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O Brother, Where Art Thou?
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Reviews & Ratings for
O Brother, Where Art Thou? More at IMDbPro »

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250 out of 276 people found the following review useful:

This film brought back memories.

Author: wilma1913
27 June 2003

We lived through the depression and related to some of the conditions portrayed. We have watched it perhaps a dozen times. Each time we see it we pick up on something we had missed because we were still laughing at, or discussing, an earlier scene or line. The entire film was a collection of photographically great faces. We are still asking ourselves whether the entire cast were professionals or whether some were individuals found on location. The film was rich with subtle tie-ins like the children tied together with twine, as the prisoners were connected by chains. We still think the cow may have been hit unintentionally. Fords of that era had mechanical brakes. The driver of the car may not have been accustomed the longer stopping distances required. The many allusions to Ulysses Odyssey inspired us to do an inter-net search. We found a modern text version and discovered more sly references. We appreciate blue grass and country music as originally American and found it thoroughly enjoyable, along with the authentic "Go To Sleep Little Baby" and "Down from the Mountain." We were emotionally touched by this film because of our age, and find it totally entertaining every time we view it. We are still amazed that someone not of our generation could have captured the essence of that period of United States history.

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158 out of 180 people found the following review useful:

surprising, refreshing and hilarious

10/10
Author: zebra83
19 February 2001

Thank goodness for the Coen Brothers. Their success has brought them bigger budgets,but hasn't rid them of their creativity. I had planned on seeing another movie, but it was sold out so I went to this one instead. By the time it began, I had forgotten what movie I was there to see. I was surprised in more ways than one. This movie is hilarious, but they don't make any cheap jokes just to get the laughs. The writing is brilliant, and delivered with great skill by George Clooney (after this, nobody can say he's just a pretty face) and the rest of the cast. It can be appreciated on many levels, whether you remember the Odyssey or not. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie that was this clever. I've seen others I would describe as beautiful, intriguing, funny and charming, all of which also describe "Oh Brother," but this movie reminded me of older seinfeld episodes where all the subplots came together in the end. You can feel that their journey is building up to something, but you can't tell what. And the Coen brothers do not fail us, the end is certainly not disappointing. It's surprising, and ties up all the loose ends neatly, without wearing the story out.

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133 out of 154 people found the following review useful:

A Serious Comedy with wonderful characters

10/10
Author: chucho_wig from Chattanooga, TN
28 February 2001

The Coen Brothers have truly outdone themselves in this wonderful saga of three escaped convicts. Though it is based on "The Odyssey," the ancient work of Homer, you do not have to have read "The Odyssey" to be able to follow the story. The brothers Coen have woven a tapestry of celluloid and aural delights! The soundtrack is intrinsic to the film, indeed it is as though the soundtrack is the product and the film is wrapping paper. Each character is wonderfully exploited and harkens back to the days of old when films were rich with character actors whose very appearance in the film adds richness, texture and authenticity. George Clooney is magnificent as the grease haired Everett Ulysses McGill, a honest con on the run whose pompous linguistics and vocabulary are comical and endearing. O Brother, Where Art Thou is easily the best Coen film to date as well as Clooney's best effort. Clooney is good enough to warrant a best actor nomination as is Tim Blake Nelson's portrayal of the dimwitted friend Delmar, while the film itself is deserving of a Best film nod.

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140 out of 176 people found the following review useful:

Masterful...

10/10
Author: bigwig6273 from Nashville, TN
20 January 2001

Not being a fan of the Coen Brothers or George Clooney, anyone can see the skepticism I took into the theater. Once again, someone in Hollywood dares to create something different. This time it was those zanie (for a temporary lack of a better word) Coens doing "their thing" to one of the great works in literary history. Who would've ever thought Homer had this in mind? I don't know where this film is going to fit in the history books of Hollywood, but it will be in both mine and many others DVD or VHS library. It is one of those films that you can watch over and over. The story is brilliantly written. Clean and entertaining, with a couple of Gumpesque brushes with fame, great performances by Clooney, Turturro, Nelson, and a brief but hilarious Holly Hunter. Being born in Mississippi and raised in other parts of the south, I wish more people would poke a little fun at us like this. They even invoke a soundtrack fitting for the rural south. You are NOT doing anything better this weekend, go see this movie!

