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Freedomland (2006)


Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 149
Fresh: 35
Rotten: 114

Critics Consensus: Poorly directed and overacted, Freedomland attempts to address sensitive race and class issues but its overzealousness misses the mark.

Average Rating: 4.7/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 14
Rotten: 28

Critics Consensus: Poorly directed and overacted, Freedomland attempts to address sensitive race and class issues but its overzealousness misses the mark.


Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 100,872


Movie Info

Joe Roth directs his adaptation of Richard Price's novel Freedomland from a script by the author. Samuel L. Jackson stars as a police detective who must investigate a distraught woman (Julianne Moore) who claims that her child was kidnapped by a black man. The accusation stirs up much racial animosity in the town. Edie Falco co-stars.

R (for language and some violent content)
Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Richard Price
In Theaters:
May 30, 2006
Box Office:
Sony Pictures Entertainment - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Freedomland

All Critics (154) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (114) | DVD (13)

This mixed-up, self-important thriller is adapted by Richard Price from his own novel and wastes a talented cast.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Moviemakers who exploit the suffering and death of children to ratchet up the dramatic stakes belong in the innermost circle of hell, but Freedomland -- clumsy and overwrought as it is -- earns the right to its harrowing trajectory.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

What begins as a familiar kind of media-circus melodrama ends up being something much more complex and tangled.

Full Review… | February 23, 2006
New York Observer
Top Critic

A sometimes heavy-handed urban drama punctuated by some devastatingly effective scenes.

Full Review… | February 21, 2006
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

The performances all around are lousy -- histrionic and turgid, a most lethal combination.

Full Review… | February 21, 2006
Village Voice
Top Critic

Freedomland is, at best, a noble failure, which leaves the charred aftertaste of a burned opportunity.

Full Review… | February 17, 2006
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A dazzling performance by Julianne Moore, backed by Samuel L. Jackson. A strong supporting performance by Edie Falco. The story is overwrought and uneven, but those performances had me interested from beginning to end.

Full Review… | November 7, 2010
Laramie Movie Scope


Full Review… | August 30, 2009

"Freedomland" is an infuriating movie made worse by incomprehensible monologues from its deranged protagonist.

Full Review… | April 20, 2009

As an excuse to examine urban malaise at novel length, this premise works; as a film drama, it feels both overlong and sketchy.

Full Review… | February 13, 2008

Clunky, disjointed and with a couple of subplots that linger and then vanish.

Full Review… | April 19, 2007
Apollo Guide

A compelling, beautifully written and impossible-to-put-down book has been turned into a mediocre film that seems self-important and listless.

Full Review… | March 1, 2007
Film Journal International

An intensely engrossing melodrama, despite its ultimately squandering an opportunity to deliver an emotional payoff.

Full Review… | February 19, 2007
Upstage Magazine

As I sat there watching the final slow motion image of a young man framed against the flames of a burning refrigerator box I couldn't help but think, "boy, I should have gone and seen Eight Below instead."

Full Review… | December 13, 2006
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

Not much of this is new territory, but it can be gripping at times.

Full Review… | October 11, 2006
Christianity Today

Filme triste de temática complexa, surpreende por ter sido dirigido por um cineasta normalmente incompetente e traz performances brilhantes de Jackson e Falco (já Moore, apenas correta, carrega na caracterização).

July 7, 2006
Cinema em Cena

Freedomland is a drama that plays like an episode of a TV cop show stretched beyond its limits.

Full Review… | May 25, 2006
Baltimore City Paper

Richard Price's dual plot, of the investigation and the escalating racial tensions that surround it, befuddles director Joe Roth from the very start.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
Sacramento News & Review

Freedomland might just play to the MTV generation, but even they'll likely have trouble swallowing this particularly clumsy pill.

Full Review… | May 6, 2006

Flabby, dull and overlong, it's a B-grade movie with A-list talent and an inflated idea of its own importance. Think Tsotsi crossed with Clockers with the imagination of neither.

