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Tetro (2009)


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 100
Fresh: 71
Rotten: 29

Critics Consensus: A complex meditation on family dynamics, Tetro's arresting visuals and emotional core compensate for its uneven narrative.

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 27
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: A complex meditation on family dynamics, Tetro's arresting visuals and emotional core compensate for its uneven narrative.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 11,556


Movie Info

On the heels of the self-financed, modestly budgeted 2007 drama Youth Without Youth -- his first directorial outing after a ten-year hiatus -- filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola remains situated in the director's chair for this semi-autobiographical family drama concerning an artistic family of immigrants whose fierce rivalries span several generations. Vincent Gallo stars with newcomer Alden Ehrenreich, with Carmen Maura, Maribel Verdú, and Alden Ehrenreich rounding out the cast. ~ Jason Buchanan, … More

R (for language, some sexuality and nudity)
Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Francis Ford Coppola
In Theaters:
May 4, 2010
Box Office:
American Zoetrope - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Tetro

All Critics (100) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (71) | Rotten (29) | DVD (5)

Unabashedly theatrical and richly cinematic, even when it's falling apart...

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Tetro is a movie filled with splashes of brilliance rather than being a plain brilliant movie.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

Tetro is, in many ways, a thematic and spiritual cousin to Rumble Fish, another tale of an innocent who idolizes his older brother and craves his affection more than he should.

October 30, 2009
Miami Herald
Top Critic

What threatens to be a mere exercise in style proves to be as involving as it is inventive.

Full Review… | September 17, 2009
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

While Coppola seems revitalized by quoting from movies he studied at UCLA film school, what ultimately makes Tetro so compelling is the filmmaker's return to the motifs that made his 1970s films powerful.

Full Review… | August 14, 2009
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

What makes it eminently watchable is the craft. Cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. films in luscious widescreen monochrome that looks almost wet. Osvaldo Golijov's score is another pleasure.

Full Review… | August 14, 2009
Toronto Star
Top Critic

It's a deeply personal picture that's overflowing with exuberance and passion and is the director's best work in over twenty years.

Full Review… | July 8, 2010
The Skinny

A dazzling stylistic exercise, Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro pays tribute to great bygone European filmmakers.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010

Shot mostly in a chiaroscuro black and white, with color interludes for the flashbacks and for surreal ballet sequences in the mode of Michael Powell's The Red Shoes, Tetro rewards the eye.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Boston Phoenix

Funny, haunting, strange and striking in equal measure, Tetro is a triumph that reconfirms Francis Ford Coppola's position as one of the great American filmmakers...

Full Review… | July 6, 2010

There is not enough dramatic tension to sustain the film for two hours and conjectures about the Coppola family saga are really extraneous to the experience of Tetro.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Austin Chronicle

Incidents take a back seat to the main event, which is Francis Ford Coppola swooshing ideas and feelings about fathers, sons, blood ties and artistic accomplishment around in a big wine glass.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010

Stylish, involving and intensely personal, the film really gets under the skin with its emotional story and powerfully visual tone.

Full Review… | June 30, 2010
Shadows on the Wall

Coppola may be working on, for him, a smallish budget (reportedly around $15 million) but that doesn't mean his usual craftsmanship has abated. The film is sleekly shot and edited.

Full Review… | June 30, 2010
Uncut Magazine [UK]

Coppola's fascination with family ties and guilty secrets is at the heart of a grandiose but half-baked saga that doffs its cap to the florid theatricality of Powell and Pressburger and Sixties Italian classics such as La Dolce Vita.

Full Review… | June 28, 2010
Daily Express

The way ahead could be for Coppola père et fils to stay away from personal themes. Family isn't everything.

Full Review… | June 26, 2010

Frustrating and fitfully compelling, Tetro may not be a return to former glories, but this is Coppola through and through, an over-ambitious effort about thwarted ambition, full of ideas and passion, and smitten with cinema.

Full Review… | June 26, 2010
Empire Magazine

It would be kindest to ignore Tetro.

