Critic Reviews

80

Metascore

Based on 20 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
A thumpingly good ode to friendship, hope, wit, wiles and wisdom, brimming with crackling characters and topped with the most twisteroo of twists since "The Crying Game."
90
Rolling Stone
It's the no-bull performances that hold back the flood of banalities. Robbins and Freeman connect with the bruised souls of Andy and Red to create something undeniably powerful and moving.
90
Variety
Central to the film's success is a riveting, unfussy performance from Robbins. Freeman has the showier role, allowing him a grace and dignity that come naturally.
90
Time
[Darabont] makes you feel the maddening pace of prison time without letting his picture succumb to it.
90
Chicago Reader
Gripping...compelling.
90
The New York Times
There are times when The Shawshank Redemption comes dangerously close to sounding one of those "triumph of the spirit" notes. But most of it is eloquently restrained. [23 Sept 1994, p.C3]
89
Austin Chronicle
At times poignant, joyful, and terrifying, Shawshank Redemption is an altogether brilliant movie and the debut of an equally brilliant director.
88
Chicago Sun-Times
If the film is perhaps a little slow in its middle passages, maybe that is part of the idea, too, to give us a sense of the leaden passage of time, before the glory of the final redemption.
88
Chicago Tribune
This is a movie with every facet shining in place, every word charged and resonant. [23 Sept 1994]
88
Christian Science Monitor
As the uptight banker, Robbins does some of his subtlest acting to date. As his hardened but resilient friend, Freeman is simply miraculous, giving the role so much depth, dignity, and good humor that you feel that you've known this man forever. [27 Sept 1994]
88
ReelViews
Whitmore's Brooks is a brilliantly-realized character, and the scenes with him attempting to cope with life outside of Shawshank represents one of the film's most moving -- and effective -- sequences.
75
San Francisco Chronicle
Some of "The Shawshank Redemption'' comes across as outrageously improbable. Yet the film keeps pulling you back with its sense of striving humanity slowly turning the tables against evil.
75
USA Today
Kudos go to the great Thomas Newman, whose score contributes as much as either lead to what is finally a two-character movie, though one well-performed by all. [23 Sept 1994]
70
A crowd-pleasing story that has little to do with the messy complexities of reality.
67
Entertainment Weekly
Shouldering a laconic-good-guy, neo- Gary Cooper role, Robbins never quite makes emotional contact with the audience.
50
Los Angeles Times
Paradoxically, it is Shawshank's zealousness in trying to cast a rosy glow over the prison experience that makes us feel we're doing harder time than the folks inside. [23 Sept 1994]
40
Speaking of jail, "Shawshank"-the-movie seems to last about half a life sentence. The story, chiefly about the 20-year friendship between Freeman and Robbins, becomes incarcerated in its own labyrinthine sentimentality.

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