Before Night Falls - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Before Night Falls Reviews

Top Critic
March 19, 2002
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
June 4, 2001
In uniting to honor Arenas, Bardem and Schnabel create something extraordinary.
Read More | Original Score: 5/5
March 12, 2001
Clearly this is Bardem's show. And Bardem walks away with it.
February 23, 2001
It's a struggle not just to make art but to exist, which is itself an art. And to that goal, the cast members, led by the astonishing Bardem, allow themselves to be devoured by the roles they are playing.
February 23, 2001
Though Schnabel's first picture, Basquiat, was notable for its excess and self-indulgence, the filmmaker shows restraint and maturity in this moving depiction of Arenas's life and loves.
February 23, 2001
Soulful, deeply moving.
February 23, 2001
Consistently intriguing and surprisingly entertaining.
February 23, 2001
The best American movie since American Beauty.
February 17, 2001
A visually arresting, well-acted biopic that would be better in Spanish.
Read More | Original Score: B+
February 9, 2001
The main reason to see Before Night Falls is Bardem, one of the few modern actors with real animal appeal and the guts to show it.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
February 7, 2001
Bardem hasn't the charisma to bring variety to Arenas or his plight.
February 7, 2001
Schnabel has fashioned a dense, emotionally satisfying portrait of a man, a time and a place.
February 2, 2001
A prosaically inspirational and passionate work, a celebration of the artistic impulse as a surging force of nature.
February 2, 2001
Always watchable and often engrossing.
February 2, 2001
Arenas is not presented as a cliche, as the heroic gay artist crushed by totalitarian straightness, but as a man who might have been approximately as unhappy no matter where he was born.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
February 2, 2001
It's the emotional and spiritual arc of an exile, in all its terrible isolation, that gives Before Night Falls its power.
February 1, 2001
Gives you a sense of Arenas' life, and the time and place in which he lived, that's as vivid as you're likely to experience in a movie biography.
January 26, 2001
Before Night Falls is such a vivid experience that it holds you fully in each moment.
January 26, 2001
Before Night Falls lays bare not just the cruelty of Cuba's totalitarianism but its spiritual essence.
Full Review | Original Score: A
January 12, 2001
Enjoy Before Night Falls as a great movie, and as a celebration of one man's spiritual and artistic fortitude.
December 22, 2000
A spellbinding treatment of the life of the late Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas that also confirms painter Julian Schnabel as a director of the first rank.
Top Critic
December 22, 2000
Spain's Javier Bardem gives an undeniably dynamic lead performance that lifts this labor of love over its incessant downer premise.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 22, 2000
Anyone expecting a hard-hitting biography will be disappointed by Julian Schnabel's soft-edged, dreamy and relatively nonpolitical film.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 22, 2000
Redolent of atmosphere and rapturously cinematic, Before Night Falls has a gift for creating visual mood that's so strong you'd swear it couldn't last -- but you'd be wrong.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
December 21, 2000
The film's ephemeral, semi-evasive lyricism ultimately works as a modest frame for Bardem's tender, deft portrait, which is in turn suitably expansive and rooted in the most concrete details.
December 21, 2000
Such a sensory experience; in its best moments, the film washes over you like a fever dream.
December 21, 2000
One of the best films I've seen all year.
December 18, 2000
An intriguing and sporadically powerful motion picture with a stellar central performance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 1, 2000
If Before Night Falls doesn't give us Arenas's life as he actually experienced it, it offers penetrating glimpses into his life as he may have dreamed it.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5