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Of Gods and Men (2011)

tomatometer

93

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 111
Fresh: 103 | Rotten: 8

Patient and restrained, Of Gods and Men asks deep, profound questions that will linger in the audience's mind long after the movie.

90

Average Rating: 8.3/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 3

Patient and restrained, Of Gods and Men asks deep, profound questions that will linger in the audience's mind long after the movie.

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 14,624

My Rating

Movie Info

Eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers in a monastery perched in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990s. When a crew of foreign workers is massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, fear sweeps though the region. The army offers them protection, but the monks refuse. Should they leave? Despite the growing menace in their midst, they slowly realize that they have no choice but to stay... come what may. This film is loosely based on the life of the

Jul 5, 2011

$3.9M

Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (111) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (103) | Rotten (8) | DVD (4)

Alternately harrowing and humbling, this is a story of ordinary men whose compassion is tested in the cruelest, most profound fashion.

August 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beauvois takes his time limning the daily rhythms of the monastery, lingering on its most lyrical and sensuous moments, so that when violence finally reaches its gates the effect is all the more chilling.

July 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film, directed by Xavier Beauvois, moves back and forth between the monks doing their daily chores and the decisions they must face as a group.

April 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Forgive me, Father, for I was bored.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Comment (1)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beauvois' camera is watchful and unobtrusive, panning the monastery and its spartan rooms, documenting the brothers' quotidian tasks, but also the modest ritual, the beauty, the illumination.

March 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Comments (2)
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The air that "Of Gods and Men'' breathes is so clean and so cold that it feels like a fresh beginning.

March 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Quietly compelling, if not as emotional as you might have hoped

January 12, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Beauvois shows respect for all of the characters and cultures involved -- the monks, the community they served, even the enemies that the monks remembered in their prayers.

June 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Comment

Una película dura, hermosa y conmovedora sobre un episodio trágico que fue, ante todo, un acto de sacrificio y resistencia ante la violencia y el miedo. Desde ya, una de las fundamentales del año.

September 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Of Gods and Men has a slow, introspective quality that gives the viewer plenty of time to mull over the monks' quandary, but it also has a feeling of constant dread.

September 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Scene-Stealers.com
Scene-Stealers.com

In a world in which faith and ignorance are often yoked together, Of Gods and Men lifts faith from just the throbbing heart to the thinking mind as well.

August 16, 2011 Full Review Source: tonymacklin.net
tonymacklin.net

A deeply moving and profoundly beautiful film about a group of monks working in the mountains of Algeria who are faced with the most difficult personal and collective decisions when the country erupts in brutal civil-war

July 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Screenwize
Screenwize

Confirms without really challenging our readily held beliefs about the nobility of selflessness and sacrifice.

July 20, 2011 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

... as powerful a film you'll ever see about faith, commitment and the courage of one's convictions.

July 5, 2011 Full Review Source: MSN.com
MSN.com

I was stirred by the emotions expressed in this film-and the wonderful performances of its cast. Filmmaker Beauvois chose great faces, as well as great actors, to bring these characters to life, and they manage to convey an enormous amount with very...

June 29, 2011 Full Review Source: indieWIRE
indieWIRE

A wonderfully humanist film about a tragic story.

May 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

...a movie that made me sad and proud to be human, to belong to a species capable of such cruelty and such kindness, and possessed of the power to choose to love those who hate us, and to die with peace in our hearts as the world burns down.

May 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

More than anything, we come away remembering the monks' frightened-to-serene faces . . . and the sublime music.

May 4, 2011 Full Review Source: CinemaDope
CinemaDope

Monks' faith is tested by religious extremists next door

April 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

It is a thoughtful film, a serious one, and one that is sneakily affecting.

April 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

One of those increasingly rare things in modern cinema -- a deeply-felt, powerful film about religious faith that has no interest in peddling the gospel to the viewer.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) | Comment (1)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Slow moving but gripping true story based on a terrorist incident of religious violence that shook up the French in 1996.

April 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audiences will be spiritually moved by the beautiful voices singing the liturgical Gregorian chants. The cinematography is outstanding, capturing the natural beauty of the surroundings.

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

The movie warns against rash judgments, harmful hate mongering and ugly stereotyping -- a film ultimately as much about Rush Limbaugh and his ilk as it is about Osama bin Laden and his.

