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Once Were Warriors Reviews

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Emanuel Levy

One of the most powerful, ultra-realistic dramas about domestic violence--As the battered wife, Rena Welson should have received a Best Actress nomination.

Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Original Score: A-

December 23, 2006
Cole Smithey

Overrated and nauseating.

| Original Score: 2/5

November 14, 2005
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Packed with bloody raw emotion.

Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Original Score: B+

January 3, 2004
Jon Niccum
Lawrence Journal-World

Excellent performances in this New Zealand import

| Original Score: 4/5

October 25, 2002
Clint Morris

One of the year's best films. Totally unforgettable.

| Original Score: 4/5

September 20, 2002
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice

Speaks volumes about the self-destructiveness of peoples who have turned their rage inward.

Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice

August 30, 2002
Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
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A gut-grabber from New Zealand ... that stays with you for days.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

June 18, 2002
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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As often happens when films are intent on getting a message across, Once Were Warriors can't stop itself from overdoing things.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2/5

February 13, 2001
David Armstrong
San Francisco Examiner

It is an impressive first feature for its director, Lee Tamahori, and a splendid dramatic vehicle for its stars, especially Rena Owen.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner

January 1, 2000
Christopher Null

It is a painful and very effective tale about the destructive power of abuse, rape, alcoholism, and violence in general that easily transcends its New Zealand origin.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 4/5

January 1, 2000
Chris Hicks
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Heartbreaking, frustrating, an observation of domestic violence and a tribute to the wives who ultimately refuse to remain victims.

Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 1, 2000
Marjorie Baumgarten
Austin Chronicle

The film's searing performances are matched by the lovely camerawork of cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh.

Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle | Original Score: 4/5

January 1, 2000
Bruce Kirkland
Jam! Movies

Everything about this powerful, poignant film makes it a must-see experience, if you have the stomach for it.

| Original Score: 4/5

January 1, 2000
Rita Kempley
Washington Post
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The actors, many of them of European-Maori descent, are wonderful to look at. They also deliver authoritative yet sympathetic performances that get at the roots, or rootlessness, of their characters.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

January 1, 2000
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
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Reserve judgment until this raw, uncompromising working-class saga is over, and you might find yourself unforgettably moved -- and grateful for the experience.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

January 1, 2000
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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It is powerful and chilling, and directed by Lee Tamahori with such narrative momentum that we are swept along in the enveloping tragedy of the family's life.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 1, 2000
Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
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Yet familiar as the pattern is ... the film holds because of the acting and because it functions as travelogue.

January 1, 2000
James Berardinelli
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Works, to some degree, on three levels: the visceral, the emotional, and the intellectual, and it is the amalgamation of these that makes this a memorable film.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 1, 2000
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B+

September 7, 2011
Andy Klein
Los Angeles CityBeat

| Original Score: 5/5

April 7, 2005
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