Of Mice and Men


Of Mice and Men

Critics Consensus

Of Mice and Men honors its classic source material with a well-acted adaptation that stays powerfully focused on the story's timeless themes.



Total Count: 29


Audience Score

User Ratings: 47,824
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Movie Info

John Malkovich, Gary Sinise and Sherilyn Fenn shine in this contemporary remake of the beloved classic about a nomadic farm worker who looks after his dimwitted, gentle-giant friend.


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Critic Reviews for Of Mice and Men

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (1)

  • Well-mounted and very traditional, Of Mice and Men honorably serves John Steinbeck's classic story of two Depression-era drifters without bringing anything new to it.

    Jun 3, 2008

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • It's hard ... to believe Malkovich's shamble and gape, a simian variant on Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Of Mice and Men is a mournful, distantly heard lament for the loss of American innocence.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/4
  • Happily, director/star/co-producer Gary Sinise has approached it not with the awe of an English professor, but with the practical eye of a craftsman: Here are solid characters, a taut and emotional story, a beginning, a middle and a wrenching end.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • The great pleasure of this movie is in what performers Sinise and John Malkovich, Ray Walton and others do with it; what director Sinise does with it; and, perhaps most important, what screenwriter Horton Foote does with it.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • I would not have thought I could believe the line about the rabbits one more time, but this movie made me do it, as Lennie asks about the farm they'll own one day, and George says, yes, it will be just as they've imagined it.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Of Mice and Men

