The Constant Gardener Reviews

Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
November 27, 2007
Fernando Meirelles, codirector of City of God, stresses old-fashioned storytelling and takes full advantage of his cast, including Danny Huston.
Top Critic
Ken Tucker
New York Magazine/Vulture
December 9, 2005
... Ralph Fiennes gives one of the year's subtlest, yet most exciting, screen performances ...
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
September 26, 2005
Fiennes carries Le Carré's spirit with a slow-burning performance that operates on two fronts: As a powerful indictment of third-world abuses by pharmaceutical companies, and as a widower's moving investigation into his shattered relationship.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
September 1, 2005
Rises to a pitch of terror and outrage that leaves one shaken.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
August 31, 2005
Meirelles clearly trusts his actors, particularly Fiennes and Weisz: The plot of The Constant Gardener is fairly intricate, but in the end, the story is told mostly in their faces.
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
August 31, 2005
The Constant Gardener is beautifully structured, an artful mix of forward motion and flashbacks.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
August 31, 2005
The director's fluttering hand keeps the ground constantly shifting beneath our feet, which is just what this beautifully wrenching adaptation for the screen requires.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
August 31, 2005
Smart, well-crafted and satisfying.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 31, 2005
The filmmaker's assurance and vision in reimagining the novel are downright inspiring.
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 31, 2005
Viewers who like real-world issues interwoven with their fiction -- much in the style of author John Le Carré, whose novel is the basis for this movie -- should find plenty to chew on.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
August 31, 2005
An intriguing thriller for grown ups.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
August 31, 2005
A character-driven drama of actual import that delivers a message and dramatic punch, but with a visual edginess and narrative ingenuity that is in the service of the story, as opposed to the filmmaker's cleverness.
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
August 31, 2005
The Constant Gardener manages to fight through its own pretensions to deliver a tale you care about, featuring characters you care for.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
August 31, 2005
If it sends audiences home to log on to the Amnesty International website, terrific -- but that still doesn't make it a very good movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
August 31, 2005
A film that grips us dramatically, intellectually and emotionally.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
August 31, 2005
Fernando Meirelles's excellent adaptation of the novel by John le Carré is likely to linger in your mind and may even trouble your conscience.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
August 31, 2005
A slick, fast-paced production with first-rate performances and an emotional punch you won't soon forget.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
August 31, 2005
This is not a movie that will shock you or thrill you or rock your world. Instead, it will move you, it will stick with you, it will give you pause and effect you in ways not easily described -- which is something the best films always do.
| Original Score: A
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
August 31, 2005
Yes, the cast is certainly seductive, and the direction often beguiling, yet ultimately we're left with a distinct sense of abandonment, of a story insufficiently told.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
August 31, 2005
The Constant Gardener is more like walking past a series of paintings than watching a movie. You can admire the skill that went into work, but it never carries you along.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
August 31, 2005
This is one of the year's best films.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Robert K. Elder
Chicago Tribune
August 31, 2005
A sweaty, vital masterpiece that's always one step ahead of its audience.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
August 31, 2005
It harkens back to an era when movies about socially relevant causes came without irony and with the conviction that wide exposure could bring about needed changes. In other words, this isn't your usual multiplex offering.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
August 31, 2005
A masterwork of suspense, romance and political intrigue. It is a taut and gripping thriller that dazzles the eyes and engages the brain in a way that few recent films have come close to approaching.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
August 31, 2005
The Constant Gardener is one of the great films of the year.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
Newsday
August 31, 2005
It is comforting to know that, in his tireless commitment to doing Chekhov and Ibsen on the London stage, Fiennes hasn't forgotten how to be a movie star.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
August 31, 2005
The Constant Gardener is the latest movie to try and take a grown-up look at government trickery and subterfuge, and it's the best since 2001's The Tailor of Panama.
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
August 31, 2005
Its creeping pace will bore many viewers, but it'll inspire more than a few to march in the streets.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
August 31, 2005
The Constant Gardener is a thriller with plenty on its mind. It leaves us wondering how well we know the world around us, not to mention the people we love. It's appropriately unsettling.
| Original Score: B+
Top Critic
August 30, 2005
It might inspire you to haul out those garden spades and get digging.
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
August 30, 2005
[Fiennes] gives an Oscar-worthy portrayal, holding us with his quivering half-smile and his wounded eyes.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
August 30, 2005
For an English-language movie with recognizable stars, its measure of social maturity can be startling, but it's also a bristling demonstration of the formal difficulty of liberal narrative, and of ambitious third-world tourist-cinema.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
August 30, 2005
The Constant Gardener is a movie with something to say, and it speaks its message loudly and with eloquence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
August 29, 2005
The fact that none of the above is satisfactorily answered, and that we nevertheless emerge from the movie feeling nourished and stirred, is a tribute to Meirelles and, of course, to le Carré.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
August 29, 2005
It is a complex story and it's the kind of thing where afterward, you really want to think about this movie and talk about it.
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
August 25, 2005
A smart, beautiful piece of storytelling.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
August 24, 2005
There is, I realize, always the chance that such a serious, it's-good-for-you description makes The Constant Gardener sound like a lemonade glass of medicine. It's not.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Robert Koehler
Variety
August 16, 2005
Topically urgent and ripe with outrage over the myriad injustices visited upon the African poor.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
August 16, 2005
Director Fernando Meirelles gives a Third World p.o.v. to John le Carre's often talky, Euro-centric tale of betrayal, venality and corporate malfeasance.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
August 11, 2005
Prepare for a thrilling ride.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
August 11, 2005
There's much to absorb here, all played out against a teeming canvas of human turmoil, in a blistering human drama that is positively electrifying.