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Waste Land Reviews

Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I do not mean to make their lives seem easy or pleasant. It is miserable work, even after they grow accustomed to the smell. But it is useful work, and I have been thinking much about the happiness to be found by work that is honest and valuable.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

February 10, 2011
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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It shows us how artists find ideas and concepts for their work from the most unlikely sources, and it demonstrates the power of art to spark curiosity and cultural awareness in even the poorest, most underprivileged people.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3/4

January 31, 2011
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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While we await the definitive documentary about the glut of garbage, "Waste Land" reduces this global catastrophe to touchingly human scale.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 3/4

December 10, 2010
Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
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It's sheer pleasure watching Muniz work -- seeing him seized by mad impulses of delight.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

December 3, 2010
Stephanie Merry
Washington Post
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"Waste Land" is a testament that things can go from good to bad in an instant. But they can also improve just as quickly.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 3/4

December 3, 2010
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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It's not a very good title, Waste Land - this isn't a bleak film, at all - but just about everything else in Lucy Walker's documentary works, and illuminates.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 2, 2010
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
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"Waste Land" is a film about recycling, but it's far more intriguing than the average eco-documentary.

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

November 19, 2010
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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"Waste Land'' is just what the film's website says it is: "stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.''

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

November 18, 2010
Mary Abbe
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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"Waste Land" is a must-see PBS-style Cinderella story with true grit, a brilliant cast and an improbably big heart.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

November 11, 2010
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
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That a beautiful film could be set in the world's largest garbage dump sounds like an oxymoron, but acclaimed documentarian Lucy Walker has pulled off precisely that feat in her profoundly moving "Waste Land."

| Original Score: 4/5

November 4, 2010
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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[An] inspiring documentary.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

November 3, 2010
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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[Muniz's] intention to have them re-create photographic images of themselves out of garbage, while it may not pass muster as high art, has the effect of raising their spirits. At least for a while, their lives, and ours, have been transformed.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: B+

November 1, 2010
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
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Walker's breezy film turns Muniz into a folk hero. And who am I to argue?

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3/4

October 29, 2010
Scott Tobias
AV Club
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Waste Land travels to an island populated by society's discards, and finds a piece of salvation.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B+

October 28, 2010
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
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Given that it's about garbage, Lucy Walker's documentary is impressive for having only the faintest whiff of lefty handwringing.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 3/5

October 27, 2010
Eric Hynes
Village Voice
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A fascinating look at the complex intersections of art and charity, reality and perception.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

October 26, 2010
John DeFore
Hollywood Reporter
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A joy to watch despite the abject poverty it contains.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

August 23, 2010
Peter Debruge
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One of the powers of great portraiture is its ability to make us wonder about the complete strangers captured within enigmatic works of art.

Full Review Source: Variety

August 23, 2010
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