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Blindness (2008)

tomatometer

43

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Reviews Counted: 154
Fresh: 66 | Rotten: 88

This allegorical disaster film about society's reaction to mass blindness is mottled and self-satisfied; provocative but not as interesting as its premise implies.

25

Average Rating: 4.9/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 27

This allegorical disaster film about society's reaction to mass blindness is mottled and self-satisfied; provocative but not as interesting as its premise implies.

audience

47

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 61,284

My Rating

Movie Info

Fernando Meirelles' adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago's novel Blindness begins when an epidemic of blindness strikes the world. Mark Ruffalo stars as an eye doctor who awakens one morning to find that he suffers from the unexplained disorder. He, along with other victims, is sent to a government detention center so that they can be quarantined. His wife (Julianne Moore) pretends to be blind so that she can be with him inside the institution. Their time in the center grows

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Don McKellar

Feb 10, 2009

$3.1M

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All Critics (160) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (66) | Rotten (88) | DVD (17)

I have to admire a mainstream movie that's so overwhelmingly bleak, but that's the only real distinction of this dystopian sci-fi drama.

December 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sadly, 'Blindness' may realise its director's worst fear: to produce not only an exploitation B-movie but one, paradoxically, spoiled by its own integrity and misplaced 'artistic' mise-en-scène and intentions.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stilted, claustrophobic and more stylish than substantial.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Set in a nameless English-speaking city where people are suddenly stricken with sightlessness, it's an allegory that never rises to the level of believability.

October 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Comments (3)
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Blindness is a glum, ugly film, and pretentious in the bargain. But, perhaps least excusable, it is a fundamentally ill-conceived film, the visual depiction of a world without sight.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a beautiful car that never quite cranks up. The book is deep allegory, lost in time and place, describing a suffocating little world. It's hard to get at that in cinematic form.

October 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Give this one a go guys, you'll see the world anew.

March 24, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

The picture is elongated to a punishing two hours of suffering, infuriatingly slavish screenwriting, and a director who should be gifted the miracle of a tripod this upcoming holiday season.

June 2, 2010 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

Like the film's thematic elements, the camera trickery comes off as unnecessarily pretentious, the sort of thing film students applaud while mainstream audiences yawn.

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Times
Washington Times

It's hard to explain all the vitriol aimed at Meirelles' film, which is a beautifully shot picture that is as haunting and profound as it is thought-provoking.

August 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

Takes the post-apocalyptic themes of Children of Men and blends it with the jaded morality of Lord of the Flies to questionable success

August 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Moviedex
Moviedex

Blindness is a film that is trying to come off as organic and artsy, but feels too contrived.

July 3, 2009 Full Review Source: BET.com
BET.com

No matter how you look at this film, it is a chilling look at what makes us tick at our very basic nature.

April 18, 2009 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Glover's occasional all-knowing commentary and the dreary music score dull the edges of what was bound to be a challenging project.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: The Australian
The Australian

The film is far from dull or careless but it's not convincing as a lesson in human frailty. If you're going to subject us to this much degradation, it has to be irresistibly believable, not just relentless.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

As a study of human nature under pressure, focusing on the crimes we commit as well as the bonds of solidarity we forge, it's unremittingly dour.

March 20, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

Blindness is not unmissable, and has awkwardly implausible moments, but it succeeds in sucking us into its peculiar world.

March 20, 2009 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

Blindness is a worthy film, and in many ways a beautifully made one - the opening and closing sequences are the best. But in between it's heavy, gloomy and at times pretty hard to sit through.

March 20, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

An irritating experience

March 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Blindness - despite its director, despite its pedigree as a respected piece of modern literature, despite its stellar cast - is a bitter disappointment.

February 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Owes something to the sociological study of "Lord of the Flies."

February 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

It's as if director Fernando Meirelles got so wrapped up in the desolation of his story that he neglected to do anything meaningful with it.

January 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Despite strong performances and a few compelling scenarios, it's plain to see that Blindness doesn't quite measure up to expectations.

November 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Handicapped by pretensions to making big statements, Blindness is still gripping, disturbing and intermittently powerful.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Comment (1)
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Blindness

The film begins literally conceptualizing the old expression: "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king". Everyone everywhere goes mysteriously sightless all of a sudden, except Julianne Moore, and she uncomfortably has to discover just what to do with her new superpower. The work has ART stapled all over it, and MESSAGE FILM, too. Despite taking itself too seriously there are moments of lucidity, worth the wait, like Moore and Ruffalo's working together again. Either I'm getting older, or Moore has suddenly become a good actress ... or both maybe, yeah?
November 28, 2012
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

What would happen if everyone turned blind with no explanation or cure? Well, everyone but one person. This film is drawing a pessimistic picture of such a situation. The basic premise is very interesting, the following premise of the infected being held in camps entirely left to their own devices is already a bit over the top and more inhuman than reality, even if you are misanthrope. What follows is sometimes hard to stomach, a bleak, hopeless outlook on the loss of basic human values. It sometimes feels like the film is even going too far here. Once the one person who still can see finally makes use of that advantage, things turn around and the film gets a lot more exciting and makes for a much more convincing finale, that almost feels like a zombie film but at least keeps a ray of hope. The acting and camera work is outstanding either way. A disturbing film, but at least a memorable one.
October 4, 2011
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

This movie is part of a long line of dystopic/social breakdown picutres, and it doesn't really bring anything new to the proceedings, but the specific concept at hand is actually kind of interesting.

While this movie isn't as terrible as some have made it out to be, it's no masterpiece, and it could have been a whole lot better. It's a mess, but I give it some extra credit with the rating because of it's ambition, some really good individual sequences, and because the acting is really pretty good, even if the material is lacking. Julianne Morre's character is also quite intriguing and interesting, so that's also a plus.

The way the the filmmakers choose to tell the story is interesting, but it's kind of annoying. Instead of trying to produce the expereince of going sightless, they should have just done it conventionally, instead of toying with sight and sound. I know they have good intentions, but a little goes a long way, and it gets tiring after the first 1/3 or so. I've never read the book this is based on, but maybe this should have just not been adapted.

A few more issues I need to address are the length, pacing, and material itself. The film feels way too long, it drags, it could have been a little tighter, and this is just, in general, a really depressing and disturbing affair. It's also probably offensive to the blind community, even if it is just a "what if?" scenario. This is some hard stuff to sit through. It's bleak, unrelenting, and full of too much hopelessness. It seems like they were aiming for an artsy and thought provoking film, but end up with a tedious exploitation film with high production values and good intentions gone sour.

Like I said earlier though, the specific variation to this unoriginal theme is interesting, and the characters (mainly Moore's) and performances are terrific. I'm undecided though as to whether or not it's a good thing that the epidemic and its conclusion are unexplained.
March 30, 2011
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

The premise is absolutely intriguing. I think it is an interesting character study.
February 4, 2011
Raajay

Super Reviewer

    1. First Blind Man: It's you.
    2. Doctor's Wife: What?
    3. First Blind Man: It's you. I can see.
    – Submitted by Fernán O (19 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Stadt der Blinden (DE)
  • A ciegas (ES)
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