21 Grams 2003

21 Grams

Critics Consensus

Alejandro González Iñárritu deftly weaves an uncommonly structured narrative with panache in 21 Grams, a stylish, haunting drama full of fine performances.

80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 183

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 210,522

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Movie Info

In a film that plays with the idea of straightforward storytelling, a group of troubled people find that they are linked in unpredictable ways. Paul Rivers (Sean Penn) is an academic dealing with a terminal heart condition, but his life is changed by a car crash that seems unrelated to his ailment. The traffic accident, involving ex-con Jack Jordan (Benicio Del Toro) and the husband of Cristina Peck (Naomi Watts), is one that ruins lives but ultimately also resurrects them.

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Critic Reviews for 21 Grams

All Critics (183) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (147) | Rotten (36)

Audience Reviews for 21 Grams

  • Sep 30, 2014
    This is the first Alejandro González Iñárritu film I have seen. And it certainly wont be the last. He meticulously weaves several characters and plots together in this crime thriller. There aren't many people who are able to direct a film like this. The story isn't completely fresh, but the way it's put together and the execution is brilliant. Iñárritu put together a magnificent cast led by Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, and Benicio Del Toro. It was nominated for two academy awards and very well could have been nominated for 5 or 6. Watts gives another heart breaking performance and Del Toro is once again fantastic. It's the scenes in this film without any dialogue that stick with me the most. The emotion or lack of emotion on the faces of the actors is unparalleled. With Watts in particular she is given several moments to show her true acting chops and give us one of the best performances of the decade, in my opinion. The plot is a bit confusing at first but Iñárritu sucks you in with each scene. There really aren't any long scenes which is one of the reasons it's impossible to step away from the film. It's a real crime thriller, but it also gives us a look at people dealing with true despair and how hard it is to instill hope again. Watts is involved in a tragedy, and subsequently Penn has begrudgingly benefited by this tragedy, all caused by Del Toro. But the great part about this film is that each character you grow to care about even at their worst moments. Iñárritu gives us a good and bad side to each of the main characters. Iñárritu truly breaks ground with this film but in the end it's almost too sad to ever watch again. His intentions are not to depress the viewer but to give us a different perspective. 21 Grams is a masterpiece of a film, but it's hardly re-watchable. +Watts is gut-wrenchingly good +Del Toro's torn character +Refreshing take on the plot twisted crime thriller +Iñárritu's perfect execution +Plots weave together nicely... -...But it does take awhile -Impossible to watch again 9.2/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Jul 28, 2012
    If this film was a car it would be one of those efficient German-branded ones of slickness, style, solidity and reliability. It's direction is solid, nothing risky in the camera work or cinematography, it lets it performers be in charge. And the performers are fantastic, Benicio Del Toro was superb as the remorseful ex-con. Naomi Watts and Sean Penn are great too as you'd expect with the such sharply carved characters. The script is exactly that, sharply carved, there is no bumps or awkward moments that slows or disconnects you. However, where I found the film to be worn down is with the decision for the utterly pointless non-linear narrative throughout the film. It works in some places and is too jarring in others, it completely contrasts the solid, restrained nature of every other aspect of the film. Another problem this narrative style had in a film like this was because jars narrative so much, you can't work up each characters individual personalities, histories or just deeper dimensions...the performances do there best to carve a depth. Still, the film is engaging and its themes do linger in your head for a while.
    Hassan V Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2012
    Normally, I hate non-linear movies, but this one wasn't as difficult to follow as others such as Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy. The format actually kept my mind going as I was trying to put the pieces in the right order. Luckily, the movie slowly unfolds the events and eventually they make total sense. In other non-linear films, events are just thrown at you with no explanation. 21 Grams' script is a well constructed puzzle for movie-goers who don't mind a little thinking. And the performances were wowing, especially from Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts. Sean Penn was great, but not as great as them. I liked the ending as well, it was pretty thought-provoking. Overall, I found 21 Grams to be a well-made and well- constructed drama with excellent performances.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 05, 2011
    '21 Grams'. Bleak, utterly depressing, and completely mesmerising. Naomi Watts, Benicio Del Toro and Sean Penn all turned in fantastic performances, with Watts my stand-out, and the nonlinear telling of this tale worked well in creating a sense of dread over and over.
    c0up   Super Reviewer

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