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Samsara (2012)



Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 77
Fresh: 59 | Rotten: 18

It's a tad heavy-handed in its message, but Samsara's overwhelmingly beautiful visuals more than compensate for any narrative flaws.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 11

It's a tad heavy-handed in its message, but Samsara's overwhelmingly beautiful visuals more than compensate for any narrative flaws.



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 11,487

My Rating

Movie Info

Prepare yourself for an unparalleled sensory experience. Samsara reunites director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson, whose award-winning films Baraka and Chronos were acclaimed for combining visual and musical artistry. Samsara is a Sanskrit word that means "the ever turning wheel of life" and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five



Ron Fricke

Jan 8, 2013


Oscilloscope Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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August 24, 2012:
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All Critics (78) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (18) | DVD (2)

One doesn't have to be a Buddhist to perceive themes of circularity and renewal in Samsara, but it takes that level of patience to suffer its frequent low points with silence and good humour.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comment (1)
Globe and Mail
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A continuous flow of images of the natural world and the human tide that dominates it.

October 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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A Balinese dancer, an African tribesman, a disfigured marine, a Japanese stripper all stand composed, confident, and dignified, daring you to break the gaze.

September 24, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
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Achingly beautiful and visually transfixing, Samsara offers a transporting vacation from the usual multiplex fare. It's a movie to get lost in.

September 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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"Samsara" finds the world a little less blessed than it was two decades ago, yet still beautiful, which seems to be the movie's primary message.

September 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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Fricke and his crew capture such moments as a Hawaiian volcano erupting to life with a stunning, you-are-there clarity. But the film winds up being a collection of striking visuals without any emotional heft.

September 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Comment (1)
Arizona Republic
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Once the meditative flow of phenomenal photography takes hold, the virtuosity of the film emerges.

February 28, 2013 Full Review Source:

A truly individual, dedicated concept that pulls through by seamlessly flowing in perfect harmonic construction.

February 5, 2013 Full Review Source: HeyUGuys

By journey's end, the film comes full circle, tying everything together with the notion that even the finest art in the world can dissipate in seconds...

January 12, 2013 Full Review Source: JWR

Mesmerising, impressionistic movie in which time-lapse intended to ignite thoughts about the meaning of life, society, technology, God, ecology and robots.

December 26, 2012 Full Review Source: 3AW

Beauty and brutality in nature and in humanity are juxtaposed with visual artistry that is a result of both the images themselves and how they are edited together

December 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Magical, spiritual, meditative and calming, Samsara is everything we could ask for - a wondrous, informative and inquisitive work of art.

December 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Fricke has made a panoramic film that captures the interconnected world, particularly in developing nations, in all its beauty and ugliness. We're meant to bear witness, to see and to become aware that what we do in America is being seen as well.

December 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

As a viewer, you are cast adrift in a sea of visual wonder, some of which looks like it was filmed on another planet.

November 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

This visually spectacular travelogue captures memorable images from every corner. The end result is not just a gorgeous picture show, but also a thought-provoking rumination on our complicated relationship with our home planet.

November 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

It's filled with religious and worldly images that encourage us to reflect on them and interpret them according to our own experiences.

November 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Fantasia, with dead chickens.

November 5, 2012
Projection Booth

Ron Fricke tops Baraka

October 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

[The film] presents a stunning series of visuals showing the planet's cyclical journey from nature through civilization and back.

October 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Crams all of the supersized format's extra resolution into a standard image that's so pristine it often feels like 3-D.

October 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Its impact is sporadic and times it's mesmerizing, at others simply tedious.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

With arguably the most incredible colours and landscapes ever been committed to film, Samsara forms consistently coherent episodes that show how, even when other cultures may appear alien, everything is connected.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: HeyUGuys

Audience Reviews for Samsara

Wordless, surprising documentary featuring time-lapse photography of the desert at night, Cambodian monks constructing a sand mandala, trips to a slaughterhouse and a sex doll factory, and other visual surprises, all set to a soundtrack of (very good) New Agey/world music. A meditative "what you make of it" experience that's something like attending a slideshow of vacation photos shot by the world's greatest photographers.
July 19, 2013
Greg S

Super Reviewer

'Samsara'. The beauty and brutality of our world, both man-made and natural, on a scale you've never seen. The visual medium, used perfectly.

There's a hypnotic, rhythmic quality to 'Samsara', with recurring elements like the time lapse, manufacturing plant, night to day, and the symmetry of large numbers of people moving together. The framing and cinematography are exquisite.

Consumerism runs deeply through the film, and at times, strikes as a little heavy-handed / preachy, but it is what it is, as is our world.
December 30, 2012

Super Reviewer

Well, this is kind of impossible to review. Well, not impossible, but certainly difficult. I watched this film, not sure of what to expect (if I should expect anything from a film that describes itself as "search[ing] for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives") and I got a bizarre experience to say the least. The best way I can describe it as a filmed meditation on the cycles of the world and mocking the insanity of American culture (in certain regards mind you). The movie doesn't really start in a cohesive fashion, but by about the 10 minute mark you'll wrap your head around the way the "narrative" works. Once you do this, the movie is a beautifully shot work of art, but possibly a bit too on the nose about its message. Great film overall though. Find a local theater that's showing it (I had to drive an hour and 10 minutes to find a place that was showing it near me) and give it a try.
October 13, 2012
Jacob Ethington

Super Reviewer

Samsara thrives when it celebrates our world without judgment. A symphonic poem, the breathtaking images literally hypnotize the viewer into a trance inducing state. From, religious place of worship like pagodas in Burma and the vaulted ceilings of the Vatican to Muslims circling the Grand Mosque at Mecca. Gorgeous vistas of the sandstone arches of Utah's Monument Valley to half dome Yosemite Valley. Even the urban cityscapes of Shanghai and Dubai: archive a poetic beauty amongst all the natural wonders. A cityscape at night shows cars zipping along the highway in multicolored electronic glow. Like glowing electronic arteries, the modernity is hypnotic on the big screen. It's the visual manifestation of a dream and occasionally a nightmare. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Samsara would take a lifetime to read.
September 14, 2012

Super Reviewer

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