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The China Syndrome Reviews

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Renee Schonfeld
Common Sense Media

Scary, absorbing thriller predicts risks of nuclear power.

Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Original Score: 5/5

May 5, 2014
Richard T. Jameson
Parallax View

What we must quarrel with is the heartless, devious, and appallingly manipulative manner in which the authors of the film have drawn their good-guys-and-bad-guys battlelines ...

Full Review Source: Parallax View

March 25, 2011


The film is one of those rare modern thrillers that manages to combine fantastic acting and intelligent dialogue with real, heart-stopping suspense.

Full Review Source: Film4

March 27, 2009

TV Guide's Movie Guide

Not a comforting film, but an undeniably potent one.

Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Original Score: 3.5/4

March 27, 2009
Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A tightly assembled didactic thriller.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

March 27, 2009
Variety Staff
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A moderately compelling thriller about the potential perils of nuclear energy, whose major fault is an overweening sense of its own self-importance.

Full Review Source: Variety

March 26, 2009
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's an exciting and worthwhile old-fashioned thriller about the dangers of a nuclear power accident.

Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Original Score: A-

January 30, 2009
Rob Gonsalves

File this one under 'Hasn't Aged Well.'

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 3/5

April 9, 2007
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All a bit too earnest, despite the seriousness of the subject, with Fonda setting her jaw and stepping into father's footsteps as Tinseltown's very own protector of humanity; but it's tightly scripted and directed, and genuinely tense in places.

Full Review Source: Time Out

June 24, 2006
Jay Antani
Los Angeles Alternative

Crackling drama about TV reporter (Jane Fonda) investigating a coverup at a faulty nuclear reactor, and pressing upon conflicted technician played by the first-rate Jack Lemmon to go public with the story.

| Original Score: 4/5

March 25, 2006
Emanuel Levy

A chillingly topical, stylishly directed thriller, with great performances from Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda, and Michael Douglas

Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Original Score: B+

June 14, 2005
James Plath

Whistleblower saga that still packs a punch.

| Original Score: 4/5

March 30, 2005
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

The film does still competently pull together a string of solid performances by all concerned.

Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium | Original Score: 7/10

February 5, 2005
Matt Brunson
Creative Loafing

Even without its eerie parallel to real life, this superb film generates enough drama on its own.

Full Review Source: Creative Loafing | Original Score: 4/4

November 19, 2004
Steve Crum
Kansas City Kansan

Controversial in its day, it still scores

| Original Score: 4/5

October 24, 2004
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A terrific thriller that incidentally raises the most unsettling questions about how safe nuclear power plants really are.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 4/4

October 23, 2004
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but an effective thriller.

| Original Score: 4/5

March 1, 2004
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice

The China Syndrome is a piercing look at the dangers of nuclear energy and the unwillingness of corporate heads to put public safety above economic considerations.

Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice

January 27, 2004
Vincent Canby
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The three stars are splendid, but maybe Miss Fonda is just a bit more than that. Her performance is not that of an actress in a star's role, but that of an actress creating a character that happens to be major within the film.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

May 20, 2003
Scott Weinberg

A tight-fisted and paranoid mini-classic.

| Original Score: 4/5

July 27, 2002
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