Ararat (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ararat (2002)



Critic Consensus: Though Ararat radiates intelligence, its impact is diminished by an overly intricate plot and cerebral style.

Movie Info

A mother who only wants peace, a young woman who wants nothing but retribution, and a young man whose journey to uncover his roots is jeopardizing his future are estranged members of a contemporary Armenian family who face Turkey's denial of their catastrophic past.more
Rating: R (for violence, sexuality/nudity and language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Atom Egoyan
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 22, 2003
Miramax Films - Official Site

Watch it now


Charles Aznavour
as Edward Saroyan
Bruce Greenwood
as Martin Harcourt
Simon Abkarian
as Arshile Gorky
as Shushan Gorky
Raoul Bhaneja
as The Photographer
Lousnak Abdalian
as Gorky's Mother
Garen Boyajian
as Young Gorky
Setta Keshishian
as Wailing Mother
Shant Srabian
as Doctor 1
Dawn Roach
as Customs Officer
Gina Wilkinson
as Art Teacher
Arshile Egoyan
as Child At Gallery
Kevork Arslanian
as Armenian Fighter
Vic Keshishian
as Armenian Fighter
Arthur Hagopian
as Armenian Fighter
George Kharlakian
as Armenian Fighter
Shant Kabriellan
as Armenian Fighter
Samir Alnadi
as Turkish Officer
Carlo Essagian
as Turkish Soldier
Rose Sarkisyan
as Translator
Chris Gillett
as Celia's Father
Jean Yoon
as Third Assistent Dire...
Shahan Bulat-Matossi...
as Wounded Teen Patient
Manuel Ishkhanian
as Teen Patient's Broth...
Susan Raymond
as German Woman
Mandyf Nissani
as Armenian Bride
Manal Elmasri
as Armenian Bride
Roberta Angelica
as Armenian Bride
Andrea Loren
as Armenian Bride
Araxie Keshishian
as Armenian Bride
Linda Gizirian
as Rape Victim
Nicole Anoush Strang
as Girl Under Cart
Erica Ehm
as Journalist
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Ararat

Critic Reviews for Ararat

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (28)

Egoyan's movie is too complicated to sustain involvement, and, if you'll excuse a little critical heresy, too intellectually ambitious.

March 14, 2003
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

A disappointingly convoluted attempt to present the 1915 Armenian genocide through an intergenerational family melodrama.

Full Review… | May 4, 2010

Great idea. Execution poor enough to compare it to a Lifetime/VisionTV Movie of the Week.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

Verges on the brilliant and is a much more interesting work than Egoyan's admirable but over-praised The Sweet Hereafter.

Full Review… | April 19, 2006
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

[Egoyan is] so careful telling the story of the genocide that much of the film feels cold and didactic, like watching a slide show in a lecture hall.

September 7, 2003
Las Vegas Weekly

One of Egoyan's great pics that in time will grow in stature.

Full Review… | July 22, 2003
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Ararat

Atom Egoyan is probably my fav filmmaker in cinema today. He is a man who is a master of telling complex, web weaving stories. His film "Ararat" is an ambitious project that explains a bit about the Armenian genocide of 1915 but some how loses it's focus due to the complex narrative.

This is a very confusing film and yet it is very well made. The plot is told in trademark Egoyan fashion (non linear, damaged, alienated charcters) but the flaw is Egoyan's handling of the material. I was hoping that Egoyan would have made the film more emotional and heartbreaking like "Schindler's List" and just tell the story of the genocide, the Armenians sufferings and pain rather then adding different layers, different stories, and different characters to confuse movie goers. Sure that style has worked in previous Egoyan pictures but not in this one. Even the handling of the massacre lacks an emotional punch. Truth be told I didn't really care about the genocide of 1915 or it's recents events. What's worst, it's created in this film within a film making it all the more confusing.

With that being said I guess what I admired about the picture was the performance from Elias Koteas who plays a homosexual character and is given a huge part to play in a movie about the genocide. Koteas character is seen very uncomfortable playing a racist, turkish villian (and well who wouldn't be?) but plays him nonetheless although he wonders if he was given the part for the right reasons or the wrong one? The film also deals with a filmmaker making a a picture about the 1915 massacre, a young adult who is trying to buy his way through customs but is accused of smuggling drugs by carrying them in film cans, a woman who is an expert on Arshile Gorky is haunted by her step daughter's debatable questions, and on and on and on.

I guess I would still somewhat recommend the film since it is very well made and yet it is Egoyan's least accomplished works he has ever made. If only the film had some kinda resonance, "Ararat" would not only of find it's true audience, the picture could have been seen as a true work of art.

Critique Threatt
Brian R

Super Reviewer

It would have been simple enough to make a straightforward film about the Armenian genocide (the first genocide of the 20th century and the original holocaust). What Atom Egoyan has done here is make a film that is permeated with a primal rage at the apathy and the ignorance about the genocide today. Even this was not enough for him, however, the film shows multiple points of view within the Armenian community (about what to do with what has happened) and the Turkish (about what, if anything, did happen) one as well.

There are scenes of such heartbreaking, illusrative brilliance (the film-within-a-film reenactment of the genocide features U.S. actors in prominent roles, a U.S. volunteer hospital as the main setting, and the delivery of the KEY line "Go to the embassy...tell them AMERICAN LIVES...are in danger" which perfectly illustrates Egoyan's anger not just at what happened, but how little it has meant because of who it happened to), that pose such challenging questions ("Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Aemrnians?", a quote often attributed to Hitler, is used here in a particularly poignant scene between an Armenian gaffer and a Turkish actor, both working in the film-within-a-film) that the film's messy, uneven, disjointed structure can be forgiven. It is not a perfect film, definitely not a flawless one, but when faced with such passion, such rage and such talent it is impossible to end up with anything other than a work of art. This is the kind of film that can be discussed for hours and hours on end.

Eduardo C

Super Reviewer


This is a film about the Armenian genocide by the Turks in 1915?. A subject I knew nothing about, which is one of the points in this film. Apparently there has been very little documented or reported about this tragic historical event. The Armenians are hurt (rightfully so) and the Turks are not sure what, if anything ever really happened.

While this subject is very important and interesting, this movie was very hard for me to absorb. There were like six stories to follow, and understand. The bitter step daughter, and her revenge against the woman she thinks killed her father. The son's videography trip and his problems with customs. The man from customs and his family. The Armenian artist and his mother. And finally the movie shot within this movie. Too many things going on at once, made the story very difficult for me to follow.

I think I need to watch this movie again...before I can give it a decent review. I wish I could just view the movie they were making, telling the story of the genocide, and skip all of the side stories.

Barbara Ann

Super Reviewer

Ararat Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Ararat on our Movie forum!