The Man Without a Past Reviews

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Derek Adams
Time Out
February 9, 2006
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
August 29, 2003
Kaurismaki's movies can tickle you with the briefest of statements, the smallest of gestures.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 27, 2003
At the end of The Man Without a Past, I felt a deep but indefinable contentment.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
June 27, 2003
A powerful film made with minimal means, it's a story of poor people on the fringes of society, done without sentimentality or condescension but with wicked humor.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
June 19, 2003
Deliciously slow-paced film.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
May 29, 2003
Wry, whimsical and sure of tone, dry in all of the right ways and without an ounce of condescension.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
May 23, 2003
Full of deadpan humor.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 23, 2003
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
May 16, 2003
This movie ... may matter to you more than you think.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
May 16, 2003
A gentle, surprising little movie whose rewards lie in what its characters don't say as much as in what they do.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 16, 2003
A dour-faced but sublime comedy.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
May 15, 2003
A compassionate and darkly funny shaggy-dog story.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
May 2, 2003
The director has found a way to make an amusing fable about the costs and possibilities of freedom.
| Original Score: B
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
April 25, 2003
That rare thing: a movie that makes you feel good by sharing some of your pain.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
April 25, 2003
It's a movie that genuinely makes an audience happy -- Kaurismäki understands, and shows us, how a lost past can be redeemed by a hopeful future, and how an unknown place can become a home.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
April 25, 2003
[Kaurismaki] trusts us to find the humor and the humanity that coexist in his world and in the process retains a purity of style and intent.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
April 25, 2003
Delightful and clever.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
April 25, 2003
[Kaurismaki's] a humanist bearing witness to the human parade. To be part of that parade is to be touched by his perspective, and to have your world altered -- magically, fleetingly, memorably.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
April 24, 2003
The prolific Kaurismaki's sweetest slice-of-lifer yet.
| Original Score: 3/4
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April 22, 2003
This underclass fable is slight, finally, but its miserable/waggishly optimistic worldview leaves you feeling a little more alive.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
April 21, 2003
It's wonderfully refreshing.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
April 20, 2003
A delicious blend of hilarity and heartbreak.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
April 16, 2003
Droll, reticent, flawlessly filmed fable of generosity.
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
April 10, 2003
Offers up a subversive comic sensibility, one that somehow combines Buster Keaton's deadpan stare with Frank Capra's tireless optimism and filters them both through a black-ice Finnish point of view.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Andrew Mann
L.A. Weekly
April 10, 2003
In vibrant color, accompanied by mutated Finnish rockabilly and possessed by Kaurismaki's trademark bleak hilarity, it includes all the deadpan delivery, heavy drinking and bad luck of his earlier films.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
April 10, 2003
A surprisingly quirky and touching romantic comedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
April 4, 2003
An understated but weirdly grabbing portrait of a man who loses his memory after being mugged and cobbles together an alternative existence with minimal means.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Megan Lehmann
New York Post
April 4, 2003
Sublime, with a touch of the ridiculous.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Charles Taylor
Salon.com
April 4, 2003
An extraordinarily good-natured movie.
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
April 3, 2003
Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki's serious sense of social compassion doesn't get in the way of great dark jokes in The Man Without a Past.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
April 1, 2003
This may not be Kaurismäki's masterpiece, but it is a movie of sustained stylistic integrity -- and it has the power to make you laugh.
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
November 25, 2002
It is at once artful and unpretentious, sophisticated and completely accessible, sure of its own authority and generous toward characters and audience alike -- a movie whose intended public is the human race.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
June 5, 2002
A sublime work, at once comic, melancholy, meditative, liberating and philosophical.