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Overall Rating
3.74

Awesome34.27%
Worth A Look: 24.48%
Just Average: 26.57%
Pretty Crappy: 10.49%
Sucks: 4.2%

13 reviews, 65 user ratings


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21 Grams
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by Elaine Perrone

"A Penn-sive Meditation."
5 stars

The weight of a hummingbird, a stack of five nickels, or a chocolate bar, 21 grams is also said to represent the exact amount of weight that each person loses at the moment of his or her death. In Alejandro González Iñárritu's vision, 21 Grams also seems to be a metaphor for the "weight" of the strands that connect people at random, and the ephemerality of life itself.

The three strangers whose lives collide here, as a result of a freak accident, are Paul (Sean Penn), a dying mathematician whose heart and marriage are equally fragile; Cristina (Naomi Watts), a recovering addict with a loving husband and two young daughters she adores; and Jack (Benicio del Toro), an ex-con and born-again Christian working hard to put his life and family back together in the wake of a catastrophe. All are superb as flawed but essentially decent people whose worlds are thrown in turmoil by sudden, violent tragedy, each one struggling with his or her own overwhelming grief, rage, or guilt.

Also noteworthy are Melissa Leo (Homicide: Life on the Streets, The Ballad of Little Jo) as Jack's long-suffering but supportive -- and somewhat morally ambiguous -- wife, Marianne; and Charlotte Gainsbourg (My Wife is an Actress) as Paul's wife Mary, whose marriage, like her husband is in the throes of death, but who clings to the relationship in hopes of bearing his child via artificial insemination before he dies.

As he did with Amores Perros, Iñárritu (with screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto) tells Paul's, Cristina's, and Jack's individual and interconnected stories in non-linear fashion, with many scenes becoming simply grainy snapshots through a hand-held camera. The technique is unnerving, and riveting. What would have made a compelling straightforward narrative becomes wrenching, heightening the audience's senses, forcing us to become active participants in the anguish unfolding before us, and virtually forbidding us to turn our eyes away.

21 Grams is in no way simple, and there is very little light about it. Still, at the end, there is a grace note of redemption, leaving a ray of hope that the 21 grams from a departing soul will come to rest on, and bring comfort to, at least one survivor.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8348&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/26/04 19:23:42
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User Comments

