The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (13)
| Top Critics (1)
| Fresh (11)
| Rotten (2)
Unforgiving in its shrewd relentlessness, the cast is flawless as is the direction.
Some fine talent manages to rise above flimsy scenarios in this multi-thread expose of low-rent Melbourne mothering and its bitter legacy. Surely the whole truth would call for some rays of light in these shabby lives?
A tad bloated and uncompromisingly bleak, Blessed is buoyed by its impressive ensemble cast.
Blessed is uneven and overall not as good as Kokkinos's other films but it nevertheless contains some of her best work to date.
A slow-burning, emotionally haunting film that thrusts the bond between mother and child under a microscope.
Blessed is a rich, unsettling vision of the mother-child relationship, By the end, it is clear that things are not always as they seem. Sometimes it's a reversal of expectations, sometimes an unpredictable consequence.
Blessed's relentless melodrama means the situations feel staged and stereotypical and both the mothers and children for the most part become painful, charmless annoyances who we want to go home to avoid.
Kokkinos is never backward in confronting her audience, but she's also a sensitive portrayer of emotions that are basic to us all and with this marvellous film she has created her best work so far.
Blessed is a powerful and truthful movie experience that lingers long after the end.
Skilfully woven together, the separate tales that eventually intersect portray a touching look at the relationship between mothers and children.
Brilliant performances and Kokkinos' assured direction result in another strong local production.
Blessed with cinematic ambition, Ana Kokkinos and her writing collaborators have forged a striking film out of pain and dysfunction, yet managing to pull out a serene sense of closure in the final moments.
Should you see this achingly performed, firmly directed Australian drama about mothers and their offspring experiencing 24 hours of, largely, bad stuff? Yes, if your tolerance for sombre, sobering close-to-the-bone local cinema hasn't fractured. No, if you're just going to give it all that about how the interweaving, multi-character observation can be simplistically gambling, substance abuse, racism and homelessness. Seeing events first from the children's perspective, before getting the maternal view.
Based on the play Who's Afraid of the Working Class?, the stage origins are invisible. It's a fine script, director Ann Kokkinos is a master storyteller, and the performances are phenomenal. Deborra-Lee Furness brings her steady inner energy to her motherly role, Miranda Otto lives inside her character's head, and the young members of the cast all hold their own. It's unfair to play favourites, but Frances O'Connor's Rhonda - the runaway siblings' mother - is exceptional. At first look, the pregnant, smoking, tattooed Rhonda is a cliche, but O'Connor quickly makes her real.
Well, it's hard to find anything blessed about the lives in this Australian drama. The writers have woven a whole bunch of stories together from children and mothers viewpoints and every one of those stories is adding to the hard and dark atmosphere of the movie. Social study which is depressing but truethful... Very good acting and the directing improved in the second part of the film... Typical Aussie movie!
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