Demolition

2015, Comedy/Drama, 1h 41m

206 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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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. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Grieving investment banker Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) returns to work after losing his beloved wife in a tragic car accident. After writing a letter to complain about a vending machine, Mitchell receives a phone call from Karen (Naomi Watts), a customer service rep from the company. Karen becomes moved by his complete honesty, while Davis finds someone to lend a sympathetic ear. As his new friendship with Karen and her son grows, Mitchell finds the strength he needs to rebuild his life.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Demolition

Audience Reviews for Demolition

  • Apr 04, 2017
    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 T Super Reviewer
  • Mar 22, 2017
    A disappointing character drama, Demolition explores a man's journey through the grief process and attempt to find his personal truth. When Davis Mitchell loses his wife in a car accident he finds an unlikely means of catharsis by writing to a vending machine customer service agent; meanwhile he becomes obsessed with tearing things apart, wanting to see beyond the surface. Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, and Chris Cooper lead the cast and give fairly strong performances. But the writing is weak and the plot is a mess. Also, the ending is rather unsatisfying and leaves a lot of things open-ended. Disjointed and unfocused, Demolition meanders about and never really comes together.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 08, 2016
    It's not the typically structured or impeccably written piece that Gyllenhaal usually takes on. Heck, what would you expect with a title of 'Demolition'. But peeling back the layers of this character and film make for an interesting watch, to say the least. Jean-Marc Vallée directs this as his follow-up to Wild and Dallas Buyers Club, and it's yet another interesting character study in his filmography. Vallée does a nice job of getting the most out of Jake Gyllenhaal, because I'm not sure this movie works without his performance. In fact, seeing the recent 'Nocturnal Animals' makes Gyllenhaal's performance here even more impressive. Both characters deal with grief and loss in a completely different way and watching him create an entirely separate persona for each, and still have it seem real, shows his immense talent. Along with Gyllenhaal (Davis), the film stars Naomi Watts, Judah Lewis, and Chris Cooper. All of them contribute to the arc of grief to recovery for Davis throughout the movie. At its core, the film is about breaking down Davis' consciousness, or lack thereof, and his attempt to rekindle emotion in any sort of way. The film is downright strange, and probably unlike anything I have ever seen, but I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. There's something about the passionless and quirky nature of Davis that was fascinating. Especially, when he's up against Watts, who plays a similarly peculiar character. Ultimately, the story is only going to end one way. So as much as the film's portrayal of grief and sorrow is unique, we know where it will eventually end up. It's not a film that was especially entertaining, or emotionally powerful, but I definitely found it to be unique. So props to Vallée and others involved for at least making a different film. +Gyllenhaal & Watts +Peeling back his emotions was portrayed uniquely -Not necessarily the most entertaining or profound story, however 6.7/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2016
    Okay. Nothing really special. Gyllenhaal's acting is solid, as is the supporting cast's. But the story doesn't really pan out as well as it could. You're supposed to feel some sort of empathy for Heather Lind's character throughout the film, when the film doesn't do a good job of explaining who she is. You have no idea what kind of person she is by the film's conclusion (and I get that this is kind of the point because Gyllenhaal's character doesn't really know her either...but still, this is lazy character development).
    Stephen S Super Reviewer

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