Mo' Better Blues - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mo' Better Blues Reviews

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Brian Orndorf
August 7, 2010
It's a burning, feeling film of impulses, bringing out the best in the filmmaker, who used to create miniature moviegoing events with his releases, before He Got Game came along and smothered his good taste.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Charles Shaar Murray
Empire Magazine
September 22, 2008
It's tight, suspenseful, funny and packed with great music.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5

TV Guide
September 22, 2008
Full of wonderful music, grand visuals, and melodramatic plot twists, the movie is laced with very funny moments, as well as interesting insights into the world of jazz and the plight of the dedicated musician.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Variety Staff
September 22, 2008
Personal rather than social issues come to the fore in Mo' Better Blues, a Spike Lee personality piece dressed in jazz trappings that puffs itself up like Bird but doesn't really fly.

September 22, 2008
Denzel, Wesley and Co are fine, but Mo' Better Blues hits too many bum notes.
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
September 22, 2008
Though it's full of striking visual ideas and actorly turns, it never fully convinces.
Emanuel Levy
June 24, 2008
Centering on the career of a jazz musician (well played by Denzel Washington, just before he became a star), this mid-range picture has nice production values but the drama is too diffuse, lacking the edge of Spike Lee's more overtly political works.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Douglas Pratt
June 14, 2007
Spike Lee's film is filled with promising ideas and moments of technical virtuosity.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
February 9, 2006
Despite stylish camerawork and sturdy acting, this lengthy indulgence succeeds neither as jazz movie nor as cautionary tale.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 23, 2004
Mo' Better Blues is not a great film, but it's an interesting one, which is almost as rare.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Rob Thomas
Capital Times (Madison, WI)
September 9, 2004
Atmospheric character study by Lee with a bravely unlikable Denzel Washington.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Caryn James
New York Times
May 20, 2003
From characters to camera angles, this story of a self-absorbed jazz trumpeter is one long cliche, the kind that might make his most loyal admirers wince and wonder, 'Spike, what happened?'
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Alex Sandell
Juicy Cerebellum
July 25, 2002
Denzel Washington really comes into his own in this one, as a struggling jazz musician. Worth a rental for his performance, alone!
| Original Score: 3/5
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
January 15, 2002
Spike Lee's creative film revolving around the difficulties modern men have in finding the proper balance between work and love in their lives.
Stephen Farber
January 9, 2002
Mo' Better Blues, in thrall to the cliches of the star-is-born musicals of the past, is a stillborn academic exercise.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 12, 2001
For the only time in his remarkable career, Spike Lee has failed to tell it like it is.
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Hal Hinson
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
If Lee was striving to convey a fuller sense of the jazz musician's life, of the connections between black life and black music, or a deeper, more soulful feeling for the music itself, his efforts fall short.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
Few will accuse Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues of being a masterpiece. But it's still full of the things that make Spike Lee films, well, Spike Lee films. Full of the fun, full of the spirit.
Chris Hicks
Deseret News, Salt Lake City
January 1, 2000
There's no getting around Lee's talent, but in this case his script could have used some polish -- or perhaps collaboration.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
September 7, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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