Critics Consensus

Noble goals and a gripping performance from Rachel Weisz can't save Agora from its muddled script, uneven acting, and choppy editing.



Total Count: 91


Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,904
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Movie Info

An Egyptian slave turns to Christianity in the hopes of pursuing freedom while falling in love with his master, a philosopher and atheist.


Rachel Weisz
as Hypatia
Oscar Isaac
as Orestes
Ashraf Barhom
as Ammonius
Rupert Evans
as Synesius
Omar Mostafa
as Isidorus
Manuel Cauchi
as Theophilus
Charles Thake
as Hesiquius
Clint Dyer
as Hierax-Parabolano
Sam Cox
as Pagan Rival
George Harris
as Heladius Dignitary
Paul Barnes
as Dignitary
Jordan Kiziuk
as Hypatia's Disciple
Stephen Buhagiar
as Parabalano
Michael Sciortino
as Philosopher
Joe Quattromani
as Old Philosopher
Sean Buhagiar
as Christian Student
Philip Mizzi
as Surgeon
Polly March
as Woman with Figs
John Suda
as Customer
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News & Interviews for Agora

Critic Reviews for Agora

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (43)

  • A humorless feminist toga epic that fascinates with its intelligence and its abhorrence of the birth of Judeo/Christian culture.

    Oct 31, 2012 | Full Review…
  • All brain, no heart.

    Jan 31, 2011 | Rating: 2/4
  • This Spanish-produced period drama is pretty dreadful: the drama is torpid, the astronomy lessons pedantic, and the spear-and-sandal production values flat-out cheesy.

    Jan 3, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Alejandro Amenábar creates a palpable sense of place and never strays too far from his duty to stage big, sense-filling set pieces.

    Nov 17, 2010 | Rating: 3/5
  • Although the movie's history is spotty, its dialogue is sometimes clunky, and time frames are telescoped, its overall impact packs a powerful punch.

    Sep 21, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Manages to mix philosophy, history, hysteria and a love triangle and still be something of a bore.

    Aug 13, 2010 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Agora

  • Apr 21, 2014
    While this may not be a favorite among historical purists or religious people, I feel that this film was very significant for me on a personal level. I absolutely loved the story of Hypatia. Whether or not the film is historically accurate, it is inevitably true that she was simply a victim of religious intolerance and blind fundamentalism. It is a heartbreaking story and one which brings tears every time I watch it. I have a few quips about it in terms of acting but whatever else critics have said that reduces the emotional punch of the film, I disagree with and just don't think they are giving it a fair judging.
    Wildaly M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 12, 2011
    Modern moviegoers have the attention spans of small children, so it doesn't surprise me that Agora was overlooked when it was quietly released into a handful of theaters in 2009. Its subject matter is less than appealing for the Christian leaning United States, a majority of whom will not want to be reminded of this particular slice of history. The story takes place at the end of the Roman empire in Alexandria, 391 A.D., when Christianity was beginning to flex its new found political power to squash anything in their way, which would eventually plunge the Western world into the dark ages. Rachel Weisz stars as Hypatia, the first notable female mathematician, and a teacher at the city's most prestigious library. Though she lives in a male-dominated society, she dismisses her suitors in her search for the truth about the cosmos. Agora is not specifically an anti-Christian film, as some have labeled it, but it reminds us that Christians do at times kill for their beliefs (which, incidentally, still occurs [editor's note: this review was written prior to the recent massacre in Norway]). In fact, none of the groups in the film are shown in a very flattering light, as stupid decisions lead to an endless cycle of revenge, with each side believing they are the righteous. Other negative aspects of society at the time are also shown - Hypatia, for her part, has slaves that she treats with disregard. It is a Christian who is shown feeding the hungry in an act of selflessness. It's a fascinating time in history, and it doesn't require the bloody games of the Colosseum to hold one's interest. One of Hypatia's students would go on to become the governor of Alexandria for Imperial Rome. Though she doesn't return his affections, his love for her puts them both in the middle of a power struggle with the Christian coalition. All of the sets and costumes are done quite well, and the city is shown with the same degree of realism as the Roman-era revival film, Gladiator. Though Hypatia seems a bit frigid, Rachel Weisz does a good job with the role, and the other actors fill out their parts admirably. I caught it on Netflix (one of the few relatively new movie releases that interested me) and I recommend it. It's not a perfect movie but it does a good job of capturing an interesting period in our history. This review is a repost from my site:
    Robotbling - Super Reviewer
  • Sep 30, 2011
    This is an outstanding film, my only question is what is fact and what is fiction, it seems to be a movie to show the negative side of both the Jewish religion and Christianity. The story is consist of a slave and his devotion for his Lady, Hypatia. Costumes were outstanding, and a huge cast to make you feel as though you were back in the 4th century. All in all still worth 5 Stars.
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 17, 2011
    Neither Rachel Weisz's gripping performance, the impressive sets, the beautiful cinematography, nor the interesting subject matter can entirely save Agora. It is tainted by a poor script, slow pacing and mediocre acting from supporting roles.
    Raymond W Super Reviewer

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