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Miracle at St. Anna (2008)

tomatometer

34

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Reviews Counted: 118
Fresh: 40 | Rotten: 78

Miracle at St. Anna is a well-intentioned but overlong, disjointed affair that hits few of the right notes.

22

Average Rating: 4.6/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 29

Miracle at St. Anna is a well-intentioned but overlong, disjointed affair that hits few of the right notes.

audience

51

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 16,687

My Rating

Movie Info

Spike Lee's World War II film Miracle at St. Anna begins in 1983 with Hector Negron, a veteran of that war, unexpectedly shooting a customer dead. Police discover that the suspect, a quiet postal worker, kept a statue head worth millions of dollars in his apartment. An eager young reporter (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) interviews Negron in his cell about the mysterious artifact. While serving in the all-minority 92nd "Buffalo Soldier" Division, Negron and three comrades managed to sneak deep into enemy

R,

Drama

James McBride

Feb 10, 2009

$7.8M

Touchstone Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (119) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (78) | DVD (12)

Lee is a filmmaker who, through talent, accomplishment, and a constant working of the refs in the Hollywood system, has earned autonomy over his films. I'm all for artistic freedom, but here he could have used a bit of oversight.

November 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Film.com | Comments (2)
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's impressive that a filmmaker of Lee's distinction is willing to continue to push boundaries.

November 7, 2008 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Clocking in at 160 minutes, this interminable movie comes across like a rough cut. Perhaps Lee believed its length would give it gravitas. The opposite is true.

September 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Given the importance of that subject, the real mystery of Mr. Lee's movie is why it's so diffuse, dispirited, emotionally distanced and dramatically inert.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Overwrought, overproduced, overbusy and overlong, Miracle at St. Anna finally suffers from the worst filmmaking sin of all: the failure of trust, in the story and the audience.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post | Comment (1)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Lee] resorts to many of the same hoary clichés and fantasy situations he so frequently condemns.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At 160 minutes, it definitely suffers from Oscar Bloat.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Miracle makes a bid for epic status, but Lee throws in more elements - including murder mystery and supernatural fantasy - than the narrative can stand. The two big battle scenes are impressively staged, but the action in between sprawls and stumbles.

June 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

Takes too long to get to its one moving moment at the end.

September 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Spike Lee has turned in an odd hybrid of a film--a 160 minute war epic combined with a crime thriller combined with a discourse on civil rights.

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Times | Comments (3)
Washington Times

As a theoretical corrective, it's salutary; as a movie, it's a frickin' blooper

August 26, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

The agenda is obvious, but the rage feels justified, and meanwhile Lee gives us a few virtuoso touches.

February 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

While it does have its weak points, it's held together by its unique angle on the war as well as strong characterization for its central characters.

February 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Problematic as a narrative...[but] Lee's simply too smart and talented to make a dismissible film. [Blu-ray]

February 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Ask ten people who've seen this movie what the title's "miracle" is referring to, and you'll get a couple of different guesses and a whole lot of blank stares and shrugs.

January 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide | Comments (6)
Apollo Guide

There are endearing moments but we're in a Spike Lee world where it's okay to interject his "black vs. the privileged white-man" lecture time and again to the detriment of the film.

January 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals | Comments (2)
Cinema Signals

There's no moviemaking miracle at work here, just a half-baked project that might be Lee's biggest disappointment to date.

November 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

It might have been easily trimmed by a half hour, which is a shame, because there are so many good moments buried in there -- a proverbial two-hour movie struggling to get out.

November 12, 2008

There may be a subtle bone somewhere in Spike Lee, but it would take a team of skilled surgeons to find it.

October 17, 2008 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

Lee ... has created a brilliant war movie that encompasses many elements, but manages to engage us with all of the stories within the story he wants to tell.

October 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Atlantic City Weekly | Comments (5)
Atlantic City Weekly

Little imperfections prevent it from being the classic epic it wants to be, but Lee accomplishes quite a lot here.

October 12, 2008 Full Review Source: The Cinema Source

By choosing for his definitive portrait a tale based on a fictional novel rather than an actual true story, Lee has undermined his own efforts to properly depict the wartime experience for WWII-era blacks.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: IGN Movies | Comment (1)
IGN Movies

Lee shows a knack for combat scenes and both the brutality and brotherhood of man. Opportunism, barbarism and hope mix in the most piercing, cathartic scenes. But his grudge match with Clint Eastwood weighs too heavily, and it's an ambitious mess.

October 9, 2008 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

Brilliant homage to the Buffalo Soldiers during World War II may be Spike Lee's most powerful film.

October 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for Miracle at St. Anna

Band of Brothaz
June 12, 2010
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

whoever wrote the script should be sentenced to 10 courses in remedial scriptwriting 101. What a mess - dialogue right out of a high school play, while beating us over the head with its message, and being completely unable to decide what type of film it wants to be.

We take a prommissing start, with some nice cinematic touches, sprinkle in some odd noir (Torturo and the reporter are right out of a Chandler novel), and then do a 180 into a not very intense war piece that is more about snafus and human frailties than anything else (the writer even feels compelled to explain snafu - good grief!).

In attempting to explain all the bizarre situations, there are still holes a mile wide in the narrative, and often actors are left either over emoting or trying to get some kind of feel for the lousy dialog they have to speak.

The final payoff is contrived and ridiculous, and the little "sermon" given by the savior's servent is laughable and cringe worthy (closeup into the camera - as if we didn't already know that this drivel was the "message").

What a disappointment!
September 29, 2009
maxthesax
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

2 hours and 40 minutes is a long time to endure a barrage of one-dimensional characters. Unlike other recent war films that vividly capture the chaos and mayhem of battle, Miracle at St. Anna seems contrived and overly scripted. This isn't combat through the eyes of soldiers, this is a perception of combat through the eyes of a director.

As much as I admire Spike Lee, and as much as I really (REALLY) wanted to like this film, I just couldn't. This one is far too cliche to be taken seriously.
August 21, 2009
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Spike Lee shot himself in the foot when he criticized Clint Eastwood's two-film Iwo Jima masterpiece for not showing the role of African Americans during WW2. First off, the Japanese army didn't have any black soldiers, and second, Flags of Our Fathers does talk about how minorities were mistreated at this time, despite their contributions to the war effort.
But Miracle at St Anna really is a great film, nowhere near as good as Eastwood's films, but still worthy of attention. It depicts in harrowing detail how all black soldiers were seen pretty much as Operation Human Shield throughout much of the war. Even the Germans were able to point that out to them. Lee also shows the division of black soldiers between themselves. There's a great scene where one soldier flirts with an Italian lady, and another onlooking soldier says, "People like him have set our people back almost 400 years." A little on the nose, but the line gets the job done.
Lee has always been a very ambitious filmmaker, and here, he tries to cover the battle from all angles: the peasant Italians, the Italian renegades, the Nazis, the white Americans, and of course the black Americans. At times, the film seems to wander on tangeants, but the emotional impact that Lee is aiming for is never lost. Even as cheesy as the last sequence is, it puts the title into a lot of perspective.
April 30, 2009
MovieGeek13

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Miracle at Santa Anna (UK)
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