Full Review… | May 6, 2006

Promises much but doesn't connect in the same way as another recent film with racial themes, Crash.

Full Review… | May 5, 2006

Freedomland has an extremely strong opening sequence but its intriguing premise is quickly squandered in favour of overwritten speeches and a series of boring, nonsensical scenes that seem to go nowhere.

Full Review… | April 27, 2006

[The] thematic material is so far beyond [director Joe] Roth's reach, you feel that even offering him a stepladder wouldn't help.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)

If nothing else, Freedomland tries very hard to be a good film.

Full Review… | March 14, 2006
Premiere Magazine

Audience Reviews for Freedomland

An ex-druggie white mom claims that she was car-jacked in a black neighborhood ... and that her 4 year old was in the back seat. Thus erupts simmering racial hatred, profiling, police brutality and mucho uber-drama in this uneven effort that has eyes bigger than its stomach. The work of Jackson, Moore and Falco do a lot towards saving what could'be been one truly disastrous mess but only just.

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer


This film had the potential to be excellent. Freedomland is a grown-up crime drama/mystery film with an actual story and substance, which is the complex relationship between law enforcement and racial isuues/tension. It's not that films like this aren't being made, because they are, it's just that they're not as pervasive as they once were.

This starts off pretty promising and strong, but quickly spirals out of hand, losing focus, and becoming a muddled, confused story where nothing is quite as it seems, with the end result being a limp noodle that just sort of fizzles into nothing. The story does get resolved of course, but it is disappointing and rather anticlimatic.

The direction isn't terrible, but it seems like there's a lack of confidence or maybe that the material is good enough to hold things together. The script was adapted from a book, with the screenwriter responsible for both. Maybe the book is better, maybe not. It just feels like with the movie though that something (or a lot of things) may be missing, because when things lose foucs, they also stop making total sense.

The acting is good though. I like the cast, and they give decent performances. In fact, that's probably the only really decent thing at work here. It's just too bad that the material and the execution couldn't also be as strong. The film, despite it's problems, is just kind of average, and not a complete train wreck. Perhaps my bias towards the actors is affecting things, but this film really seems like it's just average compared to similar works, but not completely bad.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A bloodied woman stumbles into an emergency room accusing an unknown black assailant of stealing her car with her 4 year old son still sleeping in the back. Detective Samuel L. Jackson investigates while trying to diffuse the ensuing racial friction in the local projects. Hollywood has another stab at a thriller that tackles race relations, and once again is found wanting. The level of subtlety on display here makes Crash look like a gritty documentary, and Julianne Moore sniffles and whines her way through the film as a completely one dimensional hysterical mother. Even SLJ struggles to keep this sentimental drivel afloat, but despite his usual commanding presence, the weak script and trite dialogue means that following a couple of unbelievable plot contrivances and meaningless platitudes on the level of "God moves in mysterious ways" even he is starting to look embarrassed to be there. This is one of those films that you watch because the star names make you think it deserves attention, but by the end their choice to become involved with such simplistic, melodramatic nonsense makes you feel a little betrayed by them. If you're hankering for some race related drama done right (and even featuring the man himself) I'd stick with Do The Right Thing.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

How bad can somebody act? I've liked Julianne Moore since Boogie Nights and she also has Magnolia on her credits. But her acting in this totally horrible film is so awful. How annoying can somebody be?

The acting in overall was one of the worst I've seen in a while. None of the actors can say that they did a good job.

The script was also a total underachievement. Some of the lamest monologues can be heard in this one.

I've never fastforwarded in a movie or skipped a chapter, cuz I think a movie is meant to be seen from start to finish, but I was so close to do it for the first time in my life.

If you're waiting for a boring 2 hours where annoyment is lurking just behind the dark corner... go for it.

Jani H

Super Reviewer

Freedomland Quotes

Lorenzo Council:
Kiss my ass, brotherfucker.
– Submitted by Moe J (2 months ago)

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