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116 out of 152 people found the following review useful:

It will grow on you

10/10
Author: Dan Grant (dan.grant@bell.ca) from Toronto, Ontario
25 January 2001

I have walked out of a Coen movie before and not quite known how to feel. The two best examples of that are The Big Lebowski and Fargo. Lebowski was so ridiculously original and so filled with strange humour that I had to like it. On the other hand, there were some unnecessary reveries with flying people and killer bowling balls that just didn't seem to fit the mold of the film. Still, I liked the film and now own a copy of it. Fargo made me howl with hysterics, sometimes I wasn't sure why I was laughing so hard that it made me cry, but nonetheless I was. There were many seemingly strange characters in Fargo, but upon further investigation, they were really just real people talking about real situations. That is why the man with the shovel ( or was it a broom ) was so side-splittingly funny when he was telling the police officer about some funny looking man down at the bar the other night. And that is also why the theater erupted in laughter when he then says that there are some funny looking clouds coming in. (I own a copy of this film too) The Coen's have a way of masking their film and their characters as being somewhat eccentric and perhaps a little off the wall. But if you look closer at some of those same characters that seem zany, you will always find that in some strange way, they all ring true. That is what is quite exceptional about O Brother Where Art Thou? This is a film that is out there. I mean it is not even in the same ballpark as a traditional film. I reviewed the film Shaft this past summer and in it I said that Shaft was an okay film that I have seen a thousand times before. But you can not say that about a Coen Brother's film and you most certainly can not say that about this one.

This film has everything in it from a jail break, crooked southern politicians, muses, references to what I can only assume are historical figures, riverside baptisms, bank robberies, violence towards animals, singing flocks of religious fanatics, KKK, lynch mobs and so on. There are obviously many references to Homer's Odyssey in here as well, but I wouldn't know that because I have never read Homer's Odyssey or even knew one thing about it. Every other newspaper reviewer seems to know all about it and they think that this cynicism and almost spoof-like quality towards it makes the film that much better. Well coming from a guy who doesn't know anything about it, I can tell you that it is still an entertaining film. There were times when again, as is usual for a Coen film, I wasn't sure why I was entertained or laughing, but I was.

This is a road picture where three men travel along the way to find a hidden treasure that Clooney says he has hidden to his two other cell mates. He has to take them along because they were also chained to him when they had their chance to escape.

I like all the principal actors in the film and many of them are Coen cronies. It was nice to see Goodman again. It was nice to see Hunter and especially Turturro who seems to have a place in every Coen film. It's too bad they didn't find a place for Steve Buscemi but that is a different story all together. But back to Clooney. The man just has charisma. He is a one hell of an actor as well and here he is not quite as zany as the others but even he has his own idiosyncrasies. His work here is quite awesome and I really hope this shows that he is capable of playing any range of character.

Now after heaping all this praise on the film, let me just say this as well. I didn't really enjoy the film at first. I found it to be quite tedious and a little boring. There were too many ideas in here and not enough care went into harnessing them for all what they were worth. But then the film began to grow on me. It took a while but it did grow on me. I don't think this is their best film, but it is still a good one and I am giving it a 8.5. But the reason that I do recommend this film is for one reason only.

Every day you can go look into the paper and look at the films that are playing and say to yourself, seen it, seen it, oh, seen it last year, that is the same as this film and that is the same as that film. Most films have been recycled in some form or another. Not the Coen's films. They have not been recycled and if they have I don't know about it. That is reason enough to see something that they put out. Originality counts for a lot in my books. The Coens are original and they are good. And that is not common in todays cinema. Enjoy them while they are allowed to make films. Because you don't get vision like this in many films, so when you do, enjoy it!

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88 out of 106 people found the following review useful:

Pretty darn good

10/10
Author: Trevor Johns from Sydney
9 October 2001

Having seen most of the Coen Brothers previous films I expected something different and slighty off centre. OBWAT is certainly those things, but it also has a heart as big as..well..as big as Mississippi. It is one of the most plainly enjoyable movies to have come out in recent times, intelligent, well-crafted, clever and superbly acted.

Characters are delivered in their myriad shades by a group of marvellous actors. George Clooney winning me over completely with his Clark Gable-ish looks and character. Having only ever seen him in Three Kings and his Thin Red Line cameo, I am now a fan. More comedy please George.

