The Messenger Reviews

  • The Messenger honors those who fought and died in Iraq by acting out, with an anguished handheld immediacy, how large each of those sacrifices really is.

    Owen Gleiberman — Entertainment Weekly

  • Oren Moverman's sober and satisfying drama shows how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have created a fissure in American society.

    A.O. Scott — New York Times

  • An intelligent and well-acted film which deserves its outing here.

    Peter Bradshaw — Guardian [UK]

  • This is a wholly different look at the fallout of the Iraq War and its effect on soldiers and civilians. It is also a gentle portrait of grief, friendship and solace.

    Claudia Puig — USA Today

  • Together, under the assured direction of first-time feature filmmaker Oren Moverman, these three actors tell a story that is at once hard-hitting and bizarrely gentle.

    Michael O'Sullivan — Washington Post

  • A forcefully acted and peculiar emotional drama...

    Wesley Morris — Boston Globe

  • A somber drama about intimate wartime tragedies, Oren Moverman's debut feels more respectful than real.

    Elizabeth Weitzman — New York Daily News

  • I'm not sure how Morton made sense of her character's ebbs and flows, but I never doubted her. She's a mariner in uncharted seas of emotion.

    David Edelstein — New York Magazine

  • This is a fully felt, morally alert, marvellously acted piece of work. Despite the grim subject, it's a sweet-tempered movie, with moments of explosive humor -- an entertainment.

    David Denby — New Yorker

  • The Messenger knows that even if it tells a tearjerking story, it doesn't have to be a tearjerker. In fact, when a sad story tries too hard, it can be fatal.

    Roger Ebert — Chicago Sun-Times

  • Some jobs are dirtier than others, and after seeing director and co-writer Oren Moverman's beautifully acted new film The Messenger, you'll be better acquainted with some of the most grueling work a human being can be called upon to perform.

    Michael Phillips — Chicago Tribune

  • Whenever writer-director Oren Moverman moves past these scattered and admittedly voyeuristic moments into the lives of the two soldiers, the movie drifts into received wisdom and unconvincing romance.

    J. R. Jones — Chicago Reader

  • For all the film's gritty verisimilitude, The Messenger is not the great Iraq War movie that Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is.

    Steven Rea — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • This is a poignant war movie, but it's also a buddy movie with a difference, one that's both funny and bleak.

    Colin Covert — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • The beauty in Foster's portrayal is that it never completely explodes, but anger and aching seethe behind his eyes. Harrelson, meanwhile, is a good old boy with a bad old job.

    Tom Long — Detroit News

  • The Messenger delivers what it has to say without sensationalism or political posturing. That restraint, along with the quality of the performances, makes it all the more powerful.

    Bill Goodykoontz — Arizona Republic

  • At its center lie three accomplished performances, by Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton, that are not to be missed.

    Rex Reed — New York Observer

  • The Messenger manages to be both practical and patriotic in the same breath, zeroing in on one of the most painful aspects of wartime.

    Peter Debruge — Variety

  • A shoddy, shouty bore. A piece of flummery.

    Kyle Smith — New York Post

  • Harrelson gives us layers of hurt under a callous yet needy crust. It may be the best performance of his career and certainly deserves Oscar consideration.

    Roger Moore — Orlando Sentinel

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