You Were Never Really Here

Critics Consensus

Bracingly elevated by a typically committed lead performance from Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here confirms writer-director Lynne Ramsay as one of modern cinema's most unique -- and uncompromising -- voices.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 274

65%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,047

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Movie Info

A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe's nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.

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Critic Reviews for You Were Never Really Here

All Critics (274) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (244) | Rotten (30)

  • [T]his intoxicatingly stylish work is all over the place, a hot mess at times so ravishing it sends shivers down to the toes. Unfortunately, it's also at times just plain crass and silly.

    December 26, 2018 | Full Review…
  • In the end, there's no question that what you're watching is a masterfully-made movie, albeit one that's easier to admire from afar than up close.

    December 26, 2018 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • Enough information is provided to let us discern the rudiments of a conventional plot - but our understanding of this remains tentative, hypothetical, shadowed by the possibility that all is not as it seems.

    September 7, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • What it lacks in straightforward narrative structure, it makes up for in chest-level punch, and "You Were Never Really Here" lands like a blow to the sternum.

    April 20, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • You Were Never Really Here is not a film that particularly wants you to "like" it. But with its highbrow talent and arty flourishes, it all but dares you to admit that you disliked it. Challenge accepted.

    April 15, 2018 | Full Review…
  • [Phoenix], the mumbling master of smug self-indulgence, dons another layer of Emperor's new duds to favor us with a performance as subtle as a fart in a sardined elevator and twice as odiferous.

    April 13, 2018 | Rating: 0/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for You Were Never Really Here

  • Jun 07, 2020
    Lynne Ramsay delivered one of the best films of 2018 with You Were Never Really There. Joaquin Phoenix deserved more recognition for this film and it's his performance that cements the final product. Harrowing grim film that is banked by the Ramsay visual style and tone. The violence is real but also staged to ensure the budget restraints are not noticeable. The story is bleak and reminded me of the David Mamet film Spartan. Phoenix is the central performance and we spend little time away from him. You Were Never Really There is a rewarding film and more accessible to audiences when compared to her previous films. It's still an independent film so it won't appeal to everyone but it is one of the best films and went largely ignored at award time. Phoenix would score a win for Joker but this is the film that deserved the focus. Incredible film. 07/06/2020
    Brendan O Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2019
    10/02/2019
    Peter B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2019
    I did not feel as positively about You Were Never Really Here as most people seem to have, but I do absolutely recommend it. One of Jaoquin Phoenix's best roles, and that is about as far from small praise as it gets.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2018
    A delicate balancing act between the confines that hold together the sense of balance in our lives and the desires that sometimes rub up against them forcing the mind to contemplate what is worth following: the rules or our hearts. This is more complex than we might imagine when young and more ambitiously optimistic as we know the rules we set for ourselves, these things that keep order in our lives, are typically for our benefit. With Disobedience, Sebastián Lelio (Gloria, A Fantastic Woman) guides a young woman (played beautifully by Rachel McAdams) through this life she feels a genuine affection for and having to choose between it and the life she knows is true to who she's always been. It's all rather heartbreaking.
    Philip P Super Reviewer

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