12/28/17 morris campbell bleak & potent 4 stars
2/04/17 Aidan Butler Sean Penn character destroys logic of movie 3 stars
1/01/13 Davie bummer. 2 stars
11/25/10 Sia Shar one of great movies of the 2003 and the decade 5 stars
9/17/08 PAUL SHORTT CRUSHES ITS CHARACTERS UNDER ITS FOOT, THEN STEPS BACK & WANTS YOU TO LOOK AT THE MESS 1 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner This movie was Awesome!! Loved It. 5 stars
12/21/07 Wendell O. Maness I love blood, want to drink it, love this movie 5 stars
12/05/06 andrew worst movie ever. boring and sux 1 stars
11/24/06 Charlene Javier Loved it as well 4 stars
6/24/06 MP Bartley Superb acting, but jumbled narrative is all veneer and no surface. 4 stars
4/12/06 anthonyuk superb and again sean penn shows his class 5 stars
11/21/05 Taylor Fladgate 4 Stars - but be sure to be ready to be depressed. Whoa. 4 stars
9/19/05 Indrid Cold Great use of a fractured narrative to spice up an otherwise ho-hum story. 5 stars
8/18/05 ES Broken time lines inmovie generally mean the director wasn't sure how to film it 3 stars
6/12/05 Agent Sands Plot order is as if PA dropped the script & had 2 shuffle it back together in a hurry. 4 stars
5/06/05 Vince Top notch cast and performances, editing seems random and as a result story is tedious 3 stars
4/09/05 K. Sear Nothing new but it delivers where other attempts fail. 4 stars
12/07/04 Orion Fascinating. More deeper that you think at first glance 5 stars
11/08/04 Matthew Wow..what an awesome movie! Naomi Watts rocks! 5 stars
9/02/04 Impey not too shaby 2 stars
8/28/04 capitalbliss Fantastic, I found the filming a little different but the movie is great!! 5 stars
8/11/04 kc finished the movie feeling...eh... 3 stars
7/31/04 Brad Gripping, great performances. 5 stars
7/16/04 Jim & Deborah incredible movie/fabulous directing and acting / "outside the box" so to speak. 5 stars
5/25/04 michele excellent! Del Toro's acting is hypnotic 5 stars
5/22/04 Monster W. Kung Good acting, but plot is tedious and the absurdly bleak and fractured approach don't help. 3 stars
5/16/04 elizaveta a really great out-of-order film. Sean Penn rocks, as ever. 5 stars
5/12/04  Shaun Rose Excellent movie with agreat cast, I reccomend to anybody who hasn't seen it 4 stars
4/22/04 Alex A good movie about life 5 stars
4/19/04 Phil M. Aficiando Mind jumbling pysche beater; great acting helps a lot, but.... 3 stars
4/06/04 A F Tried to hard to mess with the sequence 3 stars
4/04/04 Charlene Javier Proves that Amores Perros is no fluke! 5 stars
4/03/04 Vince Chan Finally, a non-linear movie that actually makes you THINK! 5 stars
3/31/04 The More You Know Like a challenge? Watch it - but be prepared! Josh G's take on it is helpful. 4 stars
3/27/04 Frank Lynch 21 Grams is a pretentious bore. 2 stars
3/24/04 Shelley Shea Sean Penn can do no wrong. 5 stars
3/24/04 Margie LOVED IT, LOVED IT!!! Naomi should have won the best actress oscar!!(I question the end) 5 stars
3/21/04 othree loved it, sadly, raw reminder of human natures +cast 4 stars
3/16/04 Holly Beeman I almost feel like it would have been more powerful in sequence, but he's got the tech! 4 stars
3/10/04 Matt Good performances but the story was just too slight to merit the style. 3 stars
2/27/04 Reini Urban +story, + cast, -camera 4 stars
2/26/04 Troy Butler Extremely emotional, ... amazing performances all round!!! TOP NOTCH!! 5 stars
1/29/04 Rapunzel Gladstone Poorly told story that would far and away be none too compelling if told well. 2 stars
1/27/04 marzio arigoni@rtsi.ch a punch in your stomach! Great performances, especially Watts and Del Toro, and editing 4 stars
1/26/04 Chloe Brody Not Sean's finest performance, but really powerful. Naomi deserves the Oscar! 4 stars
1/24/04 Smitty The most beautifully acted lousy movie I've ever seen 2 stars
1/22/04 Betty White Heavy, dark drama with grand performances. 4 stars
1/21/04 HAL You must think to understand this film and our thoughts are not linear. Fine film. 5 stars
1/20/04 Chronology The movie was based intense emotions and ideas, but is ruined by mixed chronology! 4 stars
1/20/04 Cheerleader who ran out of TP& has to wipe her ass with her pompoms Falls apart at uh, ending, or rather would if it had an ending. 2 stars
1/18/04 Gretchen Seitz "---" sucks! Since when is "no taste" a burnable in hell offense. 2 stars
1/18/04 the Grinch Typical movie you'd expect Sean Penn to be in...good script, but In The Bedroom it AINT 2 stars
1/17/04 john wonderful, great acting, camera technique, fine editing, beautiful work 5 stars
1/16/04 john bale Brilliant yet difficult gritty drama about Fate, great actors, grungy sets and camerawork 4 stars
1/11/04 KCobain Awful and depressing. Walked out after 45 minutes. 1 stars
1/02/04 Admiral Piett Sean Penn sucks donkey dick. 1 stars
12/31/03 --- Anyone who doesnt like this movie has no taste and should burn in hell 5 stars
12/29/03 ownerofdajoint if you like deep overlapping plots then you'll think this is a great movie;which it is 5 stars
12/19/03 AXE k 1 stars
12/14/03 Slo. Zombie This review just SUCKS !!! 21 grams AND Mystic river are two masterpieces of modern cinema! 5 stars
12/02/03 re A GREAT FILM 5 stars
11/30/03 Todd Stein A great film, interesting study of humans 4 stars
11/29/03 ajay tried to be cool with Memento-editing but it was overdone, confusing and masked a bad story 2 stars
11/22/03 smartmusician GREAT!!! 5 stars
11/21/03 benice save your money, worst movie of the year. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Nov-2003 (R)
  DVD: 03-Oct-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  22-Jan-2004




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