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Museum Hours (2013)


Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 63
Fresh: 59
Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: Its languid pace may frustrate some viewers, but for patient filmgoers, Museum Hours offers a carefully observed portrait of the human condition.

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 22
Fresh: 20
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Its languid pace may frustrate some viewers, but for patient filmgoers, Museum Hours offers a carefully observed portrait of the human condition.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 2,032


Movie Info

Acclaimed filmmaker Jem Cohen's new feature, "Museum Hours", is a mesmerizing tale of two adrift strangers who find refuge in Vienna's grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum. Johann, a museum guard, spends his days silently observing both the art and the visitors. Anne, suddenly called to Vienna from overseas, has been wandering the city in a state of limbo. A chance meeting sparks a deepening connection that draws them through the halls of the museum and the streets of the city. The exquisitely … More

Directed By:
Written By:
Jem Cohen
In Theaters:
Dec 17, 2013
Box Office:
Cinema Guild - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Museum Hours

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (4) | DVD (1)

Sommer is perfect. So is O'Hara. This is the "Before Sunrise" for a very different (and platonic) pair of individuals.

Full Review… | March 6, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Amid all the looking and dissection, Cohen demonstrates an understanding of the individual need for increasingly elusive privacy that feels urgent, wistful, and quaint.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
Top Critic

The quiet time that Johann and Anne spend during museum hours -- and after his shifts on trips around the city -- offer solace in their mutual solitude. Museum Hours is an introverted companion for its viewers.

Full Review… | November 15, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The two leads contribute fresh, genuine performances, and what might have been a musty academic exercise gains in tension from Cohen's deft juxtaposing of vocal narration, character detail, and majestic artwork.

Full Review… | November 14, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's as if Cohen had lived for centuries among these places, and sometimes with art that encapsulates these centuries, and is pleasantly imprisoned within its strength.

Full Review… | October 9, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

It has its tedium, but it's not bad. At times, it's actually quite good.

Full Review… | September 19, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

When Cohen's film is over and the lights go out, the world is not the same anymore.

Full Review… | March 13, 2014
Movie Mezzanine

A Chris Marker kind of exceptional experimental film that sets its sights on observing art, the landscape, people, Vienna and our sense of being.

Full Review… | January 20, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Cohen's simple, masterful film considers how we anoint value.

Full Review… | December 19, 2013

...encourages you to see the aesthetic potential of everything around you, including each frame that appears on the screen.

Full Review… | December 18, 2013

This goes on for more than two hours and will bore some viewers to death. Others, though, will find this quiet, complex film a fascinating piece of art in itself.

Full Review… | December 2, 2013
Eye for Film

Great art has the power to comment on life's issues - sex, death, parenthood, religion, etc. - and Cohen uses the power of the still image to construct a film of moving ones with power of its own.

Full Review… | November 14, 2013

As we learn how to look at the Kunsthistorisches' masterpieces, we're also learning how to watch this movie. ... And better: we're learning how to look at our lives.

Full Review… | October 2, 2013
Christianity Today

Museum Hours is one of those artsy-fartsy meditations on life that you see sometimes in the better cinemas. The good news is it turns out to be more artsy than fartsy: There's plenty to think about here.

Full Review… | September 27, 2013

Calm entertainment.

Full Review… | September 26, 2013
East Bay Express

Most successful at its most hushed and explicitly 'artful,' in the museum; less interesting when it becomes more casual, as when Johann and Mary hang out and discuss general topics at coffeehouses. (Mary is nice, but, frankly, a bit of a bore.)

Full Review… | September 20, 2013
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

A contemplative experimental drama, it also invites moviegoers to take a deep breath, to relax, and to float along in its leisurely exploration of leisurely exploration.

Full Review… | September 20, 2013

Critics have been more than kind to Museum Hours, respectful of its sleepy intellectualism in a 2013 summer of brainless action flicks.

Full Review… | September 16, 2013
Boston Phoenix

The result is an experience not unlike going to a museum itself: a chance to peruse wondrous things in a sacred space. For an evening, a movie theater becomes a place where art and life become beautifully entangled.

Full Review… | September 13, 2013
Fresno Bee

The reward is an intelligent, observant effort that extracts a purity of existence from the nuances of art and enjoys the beauty of human connection.

Full Review… | September 13, 2013

Audience Reviews for Museum Hours

Jem Cohen's Museum Hours is a quiet celebration of simplicity, a calm celebration of the things that go unnoticed and a welcome antidote to societies collective attention deficit disorder. Our two leads are very normal but interesting people, Johann our lead man and narrator is certainly more than he first seems and this is why the film works. Johann is a security guard (is this the correct job title?) working in at the Kunsthistoriches Museum. It is a quite job so we initially expect a quite person and as quietly spoken as he is, he certainly isn't dull. Jem Cohen carries the film along in a rather hypnotic unformulaic and non-linear tone which feels utterly refreshing but completely ordinary. The story, if the film even has one, stops and starts and will suddenly focus on a painting or a discussion and then back to our two leads going about their business which many have found hard to understand even though it is in fact very life-like. It's somewhere between daydream and documentary and it's an experience I very much enjoyed. The direction is also suitably stunning.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

A museum guard at the Kunsthistorisches befriends a middle aged Canadian woman who has come to Vienna to visit a dying relative. This slow, abstract and contemplative movie won't be to everyone's taste; the best thing I can say about it is that it makes me want to go on vacation, visit an art museum and make a friend in a foreign country.

Greg S

Super Reviewer

There is a magnificent stillness in this love letter to the Kunsthistoriches Museum, and it turns around a very realistic and beautifully mundane circumstance: a surprise friendship in middle age that helps make an uncomfortable situation bearable, maybe even fun. Unorthodox film that's very slow and considered but not laborious. A fine work of art.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


It is one thing for a movie to rhapsodize about the importance of small details not only in life but also in art, especially that of Pieter Bruegel. And then you have a movie like "Museum Hours" which takes it a step further in not being able to see the forest for the trees and concentrates on the activities of a solitary squirrel to the detriment of everything else. Which might not be a huge problem if there was anything going on in the foreground.

What little we have here concerns Johann(Bobby Sommer), once a road manager for bands, who now works as a security guard in the fine arts museum in Vienna. In his spare time, he listens to AC/DC and plays online poker. That leaves plenty of time to hang out with Anne(Mary Margaret O'Hara) who is in town from Montreal to care for an ailing relative in a coma. Since she has little money, their options are limited. But getting her a museum pass proves to be little trouble.

But the movie gets bored with that, going off on random tangents and even throwing in a few naked bodies at one point to see if anybody is even paying attention anymore, much less still have a pulse.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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