Waste Land Reviews

  • [An] inspiring documentary.

    Stephen Holden — New York Times

  • "Waste Land" is a testament that things can go from good to bad in an instant. But they can also improve just as quickly.

    Stephanie Merry — Washington Post

  • "Waste Land'' is just what the film's website says it is: "stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.''

    Wesley Morris — Boston Globe

  • A fascinating look at the complex intersections of art and charity, reality and perception.

    Eric Hynes — Village Voice

  • I do not mean to make their lives seem easy or pleasant. It is miserable work, even after they grow accustomed to the smell. But it is useful work, and I have been thinking much about the happiness to be found by work that is honest and valuable.

    Roger Ebert — Chicago Sun-Times

  • It's not a very good title, Waste Land - this isn't a bleak film, at all - but just about everything else in Lucy Walker's documentary works, and illuminates.

    Steven Rea — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • "Waste Land" is a must-see PBS-style Cinderella story with true grit, a brilliant cast and an improbably big heart.

    Mary Abbe — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • One of the powers of great portraiture is its ability to make us wonder about the complete strangers captured within enigmatic works of art.

    Peter Debruge — Variety

  • Walker's breezy film turns Muniz into a folk hero. And who am I to argue?

    V.A. Musetto — New York Post

  • Despite Muniz's evident sincerity, the real star of the show is the artist and art -- not the struggles of his subjects. And that story, unlike "Pictures of Garbage" itself, is fairly second-rate.

    Eric Kohn — indieWIRE

  • It's sheer pleasure watching Muniz work -- seeing him seized by mad impulses of delight.

    Stephen Cole — Globe and Mail

  • A joy to watch despite the abject poverty it contains.

    John DeFore — Hollywood Reporter

  • That a beautiful film could be set in the world's largest garbage dump sounds like an oxymoron, but acclaimed documentarian Lucy Walker has pulled off precisely that feat in her profoundly moving "Waste Land."

    Kevin Thomas — Los Angeles Times

  • This conversion of garbage into humanitarian aid is just the beginning. Practical charity gives way to life-changing intimacy.

    Jeffrey Overstreet — Image

  • The breadth of gratitude these catadores feel towards Muniz and the life-experience they undertake makes for an intelligent, emotional movie.

    Simon Foster — sbs.com.au

  • Waste Land is a real treasure, the sort of heartwarming and life affirming study of people, lacking in both sentimentality and cynicism, that uplifts the audience and elevates the art form

    Dan Jardine — Cinemania

  • (Waste Land movie review at National Post)

    National Post

  • Waste Land fuses the design concepts behind two of the most high-profile animations of recent years, Rio and the Oscar-winning Wall-E, into an essay about how hard some people are prepared to work.

    Graham Young — Birmingham Post

  • The result is a film that works on multiple levels, casting light on a worldwide problem while delivering a big jolt of human hope.

    Robert W. Butler — Kansas City Star

  • Muniz is a gifted, modest and altogether delightful man, and his project is both aesthetically fascinating and philosophically stimulating.

    Philip French

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