(2003)

Critic Reviews

84

Metascore

Based on 42 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Chicago Sun-Times
To see strong acting like this is exhilarating. In a time of flashy directors who slice and dice their films in a dizzy editing rhythm, it is important to remember that films can look and listen and attentively sympathize with their characters. Directors grow great by subtracting, not adding, and Eastwood does nothing for show, everything for effect.
100
Entertainment Weekly
Eastwood directs Mystic River with an invigorated grace and gravitas. This is a true American beauty of a movie, a tale of men and their bonds told by and for adults who value the old-fashioned Hollywood-studio notion of narrative.
100
Clint Eastwood pours everything he knows about directing into Mystic River. His film sneaks up, messes with your head and then floors you. You can't shake it. It's that haunting, that hypnotic.
100
Chilling, superbly acted.
100
Chicago Tribune
Mystic River is classic Eastwood, classic noir. If there is still some doubt about whether this one-time macho star is actually a world-class moviemaker, Mystic River should end the argument for good. One of the best American movies of the year, crisply well-crafted and beautifully acted.
100
This kind of quiet ambiguity, avoiding easy answers to complex human conflicts, is all too rare in American movies.
88
River ranks with the best movies Eastwood has directed: "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Unforgiven" and "The Bridges of Madison County." But this time, the work is strong without his own on-screen presence -- a significant achievement.
88
Philadelphia Inquirer
So incrementally does Eastwood's film build toward what seems like an inevitable resolution that when it concludes, you're sucker-punched. You haven't been watching a police procedural, but a Greek tragedy. You haven't been watching a drama about the catharsis of vigilantism, but sitting vigil for a community diminished, and permanently damaged, by violence.
88
New York Daily News
The white-knuckle center of the movie is Sean Penn, who gives an utterly raw performance as Jimmy, father of the dead girl. It's one of the few times that a parent's grief has felt real on the screen through all its ugly permutations.
70
The Hollywood Reporter
Arguably Eastwood's most ambitious film since his multi-Oscar winner, "Unforgiven." But it lacks the power and depth of that film's dynamic script by David Webb Peoples.
40
Wall Street Journal
If this death-obsessed drama is a classic, then give me potboiling life.

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