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Solaris (2002)



Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 202
Fresh: 133 | Rotten: 69

Slow-moving, cerebral, and ambiguous, Solaris is not a movie for everyone, but it offers intriguing issues to ponder.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 41
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 12

Slow-moving, cerebral, and ambiguous, Solaris is not a movie for everyone, but it offers intriguing issues to ponder.



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Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 46,940

My Rating

Movie Info

A therapist travels to a distant space station to treat a group of astronauts traumatized by mysterious entities -- and ends up having to deal with an entity of his own -- in this second film version of Stanislaw Lem's philosophical sci-fi novel. Solaris stars George Clooney as Chris Kelvin, a psychologist still mourning the loss of his wife Rheya (Natascha McElhone) when he's implored by a colleague named Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur) to investigate the increasingly weird goings-on at the Prometheus

Jul 29, 2003


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All Critics (203) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (133) | Rotten (69) | DVD (47)

Scripted, shot, directed and edited by Soderbergh with his customary intelligence and assurance, this is perhaps the most ambiguous and cerebrally sophisticated Hollywood movie in nearly three decades.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fiasco of infuriating pretentiousness and numbing incoherence.

December 19, 2002
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I prefer Soderbergh's concentration on his two lovers over Tarkovsky's mostly male, mostly patriarchal debating societies.

December 19, 2002 | Comments (3)
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A hushed, haunted tone poem about love and loss.

November 29, 2002 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Soderbergh] tends to place most of the psychological and philosophical material in italics rather than trust an audience's intelligence, and he creates an overall sense of brusqueness.

November 29, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A solemn, splintered meditation on lost love: a movie about personal space, in space.

November 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic remains a fascinating work and its deep questioning of what makes us human when faced with simulacrums feels if anything more relevant today than when it was made.

June 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Steven Soderbergh prunes Andrei Tartovsky?s 1972 film (based on Stanislaw Lem?s novel) to the clarity and concision of a great short story ? a forlorn, philosophical sci-fi romance treading the terrain of "Blade Runner?s" metaphysical melancholy.

October 8, 2010 Full Review Source:

A thought provoking, fascinating and heart breaking glimpse into characters that must come to grips with their past.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Steven Soderbergh's extremely sedate, Spartan science-fiction thriller and love story pits man's common sense and perceptions of a higher power against his own dreams and desires.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

It's an unusual challenge for a Hollywood film with a major star, but worth the effort.

March 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

While Mr. Soderbergh's direction is always compelling, the whole film does not always equal the sum of its parts.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

fascinating, despite its flaws

March 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Soderbergh's Solaris is a gorgeous and deceptively minimalist cinematic tone poem.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Soderbergh's latest may well leave Stanislaw Lem grumbling. My bet is virtually everyone else will be blown away.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

The images are crisp and the pacing faultless, as you'd expect with Soderbergh, and the soundtrack (with music by Cliff Martinez) is an environment in itself.

March 3, 2005
The Nation

Many will justifiably find [it] a heady experience akin to 90 minutes of watching paint dry. Others will see that paint forming something close to a masterpiece.

January 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Portland Mercury

Based on Stanislaw Lem's novel and Andrei Tarkovsky's sci-fi epic, Soderbergh's Solaris is drastically abridged and the most sentimental of the three.

January 15, 2005
Looking Closer

It remains as remote as Pluto from the audience.

June 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY) | Comment (1)

An unoriginal piece of originality. Move on.

May 26, 2004 Full Review Source:

...Tarkovsky Lite, with George Clooney's naked posterior bringing up the rear.

February 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

Sure Solaris is ambitious. Even audacious. But too many plot points are left to the audience's imagination without any explanation whatsoever.

February 1, 2004 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Love it or hate it, however, there's no question this is a seriously intended work by a major American filmmaker.

January 6, 2004 Full Review

... A rare film of value and true significance.

January 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

I really wanted to like Solaris, but it offers very little, and will inevitably fall upon the barren ground in between commercial success and critical acclaim because it isn't courageous enough in its execution to appeal strongly to members of either camp.

November 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Future Movies UK

Audience Reviews for Solaris

Incoherent, but looks good and is well acted
December 8, 2013
Spencer Macklin

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Soderbergh deviates from the fascinating philosophical ideas proposed by Tarkovsky in his fantastic adaptation and focuses on the relationship dilemma, but the result is less involving and suffers from an obvious lack of chemistry between Clooney and McElhone.
August 12, 2013

Super Reviewer

In this elegantly low-key sci-fi drama, we get George Clooney as a therapist who travels to a space station to treat its troubled inhabitants who have encountered something traumatic. While there, he ends up having an encounter of his own.

This is the second film based off of an old novel, and, while it is cliche to say this, I liked the first version better. That would be Tarkovsky's 1972 opus also called Solaris.

That might be the grander, more important film, but this one is significantly shorter, and not quite as pretentious. It's still quite slow and quiet however.

It's a film big on ideas, and yes, while it does drag, it's a great mood piece. If you have insomnia, this or the '72 film would be great to put on. That's not quite a knock, either.

Patience is key with appreciating this movie, but I think it's worth it, and Soderbergh is the perfect person for a remake like this.

Clooney is good, as you'd expect, and Viola Davis is decent, too. I also liked Jeremy Davies, whose "out there"-ness really brought a bit of levity, while also helping to get the mood right.

The plot could be a bit stronger, but overall, this is an alright film that fits somewhere in the upper middle of Soderbergh's oeuvre.
January 27, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Gibarian: If you think that there is a solution, you'll die here.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Dr. Chris Kelvin: And death shall have no dominion. Dead men naked they shall be one with the man in the wind and the west moon. When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone they shall have stars at elbow and foot. Though they go mad they shall be sane. Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again. Though lovers be lost love shall not. And death shall have no dominion.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Solaris (2002) (UK)
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