Critics Consensus

Anesthesia's incredible cast is wasted on a sloppily-assembled drama whose grand ambitions are undermined by a flawed screenplay.



Total Count: 43


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User Ratings: 716
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Movie Info

A snowy New York City night, a beloved teacher, a shocking crime: this provocative drama pieces together the puzzle of a man's life just before it changes forever. While on his way home one evening, Walter Zarrow (Sam Waterston), a popular Columbia University philosophy professor, is violently attacked on the street. Flash back one week, as actor-director Tim Blake Nelson traces the domino effect of events that led up to this seemingly senseless assault. Along the way, hidden connections between a seemingly disparate group of people-including a self-destructive student (Kristen Stewart), a hard-drinking suburban housewife (Gretchen Mol), and a desperate junkie (K. Todd Freeman)-emerge, forming a complex, engrossing mosaic of lost souls united by tragedy. The stellar ensemble cast includes Glenn Close and Michael K. Williams.

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Critic Reviews for Anesthesia

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (14)

  • The irony of Anesthesia is that, while it uses interconnectivity as a storytelling mechanism, the characters do not really connect.

    Jan 29, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Stewart stands out because her one big scene seems so passionate and genuine. It's the only moment when "Anesthesia" seems to be working.

    Jan 29, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • A grand gesture going nowhere.

    Jan 28, 2016 | Rating: 2/4
  • A stellar cast of serious-minded players...fight a losing battle against the characters' overwritten dialogue and unlikely behavior.

    Jan 28, 2016 | Full Review…
  • A pile of incomprehensible existential gibberish by the vastly untalented actor-writer-director Tim Blake Nelson about the meaning of life in an age of technology, told in the tiresome style of multiple characters who intersect at odd angles ...

    Jan 21, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic
  • I want to recommend Nelson's film in spite of how misconceived it is simply because it asks interesting questions, albeit in some of the most banal ways imaginable.

    Jan 8, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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