Shame - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shame Reviews

Top Critic
David Thomson
The New Republic
June 20, 2013
The film's numb attitude assumes that Brandon's problem is beyond reach or rescue. So why are we watching, except for high-tone misery and something close to pornography?
Top Critic
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 20, 2012
The film is a raw, unsparing look at the downside of humanity.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
January 10, 2012
It reconfirms McQueen as a filmmaker with an unflinching, microscopic gaze on the world.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
December 29, 2011
Few filmmakers have plumbed the soul-churning depths of sexual addiction as fearlessly as British director Steve McQueen has in Shame.
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
December 16, 2011
Shame is something of a dirty date that leaves you wondering what went wrong.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
December 15, 2011
[Fassbender is] so good as a man completely lost to his baser impulses that it makes "Shame" worth sitting through. Enjoying? That's a relative term. But you'll certainly appreciate it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
December 14, 2011
You don't just watch Shame: You feel it, too.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
December 8, 2011
[A] graphic and spontaneous portrait of a spiraling sex addict.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 8, 2011
Ultimately "Shame" emerges as a sex tragedy, and a story without an end; it stays with you, like the film's frequent cold rain, hard to watch and harder to forget.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 8, 2011
McQueen finds the exquisite tension between the brother wanting to disconnect and the sister longing for connection.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
December 8, 2011
There's a misery in Fassbender that's spellbinding. I rolled my eyes for most of "Shame.'' But never at him.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Eric D. Snider
Film.com
December 2, 2011
Despite the impression you may have gotten strolling some of the Internet's more giggly avenues, the most riveting part of Michael Fassbender's anatomy in Shame is his face.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
December 2, 2011
It was frantic sex that earned Shame an NC-17 rating, but this arty drama is mostly slow and methodical. And thoroughly unsexy.
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
December 2, 2011
Yes, this is an affecting picture that leaves the viewer as wrung out as the protagonist. No doubt you'll be seduced but, in the end, you may also feel abandoned.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
December 2, 2011
On a par with "Midnight Cowboy."
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Leah Rozen
TheWrap
December 2, 2011
This is an undernourished drama likely to leave most viewers muttering a puzzled "huh?" as they exit the theater.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 2, 2011
There's no easy way to shake off Shame. It gets in your head.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
December 2, 2011
Shame has a lolling pace and stunning visual clarity. Structurally, it's close to perfect.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
December 2, 2011
What movies so often relegate to the margins of pornography or sophomoric titillation is radically redefined here, stripped of its erotic charge and depicted as a numbing erasure of life and emotion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 2, 2011
"Shame" is all about weakness and compulsion. It's not about the joy of sex. It's about the utter despair it can't conceal.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 2, 2011
A grim and arty drama that more than earns its NC-17 rating.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 1, 2011
This is a psychologically claustrophobic film that strips its characters bare literally and figuratively, leaving them, and us, nowhere to hide.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
December 1, 2011
This sleek-looking but curiously unfocused character study never quite gets down to the business of showing us who Brandon is, but boy, does Fassbender make him into a captivating enigma.
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
December 1, 2011
These characters are stripped bare in every sense, reflecting an extreme degree of inner confusion, vulnerability and fear. Betrayed and broken as children, they now have to define and rebuild themselves as adults.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 1, 2011
Much of the film is banal or pretentious, or both -- vacuous vignettes about emptiness. Occasionally, though, those vignettes burst into life and burn with consuming fire.
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 1, 2011
The wisdom of Shame is that it offers no easy exit for this prison of the mind.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
December 1, 2011
This one simply recycles art-movie cliches about urban alienation and passionless sex.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 1, 2011
Fassbender's portrayal is truly haunting, and when he sobs, dramatically unraveling, it's clear he's imprisoned by his physical urges.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
December 1, 2011
In a movie era remarkable for its reluctance to dramatize erotic intimacy, Shame merits praise for the dark energy of its sexual encounters.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 1, 2011
There is a good movie to be made about someone like Brandon, especially with someone like Fassbender, a performer of exceptional technical facility and a fascinating sense of reserve. McQueen's isn't quite it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 1, 2011
How can visual pleasure communicate existential misery? It is a real and interesting challenge, and if "Shame" falls short of meeting it, the seriousness of its effort is hard to deny.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 1, 2011
This is a great act of filmmaking and acting. I don't believe I would be able to see it twice.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
November 30, 2011
The biggest surprise in Shame is how distanced, passionless, and merely skin-deep the director's attention is - how little he cares about the subject of his own movie.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
November 30, 2011
It's the study of a man whose soul has been peeled away, like coring an apple. But I wouldn't call it sexy -- or entertaining. What does Brandon learn? What do we learn?
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
November 29, 2011
Fassbender's performance here is riveting, haunting. He immerses himself and makes you feel as if you're truly watching a man hell-bent on exorcising his demons through compulsive self-destruction.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out
November 29, 2011
One thing's for sure: McQueen has found his De Niro, and he better keep him close.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
November 29, 2011
Was that an angel of hope riding to work on the Lexington Avenue local? Does the Lord really live in this cold, ethereal New York City? And is anyone even interested?
Top Critic
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
November 29, 2011
One shot of a shattered Brandon standing in the rain without a clue of where to turn gets more done than any of McQueen's flourishes, frankly. But you can't blame a onetime conceptual artist for trying...
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 29, 2011
McQueen has taken an unflinching and non-judgmental view of sexual addiction in Shame. This is sex without emotion, nudity without titillation, and climaxes without satisfaction.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
November 28, 2011
Fassbender, who was, frankly, much sexier and more devilish in "X-Men: First Class," is required to spend much of his time staring with blank intensity into the middle distance.
Top Critic
Laremy Legel
Film.com
September 14, 2011
It's a tribute to McQueen's steady directorial hand that he's able to evoke such exceptional performances.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
September 14, 2011
Strong stuff on the sexual wild side from bold director Steve McQueen and the extraordinary Michael Fassbender.
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
September 13, 2011
A visual and sonic symphony, and a Dante-esque journey through a New York nightworld where words are mostly useless or worse.
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
September 13, 2011
What elevates the material is McQueen's impressionistic approach to depicting Fassbender's life of inescapable need.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
September 13, 2011
When you're managed to make being Michael Fassbender and bedding beautiful women nonstop seem like a waking nightmare, you've accomplished something.
Full Review | Original Score: B+