(1996)

Critic Reviews

78

Metascore

Based on 22 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Chicago Sun-Times
This film is a wonder - the best work yet by one of our most original and independent filmmakers - and after it is over, and you begin to think about it, its meanings begin to flower.
100
The performances are uncommonly fine...Lone Star isn't built to ride trends. It's built to last.
100
Empire
Even one-scene characters are unforgettable, but Sayles really gets under the skin of his struggling-to-be-heroic leads, Sam and Pilar. Long after this summer's crop of action flicks is gone, you'll watch this for the third or fourth time and see fresh material. Outstanding.
89
The range of characters here is daringly broad, but Sayles is able to touch on the humanity of each (with considerable help from a gifted and eminently watchable cast), and the details of the region -- the heat, the beautiful but often unforgiving landscape, and especially the pride of the residents -- are vivid and true.
88
ReelViews
Sayles cannily blends drama, romance, mystery, and social observation into a satisfying, if slightly overlong, whole. In the hands of a lesser film maker, this material could easily have degenerated into routine melodrama, but Sayles keeps it on a consistently high level.
83
Entertainment Weekly
The biggest problem with Lone Star is that colorful Charley Wade isn't the center of the movie -- it's bland Sam Deeds. Cooper isn't a compelling enough movie star to carry us along some of the film's more languid twists and turns.
80
The film stumbles a bit towards the end (some deeply rooted conflicts are implausibly resolved), but terrific performances from a large cast -- particularly Elizabeth Pena as Sam's childhood sweetheart -- smooth over the rough spots.
75
By the end, it is clear just how much in control Sayles has been all along. The resolution, though typically restrained, forcefully puts over the movie's point, that we're all more connected than we think.
75
Christian Science Monitor
John Sayles's offbeat western shows how public controversies often overlap with private grudges and conflicting memories.
75
While I was watching "Lone Star," I realized that what makes Sayles a good and socially responsible person - his ability to look at one thing a hundred different ways - is exactly what makes him a muddy filmmaker.
63
USA Today
[A] socially conscious sprawler... Sayles' latest never bores during its 21/4-hour unreeling. But neither does it soar, despite finessing a complex flashback narrative set in 1957 and present-day. [21 June 1996, p.3D]

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