Full Review… | June 25, 2010

Though it's unlikely to announce his return to the grand stage of big-budget cinema, the movie is graced with touches of the old Coppola magic.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Daily Telegraph

Coppola is a shadow of the director he used to be. The use of black-and-white here only shows that more starkly.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Digital Spy

The black and white cinematography and unusual sound design combining to haunting effect.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Radio Times

for the most part it marks Coppola once again at the very top of his game - and there are enough nuances, ellipses and ambiguities here to make every return visit reveal something different and new.

Full Review… | June 24, 2010
Eye for Film

Francis Ford Coppola makes a superb return to form with this intriguing and poetic journey into a troubled sibling relationship and the tortured psyche of an artistic genius.

Full Review… | June 23, 2010

Tetro stands as proof that Coppola, with an almost stationary camera and nothing more technical than light on film, can still achieve a more stunning visual experience than the 3D CGI of Avatar.

Full Review… | June 16, 2010
Electric Sheep

Audience Reviews for Tetro


Carlo: What has happened to our family? 
Bennie: Rivalry. 

"Every family has a past."

Tetro is a beautifully shot and acted film. It is filmed in black and white against, with Argentina as a setting. The career of Francis Ford Coppola is filled with masterpieces and a couple disasters, most notably Jack. Tetro is in-between. It is incredibly well made, but comes off as a little overly artsy at times. I enjoyed it, but I can see it being a little off-putting. 

The story concerns two brothers. Bennie is the youngest, and is sensitive and emotional. The other is Tetro, who is the oldest and seems mean spirited in the beginning, but as we learn the back story it makes more and more sense. The two brothers haven't seen each other in a decade, when Bennie shows up at Tetro's apartment. Tetro had left for a writing sabbatical, leaving a note for Bennie, saying he would come back and get him. That never happened and Bennie is hurt by it. He just wants to be close to his brother, but Tetro left the family a long time ago. They strike up some sort of relationship as we slowly piece together the family's story. It all leads to a plot, I don't want to say twist, but sharp right turn would work.

Everything about the movie is beautiful. The scenery, the cinematography, the performances from Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehenreich, and Maribel Verdú, and of course Coppola's signature touch. The only real problem I have with the movie is there's about a twenty to thirty minute period in the middle that just dragged. But the beginning and ending are great.

What you need to know about the movie is that it is extremely slow and relies much more on character, over plot. It could easily come off as boring, but it is always marvelous to look at. Plus Vincent Gallo always keeps the viewer interested.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

When is this fucking picture supposed to take place? 1970's? 1940's? now? judging by Vincent's outfits, it should be 1979, except he dresses like that everyday on and off the sets of movies. i think his mother brought him home from the hospital with women's bell-bottoms and red boots on. its pretty funny to watch him in 90% of his scenes with an unlit cigarette in his mouth and it just sits there like a funny hat. he moves it around with his teeth, takes it in and out between words, and the few times you see him light it, no smoke comes out of his mouth. so i think he's trying some of those new toothpicks that are designed to look like cigarettes. he doesn't smoke in real life. as a Vincenzo obsessor, i can say this is one of his best works in terms of just being an italian prick. this is also apparently the first film he had rehearsed for, which shows because you can see the prickiness in his eyes in every shot. and when he lights his cigarettes and doesn't even take the energy to inhale, you can just tell he fucking hates people really hard. Vincent Gallo mumbles the word "asshole" in his sleep.

Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer


Absolutely stunning

Joseph Brightly
Joseph Brightly

Super Reviewer

"Tetro" is unlike any of Francis Ford Coppola's other movies because it comes for a very personal place. Even if this sometimes comes off as pretentious, we are however dealing with very real people who aren't always going to say and do what we would. Vincent Gallo gives a near perfect performance and shows that he is a truly amazing actor when given the right script and character. Its greatest accomplishment is creating the setting of 1950's Italy in 2008 Buenos Aires. Whether it was intended or not this is the greatest effort in making a nostalgia Neo-Realism movie, because at some times it feels like its 40 or 50 years old. You can tell that this was a very personal project for Coppola, and its simplistic nature proves that you don't need the deep pockets of Hollywood to make an exceptionally good movie.

Nelson Pickens

Super Reviewer

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