Ladder 49 - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ladder 49 Reviews

Top Critic
Ben Kenigsberg
Village Voice
October 6, 2004
A serviceable testament to the firemen who would bravely risk their lives to protect the safety of others, etc., etc.
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
October 1, 2004
Ladder 49 might have been an oversized Hollywood dazzler. Phoenix keeps it firmly and modestly on a human scale.
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
October 1, 2004
Offers audiences a real rarity in theaters these days: a good, honest cry.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
October 1, 2004
Even the best scenes feel canned, secondhand, packaged. We've seen this all before.
Top Critic
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
October 1, 2004
The story of Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix), a guy so emotionally uncomplicated and unquestioningly dedicated to rescuing people he might have been raised by Saint Bernards.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
October 1, 2004
An action drama/weepie that's so busy telling us that its characters are heroes, it forgets that they should be people first.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
October 1, 2004
In its determination to create a tribute, the filmmakers smooth too many edges and simplify too many complex emotions.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
October 1, 2004
I would classify Ladder 49 as a 'safe' movie. There's nothing daring about it, but it offers a solid emotional core and there is a touching payoff.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
October 1, 2004
Every cliché in every movie or TV show about firemen is recycled here but often to pleasant effect.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
October 1, 2004
A testament to the courage of firefighters. And the laziness of screenwriters.
Top Critic
Megan Lehmann
New York Post
October 1, 2004
Plays as if the filmmakers compiled a list of every smoke-eater cliché imaginable and then resolutely set about crossing them off.
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
October 1, 2004
A profile in everyday courage, the common denominator of men who fight fires for a living, choosing to go into buildings that other people are trying to get out of.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
October 1, 2004
An imperfect but deeply affecting movie about the unadorned heroism of working-class firefighters.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Leah McLaren
Globe and Mail
October 1, 2004
The kind of sentimental cash grab that can make a red-blooded gal feel cynical and depressed not just about Hollywood, but America in general.
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
October 1, 2004
What it has is a tired narrative frame ... a lost ensemble cast, no depth of character and a series of situations taken straight from the land of obvious.
| Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
October 1, 2004
Doesn't plumb many depths, but it derives its power from the idea of unity in the face of danger, which also can be taken as a post-Sept. 11 theme.
| Original Score: B
Top Critic
Michael Booth
Denver Post
October 1, 2004
It may be years before any writer makes an on-screen firefighter into a loser, let alone a villain. In the meantime, Ladder 49 will stoke the embers on all of our firefighter daydreams.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 1, 2004
The best compliment I can pay Ladder 49 is to say that it left me feeling thoughtful and sad.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 1, 2004
As more than one character reminds us, these are men who run into burning buildings when you and I are busy running out. All the boilerplate in Hollywood can't change that.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
September 30, 2004
Needs cogent drama or star power, but it doesn't have either.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 30, 2004
A series of Hallmark-card platitudes, not a human portrait.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
September 30, 2004
It's more likely you'll wind up suffering from compassion fatigue than be drawn in to the story.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
September 30, 2004
This is essentially a male weepie about strong, simple men and the strong, simple women behind them, and as such it's platitudinous rubbish.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Top Critic
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
September 30, 2004
Not a saga told with subtlety.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
September 30, 2004
Laughably short on character development.
| Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
September 30, 2004
It's one of those films that can make a snob sentimental, especially if he knows a firefighter -- or a cop, or a nurse, or a prison guard -- who makes a difference.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
September 30, 2004
For all its noble intentions, the movie is really a work of crass exploitation -- an obvious and manipulative grab to cash in on the post-9/11 hero worship of the firefighting profession.
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
September 30, 2004
Morrison, trapped beneath burning rubble, reviews his cliche-ridden life.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
September 30, 2004
Bearable only to people in deep mourning and vulnerable to emotional coercion. Which is, of course what makes the whole thing so distasteful.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
September 30, 2004
The movie isn't afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve. But the sentiment never seems out of place, perhaps because we're talking about people who aren't afraid to put their lives on the line.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Chuck Wilson
L.A. Weekly
September 30, 2004
Dull-as- 1970s-TV screenplay.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
September 30, 2004
Aside from the awesome flames and pyrotechnic scenes of crisis, danger, and part-of-the-job bravery, the movie is a quiet salute; it does its job.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Allison Benedikt
Chicago Tribune
September 30, 2004
A condescending and cloying melodrama, constructed around the almighty flashback and slick in pretending to tell the human story.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
September 30, 2004
[Russell] typically has a good touch with sentimentality and stereotypes, but here he can't seem to get a healthy handle on a cliché-ridden script.
| Original Score: D+
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
September 29, 2004
The makers of Ladder 49 insist that halos remain above its firemen/heroes, which is not the way to humanize them.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
September 20, 2004
... does a wonderful job of showing life in that firehouse.