21 Grams - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

21 Grams Reviews

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½ October 18, 2016
A very dark and heavy story and it is made beautifully by Inarritu. Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Benicio Del Toro all acted brilliantly. 21 Grams's theme to me was portraying that what is lost is always gained in another form. A must see film.
October 17, 2016
Melodramatic; disappointing considering how great Amores Perros was (Iñárritu directing also). Unrealistic story line with bipolar characters lashing out on each other.
Character depth is muted by constant over-dramatized explosions that steadily pervade this film for nearly 3 hours. In Amores Perros, there was more realism to the various circumstances and the way that the three stories merged together. In 21 Grams, the individual circumstances do not come together as seamlessly as Inarritu's past films. Ridiculous caricature of illness, religious conversion, and family loss. Embarrassingly over-the-top; expected more from Iñárritu. Unrealistic plot line with no variation - just over-blasted volume in the form of shaking, screaming, crying actors in every scene; and I like all three actors (Penn, Watts, and del Toro). But for a three hour tale, the immersion of the three and the extremity in which their characters must play out is just too much high-pitched soprano.
½ July 30, 2016
Very hard movie, it penetrates deep into your soul by the tremedous performances of the entire cast.
July 12, 2016
21 Grams
Movie Review

Some movies are like a novel. Some movies are like a poem. Some films have flashbacks and flash-forwards. Some, like "Memento," stretch the boundaries of convention and take wild risks such as moving the drama from the end to the beginning. "21Grams" is a cinematic poetic explosion, shaking all the pieces hard as hell, and then tossing them in the air to fall at random. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, he gives the audience the puzzle unraveled, demanding that we piece together the story from interlaced past, present and future events. It is part flashy gimmick, part artistic mastery, but always compelling. The story revolves around people drawn together due to an accident, a death, and a donated heart.

This is not a film for either the faint of heart or lazy of mind. Nor is it for those who become frustrated by film that dares to step outside the linear plot and paint-by-numbers formula. The mishmash of past/present/future is allegorical in the sense that we all carry our past, all hinge our hearts on the future, and all struggle with a "present" as dotty and haunted as this film so wildly illustrates.

In "21 Grams" it is required that the viewer surrender. As in life, there is no control. I must admit that I became a bit antsy and pressed for answers when none were being provided. You are riveted by events and players that intermingle in a haphazard mishmash of time with a rebellious lack of structure. You can either go with the flow-or back out to your car. Since I saw only one person exit the theater, for any reason, in the 125 minutes running time, I conclude that the fully occupied theater was as riveted as I was, even to the point of extreme bladder control.

The performances are stunning. Sean Penn is always good, Benicio Del Toro solidifies his Oscar, and Naomi Watts is the big talent to watch. Her emotional honesty is beyond acting-I believed her to feel the pain she displayed.

The "plot" almost seems inconsequential. The film is about the depth of human feeling in our brief interplay between living and dying. It's about damnation and redemption, revenge and forgiveness, surrender and salvation. It offers no explanations. It merely illustrates the human experience in a trenchant manner that makes us aware that every minute of every day is a precarious drama that we look upon more lightly than we should.
The dramatic cortex is the human heart-lost, gained, tormented, anguished and confused. The metaphorical context is the fleeting nature of each heart's temporal beat and our desperately valiant struggle to flesh out our mortal hearts' desires.
½ June 15, 2016
21 Grams is saddening to see people struggle with their health and mental state. Benicio Del Toro, Naomi Watts, and Sean Penn give great performances
½ April 16, 2016
A bit of a mess, but Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro level it out.
½ March 8, 2016
3 Revenants. El más auténtico renacer, no a lo romántico, sino con miedo y sangre.
February 24, 2016
Uma histórta altamente emocional, uma gestão dos tempos fascinante saltando de cena em cena mais ou menos aleatoriamente como as emoções que a perda nos deixa, excelentes interpretações muito bem dirigido com os movimentos certos no tempo adequado.
February 22, 2016
Saw this on 22/2/16
It doesn't have much of a story and its non-linear narrative does no help and mostly feels unnecessary, however, the performances are splendid, especially Naomi Watts', well may be because she has more crying scenes. Benecio Del Toro and Sean Penn are all great here, but this is not among Inarritu's best films.
February 21, 2016
This movie is an incredibly intricate puzzle, but strangely enough a very coherent puzzle without having the pieces yet put together.
This is the second movie in Inarritu's disjoint, yet connected lives, trilogy, and this is by far his very best. This might be Inarritu's best movie, the artistic force/vision, intricate screenwriting, hartfelt performances by Watson, Penn, and Del Toro, brilliant editing and ambition that went into this project is absolutely fantastic.

