• R, 2 hr. 5 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Julian Schnabel
    In Theaters:
    Jan 12, 2001 Wide
    On DVD:
    May 22, 2001
  • Fine Line Features


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Before Night Falls Reviews

Page 1 of 6
Austin Kennedy
Film Geek Central

This could have been a compelling movie about a wonderful writer, but instead it's a tedious, pointless mess. After spending over 2 hours with Arenas, I still knew nothing about him. Javier Bardem's great performance seemed to be a complete waste.

Full Review Source: Film Geek Central | Original Score: 1.5/4

May 10, 2013
Jim Lane
Sacramento News & Review

Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review | Original Score: 2/5

August 7, 2008
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

despite a real commitment to Arenas and his work, the film just falls short.

Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid | Original Score: 2.5/4

July 25, 2003
Christopher Null

We are invited to let the film wash over us, but its disjointed amateurism prevents that from happening with much success.

Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com | Original Score: 2.5/5

December 13, 2000
Brent Simon
Entertainment Today

Saddled with a wandering opening and an equally listless conclusion, a more fitting name for this two hour-plus biopic might well be Before Night Falters.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Today | Original Score: C-

February 17, 2003
Sean Axmaker
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Paints Arenas as little more than an abstract, idealized vision.

Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Original Score: 7/10

February 2, 2001
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Anyone expecting a hard-hitting biography will be disappointed by Julian Schnabel's soft-edged, dreamy and relatively nonpolitical film.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

December 22, 2000
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bardem hasn't the charisma to bring variety to Arenas or his plight.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

February 7, 2001
David Keyes

A trip to the bookstore to pick up Arenas' memoirs might be a better decision than seeking out this miscalculated character drama.

Full Review Source: Cinemaphile.org | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 7, 2001
Jason Gorber
Film Scouts

Schabel's most recent work fails to move me. While the story of Reinaldo Arenas is tragic enough to be interesting (and Javier Bardem's performance sympathetic) the film as a whole simply seems long and indulgent.

Full Review Source: Film Scouts | Original Score: C+

June 21, 2007
Jim Judy
Screen It!

Contains many well-mounted and executed individual moments that unfortunately don't seamlessly fit together into one congruous whole.

Full Review Source: Screen It!

February 2, 2001


Full Review | Original Score: 1.5

April 2, 2001
Forrest Hartman
Reno Gazette-Journal

The cinematography is beautiful and clearly shows the director's artistic bent, but the storytelling is often disjointed. . . . Ultimately, Before Night Falls is more successful as a Javier Bardem showcase than a movie.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

January 8, 2003
Blake French

awkward story; it is just not very involving

Full Review | Original Score: 6/10

January 1, 2000
Widgett Walls

The film, clocking in at a mere two hours, feels much, much longer.

Full Review Source: Needcoffee.com | Original Score: 2/5

May 20, 2001
Steve Rhodes
Internet Reviews

More a collection of half-formed images than any kind of a proper story.

Full Review Source: Internet Reviews | Original Score: 6/10

January 15, 2001
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

It seemed to exude more energy into its pretenses than the actual story.

Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium | Original Score: 4/10

March 6, 2001
Matt Easterbrook
Matt's Movie Reviews

All this is well and good, it's just rather boring.

| Original Score: 4/10

December 18, 2000
Kevin Courrier
Boxoffice Magazine

Schnabel gets so caught up in the melodramatic sweep of Arenas' life that he blurs out the specifics which might help us understand his sensibility as an artist.

Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine

December 20, 2000
Eric Lurio
Greenwich Village Gazette

A beautifully photographed movie.

December 21, 2000
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall
December 10, 2001
Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
January 1, 2000
Susan Granger
January 1, 2000
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic
November 6, 2002
Jean Lowerison
San Diego Metropolitan
October 21, 2002
Kevin N. Laforest
Montreal Film Journal
September 10, 2002
Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile
September 4, 2001
Jason Anderson
February 7, 2001
Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
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June 19, 2002
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
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September 26, 2002
Margaret A. McGurk
Cincinnati Enquirer
October 15, 2002
Alexander Walker
This is London
December 15, 2003

Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic
February 7, 2001

August 10, 2001

Boston Phoenix
March 24, 2002

Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic
January 26, 2006
Page 1 of 6
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