'Elena' Critic Reviews

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MovieWeb:   0 reviews
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Rotten Tomatoes:   60 reviews
  • Stephen Holden New York Times (Top Critic)
    80
    Post-Soviet Russia in Andrei Zvyagintsev's somber, gripping film "Elena" is a moral vacuum where money rules, the haves are contemptuous of the have-nots, and class resentment simmers.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Peter Bradshaw Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    80
    A deeply satisfying film.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Michael O'Sullivan Washington Post (Top Critic)
    75
    A nicely noirish, cynically satisfying drama set in a gritty, urban Moscow that would otherwise not seem to be a haven for wildlife.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    88
    "Elena" reveals a filmmaker in full command of his art and not much interested in catering to an audience. If you want this film, you have to meet it more than halfway.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Nick Pinkerton Village Voice (Top Critic)
    The cautious, controlling, abstemious bourgeoisie are overtaken by the heedlessly fertile lower orders, the temporary inheritors of a terribly weary earth.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Richard Brody New Yorker (Top Critic)
    [A] sluggish, portentous melodrama...
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    75
    Andrei Zvyagintsev's film isn't stupid or crude, and we can pretty well imagine how all the characters feel, even though it doesn't make them sympathetic.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    88
    The script, by Oleg Negin and Zvyagintsev, uses spare dialogue to quietly devastating effect. Performances are superb across the board, framed in elegant widescreen compositions that simmer with violence.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    A quiet, subtle mystery whose long, penetrating takes have drawn comparisons to Andrei Tarkovsky and whose mordantly ironic conclusion may remind you of Claude Chabrol.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    100
    "Elena" is a riveting psychological suspense film.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    80
    It's a sort of slow-boil Russian noir, if that genre exists, and if it doesn't, it does now.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • V.A. Musetto New York Post (Top Critic)
    88
    'Elena" is a grim, somber portrait of life in Putin's Russia, where the haves and have-nots uneasily co-exist.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Andrew O'Hehir Salon.com (Top Critic)
    The truly terrible question asked by this quiet, haunting and magnificent film is: Dear God, isn't there some better way to live?
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Sheri Linden Los Angeles Times (Top Critic)
    80
    Performances are superb across the board, framed in elegant widescreen compositions that simmer with violence.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Tim Brayton Antagony & Ecstasy
    90
    The kind of family drama that gives family dramas a good name.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Graham Young Birmingham Post
    80
    Though very Russian, there is an extremely universal story at the heart of this film ...
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Gail Tolley The List
    100
    A perfectly formed drama that gradually takes hold and doesn't let go.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Donald Clarke Irish Times
    80
    It's very gloomy. It's very Russian. It's as powerful as any picture released this season.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Alistair Harkness Scotsman
    80
    A slow-burning but engrossing drama that takes an intriguingly dark view of the sanctity of family in order to explore the ways in which bad seeds have a habit of flourishing in any environment.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Philip French Observer [UK]
    It's a gripping, resonant tale, and Nadezhda Markina is outstanding as Elena, and far more sympathetic than perhaps she should be.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Derek Malcolm This is London
    One of the very best Russian films of the past year.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Allan Hunter Daily Express
    80
    It may seem slow and lugubrious but it draws you into these complex, contradictory lives the way a spider lures a fly into a web.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Leo Robson Financial Times
    80
    Zvyagintsev, who made The Return and The Banishment, does a good impression of constructing a world while secretly spinning a web.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Marc Lee Daily Telegraph
    80
    [An] understated but gripping drama about family ties, about the way that sometimes tensions vie with tenderness in even the closest relationships.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Alex Zane Sun Online
    40
    The mundanity of the everyday is examined, but do you really want to watch someone slowly making a bed?
    Full Review » 2 years ago