21 Grams is an incredibly, indescribably original modern-masterpiece created by up and coming master-director Alejandro G. Inarritu.
February 16, 2016
well acted and well crafted
½ January 17, 2016
the least favorite of the innaritu's films thus far - I just dont see the coupling of Watts and Rivers and by this point taking a retrospective look of all of his films, you can see his trademarks -- beautiful landscape/cinematography of nature, close-up shots on his main characters esp when they are writhing in pain and spreading those painful moments ever so slowly until you become so mentally exhausted just watching. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but you really ought to be prepared to watch his films because its not easy and it deals with those universal human elements of love, loss, redemption in such delicate ways. Still, I question his choice of Penn & Watts for the roles. Melissa Leo, as usual, gets ignored and yet delivers such a fine performance, as does Bernicio Del Toro.
½ January 7, 2016
One of the best films of the 2000's with terrific direction, intricate editing, and brilliant performances. The film beautifully showcases how with everything that is lost so much more is gained.
January 4, 2016
A deep human drama, structured like a puzzle.
December 14, 2015
Inarritu has became something of a film making guru in recent years, with the Revenant and Birdman sweeping critics into a frenzy, however delving back into the extremely talented directors back catalogue, we find a plethora of work that is wonderfully art house and pretty essential viewing. 21 Grams is on paper and for most of its run time an astounding achievement in cinema, however its inability to round off a gripping story, with a second act bathing in self absorbtion, 21 Grams leaves you feeling, slightly let down with its final moments. The film follows 3 different strangers, who's lives all intermingle around a horrid accident. 21 Grams decides to take the non linear approach, dipping in and out of these time lines, at whatever moment it deems fit and surprisingly it works perfectly, each scene feels completely isolated yet essential for the telling of the story. It never feels confusing or intrusive, jumping about different time periods in character lives, with no sense of order or time scale and if anything its a testament to Innaritu for managing to pull this kind of trick off. A large part of this is completely down to his cast, Naomi Watts, Sean Penn and Benecio Del Toro are all brutally effective, each of them having such a wonderful spark of energy and emotional weight required to drive home such a complex character piece. However 21 Grams falters when it comes to wrapping up its story, what starts off as a wonderfully simple and heartfelt tale, soon derails itself completely into preposterous territory and it feels the need to wallow in this moment for as long as humanly possible. The story works best when it is keeping it raw, simple and full of emotion, it doesnt work so well, when it continually repeats itself over and over again, with moments that add nothing new to the piece, characters will repeat actions and motivations continually almost for the sake of making it abundantly clear of the movies messages, just in case you were too lost too follow, the problem is that, there isnt much on offer here apart from a really contained story, one that really could have done with 20 minutes shaved off. All in all 21 Grams is marvelously crafted, brilliantly acted and gripping when it centres solely on character, it wades into murky waters however with a weak final act and a sense of impending boredom.
½ November 30, 2015
spectacular performances, good proposals from the Director, moving stories. quite simply good
October 29, 2015
I see 21 Grams a slightly lighter version of Amores Perros. And I really love all the fantastic bits in 21 Grams, such as superb acting from all actors, the script, the editing, etc. 21 Grams has this theme that is depressing and heavy but it also tells you something about life, the agony of it. I really like it and before seeing this movie, I have never appreciated Sean Penn. 21 Grams is the one that changes my opinion about Penn.

Not to mention that Benecio del Toro is the most amazing.
October 10, 2015
Jesus. This is a depressing movie. Why does Sean Penn always have to be in depressing movies?
September 19, 2015
21 Grams. The weight of a stack of nickels. The weight of a bar of chocolate. The weight of a hummingbird. Or perhaps, the weight of our soul. Yes, you heard it right. In 1907, Dr Duncan MacDougall published a paper in the Journal Of The American Society Of Physical Research, which claims that a human body loses exactly 21 grams at the precise moment of its death, deducing that human beings have a soul. The paper has since been discredited, but the myth lived on.

And it is based on this myth that 21 grams, a 2003 American drama was conceived. Starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, the story is told in a hyperlink non-linear format, where the past, present and future of three seemingly unrelated characters, converge and coalesce towards each other as the movie progresses. Helmed by acclaimed Academy Award winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu, 21 Grams interweaves several plot lines, around the consequences of a tragic automobile accident. Penn plays a critically ill mathematician, Watts plays a grief-stricken mother, and Del Toro plays a born-again Christian ex-convict whose faith is sorely tested in the aftermath of the accident.

