Blindness

2008

Blindness

Critics Consensus

This allegorical disaster film about society's reaction to mass blindness is mottled and self-satisfied; provocative but not as interesting as its premise implies.

44%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 158

47%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 61,714
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Blindness Photos

Movie Info

When one man is struck blind while driving home from work, his whole world is turned to an eerie, milky haze. One by one, each person he encounters suffers the same unsettling fate. As the contagion spreads, and paranoia sets in, the newly blind victims of the "White Sickness" are quarantined within an abandoned mental asylum. But, inside the quarantined hospital, there is one woman who has only pretended she is blind in order to stay beside her husband. She will lead a makeshift family of seven people on a journey to break out of the hospital and into the devastated city where they may be the only hope left.

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Cast

Julianne Moore
as Doctor's Wife
Maury Chaykin
as The Accountant
Alice Braga
as Girl with the Dark Glasses
Yusuke Iseya
as First Blind Man
Yoshino Kimura
as First Blind Man's Wife
Danny Glover
as Old man with the Black Eye Patch
Sandra Oh
as Minister of Health
Fabiana Gugli
as mother of the boy
Gael García Bernal
as Bartender/King of Ward Three
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News & Interviews for Blindness

Critic Reviews for Blindness

All Critics (158) | Top Critics (41)

  • The film is far from dull or careless but it's not convincing as a lesson in human frailty. If you're going to subject us to this much degradation, it has to be irresistibly believable, not just relentless.

    Mar 27, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • I have to admire a mainstream movie that's so overwhelmingly bleak, but that's the only real distinction of this dystopian sci-fi drama.

    Dec 17, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Sadly, 'Blindness' may realise its director's worst fear: to produce not only an exploitation B-movie but one, paradoxically, spoiled by its own integrity and misplaced 'artistic' mise-en-scène and intentions.

    Nov 21, 2008 | Rating: 2/6 | Full Review…

    Wally Hammond

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • His actors do their best, and Moore certainly remains a powerhouse presence whenever she's on camera. But mostly they struggle to be seen beneath the leaden messages.

    Nov 21, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Meirelles, along with screenwriter Don McKellar and cinematographer Cesar Charlone, have created an elegant, gripping and visually outstanding film.

    Nov 21, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's a nightmarish vision but also a bit of a mess.