John Tuturro and Tim Blake Nelson ably assist, especially Nelson. If ever "The Simpsons" is made into a movie then he must be a natural to play Cletus the slack-jawed yokel. I don't think there is a performance that falls short of excellent from the entire cast. My special favorite is Stephen Root as the blind Radio Station Man.

Great old-timey music, a jiggy type dance by Clooney that I am trying to learn, and a feel of depression era southern US enhanced by sepia-like photography make this the best movie I've see so far this century. The only drawback to the film is that it has almost sent me broke buying the soundtrack, the DVD and a DVD player to play it on....it's THAT good!

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72 out of 88 people found the following review useful:

Travelling to Sullivans country

9/10
Author: Per Lundblad
21 February 2001

This was the best film I saw in the year 2000. The Cohen brothers have never let me down before, and they certainly didn't this time either.

It's one of those rare movies these days - it's witty, intelligent and vastly entertaining. I left the cinema with a warmth in my heart. Of course, there's lot of Cohen stuff in there - odd characters and peculiar gadgets, well-developed plot and magic camerawork. But no Cohen film is resembling any other Cohen film, if you overlook the general quality of them, of course.

The big surprise for me was that Clooney is so good. But the true master performance in this movie comes from Tim Blake-Nelson. But the rest of the cast is superb too.

A film that is lightweight comedy with a musical touch that evolve it's story round rednecks and old time country music - dripping with wit and intelligence. Thats a very unlikely combination. But it's exactly what this picture is.

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74 out of 99 people found the following review useful:

A great sound, a great look, and a great story.

10/10
Author: Mark Sickmiller from Athens, Ohio
13 February 2001

I was into the movie right away. I've seen the other Coen movies, with the exception of Raising Arizona, and I've noticed that each of their movies has a color. Fargo is gray/white, Lebowski is bright orange, and this movie is a pleasant yellow.

The bright pleasant qualities of this movie start right away. Soon the look is accompanied by the great, great music. It's the old folk sound, the kind of music that was written during a time when music was enjoyed as a part of day to day life. Enjoyed by everyone, chain-gangs, church choirs, and even prison escapees.

Now, about the prison escapees. I don't know what crime their characters could have possibly committed, as they are a very very friendly group of guys. Clooney is fantastic, completely nailing his role.

Go see this as soon as possible. I believe that it can be enjoyed by anyone at some level. For some reason, the theater I was in was full of old ladies and old men, and they loved it.

You'll love it too, I promise. I was compelled to get my hands on the soundtrack right away.

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60 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Hillbilly hi-jinks. Bluegrass music. Laugh out loud funny!

7/10
Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
16 February 2002

The Coen Brothers have done it again. Three depression era convicts(George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson)escape a Mississippi chain gang and head off in search of buried treasure that will fund their new lives. Along the way, they sing on the radio and become much sought after stars as well as escapees. Great laughs and a soundtrack that is a lesson/introduction to bluegrass music.

Clooney is outstanding as the fast talking, quick witted Ulysses Everett McGill. Holly Hunter plays his estranged wife. Turturro and Nelson are flawless stumblebums. Also in the cast are John Goodman and Charles Durning.

Dan Tyminksi provides the singing voice for George Clooney on "I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow", the Soggy Bottom Boys song that serves as a template for the bluegrass laden soundtrack that also features Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley, The Whites, John Hartford, The Cox Family and Gillian Welch. Toe tapping, knee slapping fun for the whole family. You'll be surprised with how relaxed and funny this movie is.

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63 out of 106 people found the following review useful:

Our favorite !!!

10/10
Author: riddleynancy from United States
13 February 2005

My husband received DVD of OBWAT for Christmas and it was the best gift we received! We watch it every time we need to laugh and so far we have viewed it 12 times!The scenery in this movie is beautiful and the music is outstanding!We also purchased the soundtrack and we play it in our vehicles and at home when ever we need a pick me up and that too is daily!If anyone needs a suggestion for a good gift for movie lovers this movie is it!The characters are hilarious , charming , and their facial expressions are too funny to describe!I have always been a fan of George Clooney but now I am also a fan of Tim Blake Nelson(Delmar ) and John Turturro (Pete)and am now looking for them in other movies! You gotta see this movie!!!

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