson, whose relationship play out as childish love-hate flirtation before they cling together in desperation and finally sink into the miasma of fumes that seems to offer escape from violence, homelessness and the sheer loneliness of being two lost kids on the face of a parched, uncaring planet.
May 10, 2010
deano
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Probably one of the best Australian film ever, certainly one of its most powerful, dealing with the nation's elephant in the room, the indigenous Australians. A harrowingly confronting film about youth, indigenous culture, disadvantage and poverty ultimately turns into a subtle but extremely moving love story. A quietly beautiful film that gets under your skin and shakes you too your core. Particularly powerful from an Australian perspective the film looks hard at a shameful fact of Australian society, without moralizing or pointing blame, the film transcends the subject matter and creates a powerful love story. But be prepared for its slow style and its ability to emotionally drain you.
June 29, 2009
smith44

Super Reviewer

There is little for Samson(Rowan McNamara) to do during the day, except listen to his brother's band practice. One day, he catches sight of Delilah(Marissa Gibson) who spends her days working on native artwork with her grandmother(Mitjili Gibson) that they sell and taking her to the local clinic for regular visits. She takes pity on him and buys him a snack at the store. In return, he kills a kangaroo and brings it back to her place to eat for dinner.(Oh, but it's so cute!) He then brings his bedroll over to stay. All of which the old woman finds amusing.

Even with mild reservations about the ending, "Samson and Delilah" is a well-filmed and heartbreaking love story that also has much to say about the tragic state of the Aboriginal population in Australia, living lives of frustration with little opportunity at a better life.(To make matters worse, the only radio station they can get in their outback village is country western.) Thankfully, none of this is presented in a strident manner, as the arguments are presented subtly with little dialogue, almost as if their language, along with their culture, had been appropriated by the Europeans which finds them largely invisible.
January 21, 2012
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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