    Nov 21, 2008 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for Blindness

  • Sep 28, 2015
    I read various reviews of Blindness and they reminded me of some people's reaction to District 9, so I decided to give it a view and see what it was about. Blindness is a relatively straightforward movie and is not particularly good or bad. It is ironic how a film about how ugly humans can become when there are no laws or institutions (why do you think we need them?) gets a strong negative reaction from those that don't want to see that reality, much like the characters don't see what they are doing and what they've become. I didn't find it very insightful or poignant. I can only recommend it as an exercise for those who would consider what they would do in a worst case scenario. Blindness is not really entertainment nor is it very artistic but it is not the worst film ever made either.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 17, 2014
    An entertaining movie with excellent acting and an intriguing plot that lost a few stars due to what I would consider illogical story elements. A In a nutshell, the movie follows a group of folks who fall victim to a blindness epidemic and get thrown into an abandoned facility by the military to be quarantined. One of the women, the always excellent Julianne Moore, is immune to the blindness but pretends to be blind so she can accompany her husband, Mark Ruffalo. The majority of the movie is a harrowing tale of how a growing population of confined blind prisoners with no care-taking provided (with the exception of providing rations). It's essentially an adult "Lord of the Flies." To describe my issue, I need to put a "spoiler alert" disclaimer before I continue. A nefarious faction in the "prison" begins to ruthlessly extort and rape the other groups in exchange for their rations which they then horde. Moore and Ruffalo's character establish that they are clearly intelligent and pragmatic as they keep their group civilized, yet Moore' rarely uses her ability "to see" to an advantage. How hard would it be to sneak in when the bad guys are sleeping and/or distracted before things get completely out of their control. She and the other women are repeatedly raped but it isn't until one of the women is killed during one of these episodes that she decides to do something about it. Sure, one of the baddies has been blind since birth giving him additional sensory abilities to detect sound, but having sight when everyone else is blind is a super-power that isn't used until very late. While it was likely done this way to increase dramatic impact, it's really lazy film-making. Other dramatic situations could have been introduced and improved the movie overall. Beyond that it is an entertaining twist on the apocalyptic drama.
    Mark B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2013
    "In a parked car, in a crowded street, you see your love made complete; thread is ripping, the knot is slipping, love is blindness!" I'm not that crazy about U2, and I'm sure not crazy about '90s music, but, man, I just can't help but associate this film's title with that song, nor can I possibly miss that this film is directed by the same guy who did "City of God". Fernando Meirelles has a pretty distinctive visual style, which is so intense that the lighting might very well make you blind, unless, of course, you're Julianne Moore, whose immunity to the blindness disease in this film is kind of understandable. She's got those kind of eyes that are so cold that you figure she sees either nothing at all or your soul, so the disease must have figured she already blind and bailed out, thus leaving the ginger to enter and save the world. Oh, come on, people, we knew it was going to happen around the time Ronnie Howard stopped being cute, because the gingers had to at least prove triumphant at something, even if it meant taking on blonde hair dye in a world where no one can see what your hair color is, or that Danny Glover is, in fact, still alive, or at least was by 2008. Come to think of it, Glover has still been given a good bit a of work, even recently, it's just that no one is "seeing" the films that he is in, including this one, which is about as seen as anything is to the characters. Okay, this film didn't fall that short of its $25 million budget, it's just that I had to make that joke, just like how I had to make the "Love is Blindness" reference earlier, meaning that I should get some self-control before people actually go blind from reading all of this cheesiness, but not without first discussing the other issues that are caused by, or are at least in this film, which I like just fine, but whose problems aren't too hard to "see" (Yeah-yeah, I know, self-control). An allegory for the masses' interpretation of a serious situation, this film doesn't want to get too caught up in fleshing out the individuals, but maybe it gets to be a bit too carried away in its actively limiting expository depth, hurting your investment in the leads with a strong hint of underdevelopment, and attempting to compensate by shifting focus on other layers to this story and character roster in a way that often works in selling the scope of this film's conflict, but just as often inspires some unevenness which would decidedly be settled down if this film didn't let its layers, like many other aspects in storytelling, outstay their welcome. Somewhat refreshingly, this disease disaster film is almost entirely about the build in a blindness epidemic, rather than the apocalyptic intensity of an infected world, and such a premise would work better if the final product, at about two hours, didn't bloat itself much too much with excess material that quickly devolves into repetition, then falls even further. Before you know it, the film becomes downright aimless, abusing dragging to the point of betraying the sense of building momentum that the dragging actually attempts to reinforce, yet can't, because it just takes too blasted long to flesh out a juicy premise that is still not juicy enough to warrant this relatively hefty length. This film's premise