Freedomland - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Freedomland Reviews

Top Critic
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
June 24, 2006
This mixed-up, self-important thriller is adapted by Richard Price from his own novel and wastes a talented cast.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
May 12, 2006
Moviemakers who exploit the suffering and death of children to ratchet up the dramatic stakes belong in the innermost circle of hell, but Freedomland -- clumsy and overwrought as it is -- earns the right to its harrowing trajectory.
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
February 23, 2006
What begins as a familiar kind of media-circus melodrama ends up being something much more complex and tangled.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
February 21, 2006
A sometimes heavy-handed urban drama punctuated by some devastatingly effective scenes.
Top Critic
Robert Wilonsky
Village Voice
February 21, 2006
The performances all around are lousy -- histrionic and turgid, a most lethal combination.
Top Critic

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 18, 2006
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
February 17, 2006
Freedomland is, at best, a noble failure, which leaves the charred aftertaste of a burned opportunity.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
February 17, 2006
The thing that makes Freedomland riveting is the way in which its tale of human tragedy unfolds.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
February 17, 2006
What saves Freedomland are the individual scenes and the interplay of people.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
February 17, 2006
Freedomland, -- is a jittery, overwrought drama that does all it can to vanquish the fine performances lurking within it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
February 17, 2006
Freedomland is a good idea that got out of control.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
February 17, 2006
Freedomland is so well-acted, so poignantly written, that you can almost forget its excesses and shortcomings and embrace it for what it is -- a serious writer's exploration of racism, cop mob mentality and the mechanics of guilt.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
February 17, 2006
Freedomland, the movie, doesn't flow at all. Joe Roth, who as a director makes an excellent producer, tries hard and you can see the effort throughout.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
February 17, 2006
The movie it's in isn't wonderful, but Moore always is.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
February 17, 2006
Freedomland is the kind of dispiriting February botch that makes you wonder if mainstream Hollywood would be better off abandoning serious subjects to the world of specialized film.
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
February 17, 2006
The film is dark and claustrophobic, and so confined in its location as to seem more like an adaptation of a play than a novel.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
February 17, 2006
The compression renders Freedomland as a slight, not entirely engaging mystery with slight overtones about the dangers of racial profiling.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
February 17, 2006
It tries hard and means well. And I couldn't hardly wait for it to end. Freedomland falls short as entertainment.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
February 17, 2006
Situations that should have great emotional impact drag on into embarrassing shrillness; moments that are supposed to be heavy become leaden.
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
February 17, 2006
Freedomland is not an opportunity denied, just squandered.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
February 17, 2006
Like too many recent movies, Freedomland doesn't know how or when to end, but it has some emotional impact, and it's not shy about dealing with race in volatile ways.
| Original Score: B
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
February 17, 2006
Freedomland entertains with smarts, reminding us that the resolution of one mystery doesn't necessarily snuff out the fuse it ignited.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
CNN.com
February 17, 2006
The complication in Freedomland arises out of Brenda's hysteria, which is so extreme that we doubt her story even before we've bought into it, and from the movie's dogged, booby-trapped demonstration of the sins of racism.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
February 17, 2006
First-rate actors bail out second-rate directors all the time, and Freedomland serves as the latest example.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
February 17, 2006
Freedomland, an overblown urban crime drama that should be a lot better than it is.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
February 16, 2006
There are places where you can see a subtler, angrier picture trying to kick its way out of the one you're watching.
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
February 16, 2006
Even with an ideal cast and a script by Price himself, Roth lacks the sensibility to capture the subtle tensions between the black residents of a tenement project and the working-class whites in a neighboring city.
| Original Score: C
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
February 16, 2006
Steer clear of Freedomland, the movie. Your time would be better spent reading Richard Price's much more compelling 1998 novel.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
February 16, 2006
Freedomland, written by Richard Price from his novel of the same name, directed by Joe Roth and produced by Scott Rudin, purports to be a social study of racial tensions straining under the weight of a highly publicized, hot-button tragedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
February 16, 2006
Roth takes three powerhouse actors -- Julianne Moore as the mother, Samuel L. Jackson as the cop who interrogates her and Edie Falco as another woman who lost her son -- and reduces their talents to rubble and their characters to screeching cliches.
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
February 16, 2006
Freedomland, a lethally dull drama about a white child who may have gone missing in a New Jersey public housing complex, is an early candidate for worst film of the year.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
Top Critic
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
February 16, 2006
The film is filled with good performances, though most of them are frittered away by director Joe Roth, who can never find a focus for the story.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
February 16, 2006
In Roth's hands, Freedomland is a civics lesson disguised as a police drama, shrouded in a mystery that's not very mysterious to anyone who has seen the trailer.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
February 16, 2006
A monumentally overwrought story of child endangerment, racial antagonism, mob violence and police brutality, it provides some of our finest actors the opportunity to behave like bug-eyed, tinfoil-hat-wearing loonies.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
February 16, 2006
Director Joe Roth pumps up the hysteria and the racial rumbles, but a cooler hand would have made for a hotter movie.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
February 16, 2006
What could have been an unusually smart police procedural becomes a sprawling, overwrought melodrama that itself morphs into a sort of spiritual romance.
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
February 16, 2006
As more and more plot lines, characters and possibilities enter the picture, Freedomland loses sight of the tensions that set it in motion in the first place.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
February 16, 2006
A heap of prodigious talent in an orgy of compensatory overacting.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
February 16, 2006
Freedomland assembles the elements for a superior thriller, but were the instructions lost when the box was opened?
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Steve Murray
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
February 16, 2006
A blunt, awkward, wannabe Important Movie, Freedomland bludgeons its good ideas into a pulp of overacting, overdirection and black-and-white characterizations in a story meant to be shaded in gray.
| Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
February 15, 2006
Watchable as it is, Freedomland comes to very little, because it keeps showing you the seams of its good intentions.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Sheri Linden
Hollywood Reporter
February 10, 2006
A moving portrait of hurting souls, brought to life in compelling performances.
Top Critic
Brian Lowry
Variety
February 9, 2006
Brimming with high ambitions but disjointed and ultimately unsatisfying.