Critics Consensus

Slow-moving, cerebral, and ambiguous, Solaris is not a movie for everyone, but it offers intriguing issues to ponder.



Total Count: 206


Audience Score

User Ratings: 47,879
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Movie Info

A therapist travels to a distant space station to treat a group of astronauts traumatized by mysterious entities -- and ends up having to deal with an entity of his own -- in this second film version of Stanislaw Lem's philosophical sci-fi novel. Solaris stars George Clooney as Chris Kelvin, a psychologist still mourning the loss of his wife Rheya (Natascha McElhone) when he's implored by a colleague named Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur) to investigate the increasingly weird goings-on at the Prometheus space station. By the time Kelvin gets there, Gibarian has committed suicide, leaving only the cryptic, babbling Snow (Jeremy Davies) and the paranoid, guarded Gordon (Viola Davis), both of whom are holed up in their respective rooms. As Kelvin interrogates the skeleton crew, he learns that they've had unwanted "visitors," apparitions of long-dead friends, family, and loved ones who are apparently being generated by the interstellar energy source Solaris. The doctor is dubious of their claims until one night he, too, is greeted by his wife Rheya (Natascha McElhone), whose death still torments him. At first skeptical of the new Rheya, Kelvin gradually becomes obsessed with her -- and with the guilt that he feels over their troubled marriage -- to the point where the others begin to fear for his sanity. Produced by James Cameron, Solaris represented director Steven Soderbergh's first screenplay credit since the independently financed Schizopolis in 1996. ~ Michael Hastings, Rovi

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George Clooney
as Chris Kelvin
Ulrich Tukur
as Gibarian
Donna Kimball
as Mrs. Gibarian
Michael Ensign
as Friend No. 1
Morgan Rusler
as Suited Professional No. 2
Shane Skelton
as Young Boy/Gibarian's Son
John Cho
as Suited Professional No. 1
Elpidia Carrillo
as Friend No. 2
Kent Faulcon
as Patient No. 1
Lauren Cohn
as Patient No. 2
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Critic Reviews for Solaris

All Critics (206) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (136) | Rotten (70)

  • Scripted, shot, directed and edited by Soderbergh with his customary intelligence and assurance, this is perhaps the most ambiguous and cerebrally sophisticated Hollywood movie in nearly three decades.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • With audacity and style, Steven Soderbergh has revisited one of Russian cinema's landmarks, and done so very successfully.

    Mar 25, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Soderbergh has given us a boutique space picture - smallish but classy with a translucent glow, accented in chrome, white and blue and touched up with crystalline surfaces.

    Mar 7, 2003 | Full Review…
  • One of the finest science fiction films since 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Feb 11, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Nev Pierce
    Top Critic
  • Fiasco of infuriating pretentiousness and numbing incoherence.

    Dec 19, 2002

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic
  • I prefer Soderbergh's concentration on his two lovers over Tarkovsky's mostly male, mostly patriarchal debating societies.

    Dec 19, 2002

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Solaris

  • Apr 30, 2014
    This 2002 remake of Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris manages to be far less ambitious and goes straight to the point. I thought it was a good take on the classic film, but it doesn't have the epic visuals and terrific, yet simple story that the original possessed. Of course, this film echoes what the 1976 film had, but it never goes in depth with its subject, and it doesn't do anything new or refreshing. With that being said, Watch the original film instead, it's far superior and it's a classic of the genre. This remake is good, but it never comes close to the original. The acting in this remake is very good, and I thought that overall it was a solid film, but it also rushed through the story a bit. With the original, it took its time to let the story unfold and it worked brilliantly and that's one of the main reasons that Tarkovsky's Sci Fi classic is so unique and ultimately memorable. With this remake, you get a far shorter film, one that doesn't reach its potential and in turn lacks the development that made the original so good. Nonetheless, this remake is good, but it could have been better as well. Luckily the cast are great, and it's the film's strongest asset. However, I would recommend the 1976 film instead of this one, but if you want a more stripped down version, with less ambitious ideas, then this remake is for you. In terms of revamping a classic film, Solaris like every other remake before or after it has left a bit to be desired, and makes you want to watch the original film. The ideas expressed on-screen, are things we've seen before, and there never is new blood injected into the story. For a remake however, it's quite good, but it's nothing compared to the film that came before it.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jan 02, 2014
    Solaris is far from perfect but I think it has a lot going for it with the questions that I think it asks. Questions such as If you could make right mistakes from the past would you, and if you could what would you do differently second time around? What happens when old wounds are reopened and if there are feelings of guilt or regret on your behalf would this just serve to cut you up some more? This is what happens when Dr Kelvin (Clooney) is asked to assist a crew on a mission exploring a strange entity in space called Solaris. He is visited by his past one night and it is thought that the entity is responsible as other members of the crew describe similar experiences. Can Kelvin see the situation for what it is or will his emotions take control? It still looks good 10 years on from its release and a nod from me to the soundtrack which is very atmospheric and fits the general mood of the story well. Clooney is not bad but I found myself wondering why Natascha McElhone (who was also in the superb The Truman Show) didn't become a bigger star than she has? She seemed to have an on screen presence of what I can only lazily describe as classiness or elegance if you would prefer? I also liked Jeremy Davies performance as he reminds me a little of Eric Bana but the oddball, vague manner of the character he plays might not suit all tastes.
    Justin F Super Reviewer
  • Nov 19, 2013
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 12, 2013
    Incoherent, but looks good and is well acted
    Spencer M Super Reviewer

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