is certainly unique, as well as with plenty of promise (Tee-hee, premise promise), but kick is limited in subject matter this, not necessarily minimalist, but sparse thriller, which takes too much time to deliver, even in concept, and limps for an even longer time in execution, or at least seems to, because on top of being dragging in structure, storytelling goes further weighed down an atmospheric dryness that is not as bland as I feared, but still waters down a sense of consequence in a lot of areas, something that a film like this cannot let happen. There's not a whole lot that this film does wrong, but when it makes a misstep, as it all too often does, it slips pretty far down when it comes to engagement value, and while the highlights and conceptual value of storytelling provide consistent glimpses at a rewarding film, the final product falls short, partially because you can tell that it wants to go further. If no other layer to atmosphere really kicks at you with this film, it's the pretty prominent layer of ambition, whose presence is understandable, but stresses the areas in which director Fernando Meirelles does not stick the landing, and they're hard enough to miss with the emphasis by ambition, because no matter what this film does right, its shortcomings undercut full potential quite a bit, until a relatively underwhelming film is formed. However, the film does not slip too deeply into underwhelmingness, being secured as decent so firmly that it more-or-less borders on rewarding, thanks to genuinely rewarding traits, at least in style. Certainly, Fernando Meirelles knows visual style, and while this film isn't quite as visually punched up as something like "City of God", it is, in a lot of places, defined by César Charlone's cinematography, which is still pretty outstanding, having a certain unique and pretty much genius lighting style that emphasizes the dark spots in an environment in a ruggedly deep fashion which captures claustrophobic tension, while the brighter areas are stressed in an intensely radiant fashion which is both stunning and complimentary to this drama's theme. The film's visual style - which plays with anything from the aforementioned beautiful cinematography to clever plays with lens clarity - offers a considerable cleverness that gives you a relatively firm understanding of what is being faced by the leads in this disease thriller, and that's good, because, quite frankly, this drama's effectiveness deserves as much supplementation as it can get, not necessarily because its kick is all too often squandered, but because it has plenty of potential to squander. Sure, this film's story concept isn't terribly outstanding, as it explores the steadier attributes of a panic-inspiring epidemic to the point of periodic aimlessness, but there's still a lot of value to it, partially because it is, in a lot of ways, kind of unique, with thematic depth regarding the often dark interpretations of an epidemic by both the healthy and unlucky which is actually kind of conventional, as well as often rather heavy-handed, but still worthy, adding to dramatic kick that is truly brought to life by what Fernando Meirelles does right. It's not the best idea to handle a steady story concept with very steady storytelling, because you run the risk of blanding things up, and sure enough, the subtle momentum to Meirelles' storytelling all too often does the kick of this sparse thriller no justice, but when it works, it sells a sense of claustrophobia with a light intensity that augments as the plot slowly, but surely, thickens. Growing more and more compelling as it goes along, if this film was less sparse, it perhaps would have rewarded, but as things stand, the ambition that Meirelles pumps into this film often results in inspiration, and enough of it to keep you consistently engaged to one degree of another, and not without the help of some inspired onscreen performances. What can really make or break a film like this is, of course, the acting, and while the sparseness in dramatic heights plagues heights in acting material with sparseness, most everyone delivers, not just on the chemistry that sells the layered depths of the human relations around which this very allegorical thriller is built, but on his or her own dramatic heights, which are particularly outstanding within such key players as Mark Ruffalo, who captures the anguish of a blind man who grows angry at being just another person to receive care from his wife, whose overwhelming responsibility strains the love in her marriage, and is sold by leading lady Julianne Moore's equally inspired, emotionally charged portrayal of a woman who finds herself responsible for the welfare the sick who cannot infect her. Moore perhaps anchors this drama the most, but she's not the only carrier of this layered ensemble character study, and while I wish I could say that the offscreen talent is as inspired as the onscreen talent, inspiration, from one degree or another, can be found within most ever major beat in the final product, not to where you get the rewarding thriller that this probably should have been, but decidedly to where enough glimpses of reward value are found to make a pretty decent disaster drama. When things start to clear up, you look back to find a promising thriller that is too undercut by underdevelopment, uneven focus, repetitious dragging, dry spells and, of all things, natural shortcomings that overambition tries too desperately to obscure for the final product to truly reward, but through stunning and effectively thematic cinematography that compliments a unique and dramatically and thematically worthy story concept about as much as heights in directorial effectiveness and consistency in inspired chemistry and performances, Fernando Meirelles' "Blindness" stands as a somewhat undercooked, but ultimately reasonably memorable epidemic dramatic thriller. 2.75/5 - Decent
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jun 05, 2011
    Skip the orgy part and it has a great message for us all.
    Andreia C Super Reviewer

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