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for Of Gods and Men

A group of Trappist monks must decide to flee or remain when a nearby village is threatened by Muslim extremists.
As slow burns go, Of Gods and Men is one of the most compelling. Tightly scripted and slowly but tensely paced, as this story unfolds, the film's themes emerge subtly: the film portrays the austerity of faith and how faith leads to a sense of security and conviction. While I'm not personally committed to these theses, the film's portrayal is richly textured and compelling. By the end of the film, we get to know these monks about as well as we get to know anyone in an understated French film, and it's hard not to admire them.
Overall, this is profound and compelling story well-told.
July 22, 2014
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

A slow and touching drama that looks at the true story of a group of monks who refuse to leave their monastery despite the danger they are faced with. This film skyrockets to levels of absolute perfection thanks to the way it handles religion on such a human level. The religious aspects are part of the characters, and not necessarily part of the film itself. Lambert Wilson is astonishing as the quiet but strong monk Christian, who must decide whether to stay and possibly die or leave and live. We are shown the true power of the human spirit without ever having to face over sentimental music or melodramatics. Every scene is handled with absolute faith in the cast and writing, as one scene tears us apart with tension, without needless editing nor a bombastic soundtrack. A gentle masterpiece.
February 28, 2013
kiriyamakazou

Super Reviewer

Loosely based on actual events that took place between 1993 and 1996, this is the story of 8 French monks living in Algeria in harmony with their Muslim neighbors in the surrounding village.

This particular group of monks are from the Cistercian Order, which means that their defining feature, beyond pacifism, is that they do not proselytize or evangelize. Instead, they devote themselves to pray, worship, and serving the needs of the public at large, which in this case is running a clinic that provides the medical needs of the locals.

Despite their differences in faith, ethnicity, and heritage, these men coexist nicely with the Muslims. All of that changes however, when a group of Islamic Fundamentalists kill a group of foreign workers, upsetting the delicate balance. As the fear and tensions rise, the monks find themselves and their faith tested, forcing them to make some tough choices, especially when they are taken hostage.

Despite the fact that I often have a really irreverent regard for religion (primarily my own beliefs), I can get serious at times, and have much respect for productions such as this movie, that take issues of faith, religion, and acceptance seriously. Being a Catholic, and having spent time around monks at an Abbey, I can say that the film does a great job of how they portray monastic life.

This film is quite quiet, contemplative, and thoughtful, much like its characters. The film has a deliberately easy pace, allowing the viewer to really relax and drink in the world these character inhabit, providing a nice look at the everyday workings of monks doing the mission they were called out for.

I also appreciate the portrayal of the Muslims, and how it's not a purely black and white situation. When things get sour, they are handled in an appropriately downplayed manner, relying on subtlety instead of going visceral.

The film is quite moving, and there's many great moments, but the best moment, hands down, has to be the sequence set to "Swan Lake", which absolutely floored me.

While the ending doesn't totally come as a surprise (especially since its based on true events), it is nevertheless quite good. You could argue that the characters and their motives could have been better developed, but I feel like they did it decently enough. The actors likewise, do a good job, and are quite convincing as a group of men with great senses of compassion and devotion. Where the film really shines is in the departments of mood, tone, atmosphere, production design, and cinematography. It's all simply beautiful.

All in all, this is quite a film. I kept getting interrupted while viewing it, which kept taking me out of the experience, so, if not for that, I'd probably be giving this a higher grade. As it stand though, I have a lot of admiration for this. It's certainly not a film for everyone, but if you've enjoyed what you've read, and think you might like it, then give it a shot.
January 8, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

This movie, as beautiful as it is, still presents some dumb technical flaws and the story left me pretty cold, perhaps because I think religion is evil, but I believe something went wrong in the development of the characters. There was a way to get me to understand their motives and it failed to do so. It is not by showing me a man planting seeds that the movie will get me to sympathize with the character.

As good as this movie was, I don't think it deserves all the praise, for this movie offers too much religious points of view and, in the end, fails to keep any rational humanity for itself.
February 25, 2011
emilebond007

Super Reviewer

    1. Christophe: Let God set the table here. For everyone. Friends and enemies.
    – Submitted by Frances H (6 months ago)
    1. Christophe: Dying here?here and now?Does it serve a purpose? I don't know. I feel like I'm going mad.
    2. Christian: It's true that staying here is as mad as becoming a monk. Remember. You already gave your life. You gave it by following Christ. When you decided to leave everything. Your life, your family, your country. The family you could have raised.
    3. Christophe: I don't know if it's true any more. I pray. And I hear nothing. i don't get it. Why be martyrs? For God? To be heroes? To prove we're the best?
    4. Christian: We're martyrs out of love, out of fidelity. If death overtakes us, despite ourselves, because up to the end, we'll try to avoid it, our mission here is to be brothers to all. remember that love is eternal hope. Love endures everything.
    – Submitted by Frances H (6 months ago)
    1. Luc: We are in a high-risk situation, but we persist in our faith and our confidence in God. It is through poverty, failure and death that we advance toward him.
    – Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
    1. Luc: I'm not scared of terrorists, even less of the army. And I'm not scared of death. I'm a free man.
    – Submitted by doruk ö (3 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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Foreign Titles

  • Von Menschen und Göttern (DE)
  • Of Gods and Men (Des hommes et des dieux) (UK)
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