In the initial couple of minutes I was mesmerized by the quality of film-making I was experiencing, but could not help wondering what it was all about. The non-linear narrative confuses you initially and you even wonder if it was necessary, but once you give it time, the movie will floor you. Based on the universal themes of death, pain and salvation, the movie portrays the journey of Christina Peck, a recovering drug addict and family woman, whose life is torn apart by the death of her husband Michael and two children in a fatal accident, by a Christian reformed ex-convict Jack Jordan. She is followed by Paul Rivers, a terminally ill mathematics professor, who was given a new lease of life after a transplantation of Michael's heart.

Iñárritu, has a fetish for the unorthodox, which is apparent in the cinematography of Birdman. Here too, he attempts a unique style. But, eventually, style doesn't matter. Whta matters is that the film has a heart and turns into a emotional rollercoaster ride for the viewers. Love, loss, grief, misery, guilt and redemption are emotions so humane that you connect with the story and its characters. You want to cry with them, console them and give them a hand. Iñárritu successfully manages to bring out these emotions with great maturity and candor.

The screenplay by Guillermo Arriaga is gripping, the editing is crisp and the cinematography is haunting. The music and backgroung score is also incredible. The gives us a sense of the utter despair of their characters, leaving the viewer emotionally wounded. And need I say about Iñárritu. He is the force that binds the movie together. He is confident and brave in his film-making and is one to take risks, without, of course, undermining the quality of his story or its characters.

The performances are incredible. As the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes put it, the movie is full of "fine performances". Everyone puts in the best they have to offer. Benicio Del Toro is outstanding as the ex-con Jack Jordan. His character is one full of layers and dimensions and brings them alive on screen with great impunity. Sean Penn too did an excellent job. One of the greatest actors of this era, he takes up a character in considerable physical and emotional pain and pulls it off effortlessly.

But the clear star of this movie is Naomi Watts. Playing a grief-stricken widow under drug abuse, she gets into the skin of the character, before pulling of one of her best performances. She is beautiful, but the pain in her eyes is unbearable. A particular scene, where she is informed of the death of her family, is heart wrenching and move you to tears. she shares a unique chemistry with Penn and the two share some beautiful moments of passion. If not for anything else, the movie is a must watch for her incredibly moving performance.

Alejandro González Iñárritu is a filmmaker with panache. And with 21 grams, he tells a tale that "grips us, moves us, and astonishes us". Add to it some incredible performances, the movie is a must watch.
½ September 12, 2015
-21 Grams is a 2003 American drama film directed by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu from a screenplay written by Guillermo Arriaga. It stars Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Danny Huston and Benicio Del Toro.
Like Arriaga's and González Iñárritu's previous film, Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams interweaves several plot lines, around the consequences of a tragic automobile accident. Penn plays a critically ill mathematician, Watts plays a grief-stricken mother, and Del Toro plays a born-again Christian ex-convict whose faith is sorely tested in the aftermath of the accident.
As the second part of Trilogy of Death, 21 Grams is presented in a nonlinear arrangement where the lives of the characters are depicted before and after the accident. The three main characters each have "past," "present," and "future" story threads, which are shown as non-linear fragments that punctuate elements of the overall story, all imminently coming toward each other and coalescing as the story progresses.

-The title refers to the early 20th-century research of physician Dr. Duncan MacDougall who attempted to show scientific proof of the existence of the immortal human soul by recording a loss of body weight (representing the departure of the soul) immediately following death. The research by MacDougall attempted to follow the scientific method and showed some variance in results ("three-fourths of an ounce", which has since been popularized as "21 grams" is the reported weight loss from the death of the first subject). MacDougall's results were published in the peer reviewed journal "American Medicine".

--Critical response:
-80% of the critics surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes gave the film positive reviews, based on 178 reviews with an average rating of 7.5/10. The critical consensus states that "Alejandro González Iñárritu deftly weaves an uncommonly structured narrative with panache in 21 Grams, a stylish, haunting drama full of fine performances." Roger Ebert, for example, questioned the use of non-linear narrative, but praised the acting and said of the film overall: "It grips us, moves us, astonishes us." Elvis Mitchell also praised the acting and called the film "an extraordinarily satisfying vision" that "may well be the crowning work of this year."
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