Critics Consensus

Demolition benefits from a stellar cast, even if their solid work isn't always enough to prop up a confused story that aims for profundity but too often settles for clichés.



Reviews Counted: 199

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,982


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.3/5

You may have noticed some of the recent changes we have made. To read more about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes, please check out our new RT Product Blog here.

Want to See

Add Rating
My Rating    

Demolition Videos

Demolition Photos

Movie Info

Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father in law, Phil (Chris Cooper), to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis' letters catch the attention of customer service rep, Karen Mareno (Naomi Watts) and amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son, Chris (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.

Watch it now


Jake Gyllenhaal
as Davis Mitchell
Naomi Watts
as Karen Moreno
Judah Lewis
as Chris Moreno
Brendan Dooling
as Todd Koehler
Hani Avital
as Young Waitress
Celia Au
as Punk Girl
Nancy Ellen Shore
as Socialite philanthropist
Ben Cole
as Steven
Debra Monk
as Davis' Mom
Malachy Cleary
as Davis' Dad
Tom Kemp
as Dr. Brodkey
Lytle Harper
as Attractive Waitress
Zariah Singletary
as Upscale Girl
Bjorn Dupaty
as DOT Agent #1
Jane Dashow
as Buccaneer Diner Waitress
Royce Johnson
as Security Marty
Mark Lewis
as Chris' Doctor
Aaron Bantum
as Chris' Friend
Kevin Herbst
as Mourner
View All

News & Interviews for Demolition

Critic Reviews for Demolition

All Critics (199) | Top Critics (39)

There's a beauty in the breakdown, and it's amongst the rubble that Davis finds himself living, rather than enduring, his life.

Apr 13, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

There is much to savor here, especially the unforced performance of Judah Lewis -- one more recruit to the terrific roster of younger actors who are streaming into the movies. Yet the film lacks the courage of its affliction.

Apr 11, 2016 | Full Review…

Thank god for Jake Gyllenhaal. Absent his performance, Demolition would have been a more unbearable slog than it is.

Apr 10, 2016 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Director Jean-Marc Vallée doesn't seem to mind when his movies become sun-dappled insta-redemption stories so long as there's a bravura central turn holding it all down.

Apr 8, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The best I can say is that it's another tour de force for Gyllenhaal, although his intensity isn't matched by the movie itself.

Apr 8, 2016 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

The deadpan and sometimes excruciating discomfort on display, played for laughs, calls to mind the early, emotionally subversive films of David O. Russell.

Apr 8, 2016 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Demolition


A harrowing and complex guide to how the mind copes with trauma. The story goes through the motions of loss and finding yourself in a slowly paced and painfully uneventful series of events. Ultimately it fails to deliver any real compelling narrative.

Drake Tsui
Drake Tsui

Super Reviewer


Donnie gets Darkor!

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Despite Gyllenhaal's praiseworthy performance, this is an unremarkable film that will hardly be remembered in the future as one of Vallée's finest works. Full review on filmotrope. com

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Is it possible to create a story that captivates our hearts without a single likable character? I suppose, but Demolition doesn't even come remotely close. Davis' all-encompassing indifference corresponds to our apathy for him. He is an insufferable individual. Smug and self satisfied, it's impossible to feel any sadness for a man so emotionally vacant. Particularly late in the chronicle when he is physically demolishing the value of his extravagant home, first by taking a mallet to it and then a bulldozer. Whee! It's fun to destroy things. The screenplay by Bryan Sipe (The Choice) never delves into what makes Davis tick. As a result we have no clearer understanding as to what this guy's problem is at the end, than we were at the beginning. That doesn't prevent this wasted cinematic exercise from giving us a neat little happy conclusion that unexpectedly materializes out of the heavens. It conveniently ignores the very foundation of Davis' personality. The contrived ending is the insincere kiss on the lips after a 101 minute beating.

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

Demolition Quotes

News & Features