• R, 2 hr. 5 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Julian Schnabel
    In Theaters:
    Jan 12, 2001 Wide
    On DVD:
    May 22, 2001
  • Fine Line Features


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Before Night Falls Reviews

Time Out
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January 26, 2006
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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November 6, 2002
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine
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September 26, 2002
Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
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June 19, 2002

Globe and Mail
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Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

March 19, 2002
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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In uniting to honor Arenas, Bardem and Schnabel create something extraordinary.

| Original Score: 5/5

June 4, 2001
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
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Clearly this is Bardem's show. And Bardem walks away with it.

March 12, 2001
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
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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.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

February 23, 2001
Rita Kempley
Washington Post
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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.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

February 23, 2001
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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Soulful, deeply moving.

February 23, 2001

Houston Chronicle
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Consistently intriguing and surprisingly entertaining.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle

February 23, 2001
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
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The best American movie since American Beauty.

Full Review Source: Denver Post

February 23, 2001
Steve Murray
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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A visually arresting, well-acted biopic that would be better in Spanish.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: B+

February 17, 2001
Susan Stark
Detroit News
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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.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: 3/4

February 9, 2001
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
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Bardem hasn't the charisma to bring variety to Arenas or his plight.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

February 7, 2001

Ebert & Roeper
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February 7, 2001
David Rooney
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Schnabel has fashioned a dense, emotionally satisfying portrait of a man, a time and a place.

Full Review Source: Variety

February 7, 2001
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
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A prosaically inspirational and passionate work, a celebration of the artistic impulse as a surging force of nature.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star

February 2, 2001
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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Always watchable and often engrossing.

February 2, 2001
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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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.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

February 2, 2001
Jay Carr
Boston Globe
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It's the emotional and spiritual arc of an exile, in all its terrible isolation, that gives Before Night Falls its power.

February 2, 2001
Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
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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.

February 1, 2001
Charles Taylor
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Before Night Falls is such a vivid experience that it holds you fully in each moment.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

January 26, 2001
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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Before Night Falls lays bare not just the cruelty of Cuba's totalitarianism but its spiritual essence.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A

January 26, 2001
Paul Tatara
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Enjoy Before Night Falls as a great movie, and as a celebration of one man's spiritual and artistic fortitude.

Full Review Source: CNN.com

January 12, 2001
Jan Stuart
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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.

Full Review Source: Newsday

December 22, 2000

USA Today
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Spain's Javier Bardem gives an undeniably dynamic lead performance that lifts this labor of love over its incessant downer premise.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 3/4

December 22, 2000
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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Anyone expecting a hard-hitting biography will be disappointed by Julian Schnabel's soft-edged, dreamy and relatively nonpolitical film.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

December 22, 2000
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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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 Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

December 22, 2000
Dennis Lim
Village Voice
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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.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 21, 2000
Kevin Maynard
Mr. Showbiz
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Such a sensory experience; in its best moments, the film washes over you like a fever dream.

December 21, 2000
Peter Brunette
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One of the best films I've seen all year.

December 21, 2000
James Berardinelli
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An intriguing and sporadically powerful motion picture with a stellar central performance.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

December 18, 2000
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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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.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

January 1, 2000
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