  • Nov 19, 2013
    A decent adaptation that flunks due to a miscast John Malkovich in an over-the-top, cartoonish performance, looking too smart and cynical for the role and making Lennie seem irritating and seriously retarded, so much more than in the original story.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 11, 2012
    Man, in the '90s, Gary Sinise just couldn't get away from the mentally handicapped, though I doubt he wanted to, because films about the mentally ill are about the only films people remember Gary Sinise being in, because he knew that the lovably inept made for great box office bait... except for this one of course. Clearly, once he did "Forrest Gump", he realized that it wasn't the mentally ill that was getting butts in seats, but Tom Hanks, which would explain why Sinsie just had to have himself crowbarred into every post-"Forrest Gump" Tom Hanks drama in the '90s. If Hanks didn't get sick of Sinise by "The Green Mile", I'm betting Sinise would have ended up covering his face in fuzz, brown paint and asking Robert Zemeckis to CG out his body so that he could be Wilson in "Cast Away". Hey, I wouldn't have blamed the guy, because Tom Hanks dramas make money, as opposed to this film, which made very little money, and really, I must say that I am surprised about that. I for one would have seen it just to see John Malkovich play mentally disabled, because he looks too perfect for it, and plus, this film came out a year before "What's Eating Gilbert Grape", so it's not like Malkovich had Leonardo DiCaprio to compete with, if you even want to use the word compete, seeing as how it insinuates that Malkovich and, well, most everyone else who's ever played mentally handicapped stood a chance of topping DiCaprio. Eh, well, by it's own right, this is still a pretty top-notch performance by Malkovich, and Sinise ain't too shabby neither, nor is the film itself. Of course, calm down kids, because this film is still not even close "Forrest Gump" good, and for quite the wide variety of reasons. Immediate development is scarce, which is something that can work just fine, if handled properly, as it is indeed quite difficult to keep limited immediate exposition from doing some damage to a film, and where this film slips up is in its attempts at compensating through immediate characterization. Don't get me wrong, as I'll get more into later, the characterization is reasonably strong, and once you get a hold of it, gradual exposition hits home, yet this film's plopping us right in the middle of our leads' day-to-day, as if we're fully familiar with them, leaves immediate characterization to fall flat and the earlier parts of the film to come off as simply excess filler that doesn't do enough to flesh out our leads. Of course, even after characterization finds a comfortable bond with exposition and we're left with a reasonably firm grip on the characters and story, the film still dives into moments of excess filler, and even occasions of further forced exposition that falls flat and leaves character development to slow down even more. Still, with all of my complaints about the film not being developed quite enough, it's not like we're entirely unfamiliar with this story, as the film the isn't exactly one to refuse a good old fashion cliche, plummeting into one trope of its genre after another, whether they be story and character tropes, or even tonal tropes. A film of this nature and subject matter isn't typically the most subtle, and sure enough, this film gets to be rather sentimental in its dramatic aspects, or even a bit manipulatively overemphatic of certain aspects that rest throughout this film, even outside of the dramatic segments. The film really isn't as especially subtle as it probably should be, nor even as especially fleshed out as it should be, thus slowing the film's momentum down a bit, a situation exacerbated by a consistent flaw that rests throughout most of the film: slowness, for although the film has its high points and low points, you can always expect a slow point to be around most corners, disappearing quite often, though not quite often enough to keep this film from often slowing down too much, and occasionally even all-out dulling out. Gary Sinise's directorial ambition is palpable, though perhaps too much so, and yet, it's not entirely like he doesn't have a right to feel a bit complacent, for although his efforts are faulty, they ultimately triumph as rewarding, which isn't to say that there aren't some strengths that are to be expected from this film's classically worthy source material. I have, of course, not read John Steinbeck's original classic novel, but I am certainly aware of the story and of how strong it is, with memorable characters and worthy themes that have since been done to death by other stories, thus making it difficult to translate the book to the screen all that uniquely. Director Gary Sinise's and screenwriter Horton Foote's (The screenwriter of "To Kill a Mockingbird"; he was old twenty years ago) translation of Steinbeck's original text fails to incorporate a unique enough touch and falls as a highly conventional drama of its type, yet all but compensates being nevertheless well-done, with Foote fleshing out the characters and story, perhaps not as much as he should have, considering the faults in exposition, but enough for you upon the film a reasonably firm grip that goes tightened by the inspired moments in Sinise's direction. By 1992, Gary Sinise's directorial hands were rather inexperienced (They still might be, he didn't anything after this), thus making such faults in Foote's screenplay as faulty exposition and cliches all the more glaring, while leaving certain aspects to descend as rather unsubtle, particularly the dramatic aspects, which are often sentimental and sometimes even rather manipulative, and yet, what Sinise does get right, as director, he really delivers on, drawing a certain amount of intrigue that may not be enough to dissipate the occasional dull spot, but generally all but drowns out much of the slowness and keeps you engaged with the story, creating a kind of compellingness that draws you in and leaves certain dramatic moments - no matter how sentimental - to pierce just deep enough for you to walk away rewarded. For this, credit is not only due to the source material and inspired moments in writing and direction, but also due to the performers, some of whom are certainly better than others (Joe Morton kind of overdoes the whole loud, bitter, dehumanized-feeling southern black man role), but almost all of whom bring his or her character to life in a fashion that makes them as colorful and memorable as they should be, with leading men Gary Sinise and John Malkovich really stepping up to the plate. Malkovich, in particular, steps up to plate, portraying the mentally handicapped Lennie Small character with striking authenticity, pulling back just enough to humanize Small and bring him down to earth, yet still playing up just enough for you to go highly convinced of Malkovich's transformation, which is so potent that he really does disappear within the character, and with charisma and emotional range making his performance all the stronger, Malkovich delivers what is so very easily a show-stealer of a performance. Still, Sinise, as acting leading man, firmly holds his own as the George Milton character, conveying the frustrations, good-heartedness, uncertainty and ambition of Milton with sharp charisma, while delivering on very human layers to tie it all together and cut deep into the essence of Milton, thus leaving Sinise to carry this film more when in front of the camera, rather than behind it. The film has its high points and low points, yet never descends too low, and often hits quite high, thus leaving the film to compel thoroughly and reward ultimately, regardless of its missteps. Overall, the film's lack of immediate development leaves certain spots of later characterization to fall flat, especially when padding filler comes in to dilute the substance, which is already tainted with a degree of unsubtlety - which sometimes descends into sentimentality -, many conventions and, of course, consistent slowness, thus leaving the final product to not bite especially deeply, yet still deeply enough to reward, with John Steinbeck's going translated generally well by Horton Foote's fairly strong writing and by some pretty strong inspired moments in Gary Sinise's direction to break up a consistent level of compellingness, made all the stronger by a slew of memorable performances, the most memorable of which being by leading men John Malkovich and, of course, Gary Sinise himself, both of whom help greatly in making "Of Mice and Men" a consistently compelling and ultimately rewarding adaptation of Steinbeck's classic, even with its shortcomings. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • May 30, 2012
    Good adaptation but I definitely prefer the book.
    Wildaly M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 07, 2012
    It was OK but I was a little unsatisfied by how it was adapted into the movie
    David O Super Reviewer

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