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Dark Matter Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Even Streep seems lost … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Liu Ye is too inexpressive for his role's demands, and the movie doesn't build to his downfall: It just zaps itself there.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    Dark Matter, with its view of cutthroat politics and competing egos inside a university, is also laudable in its refusal to soft-pedal the viciously petty side of the academic fishbowl.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    The film does a fine job of displaying the contrasts between these tense, formalized Chinese students and the faux populist American academics.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Indie drama offers mature teens food for thought.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that teens aren't likely to be clamoring to see this mature indie drama -- though if they do, its focus on the pressures of academia are likely to give them a lot to think about. A fictional take on a real-life tragedy, it includes mass murder and suicide. In addition to the violence, there are a few brief moments of frank sexuality and a bit of strong language ("s--t," one "f--k"), though it's not very frequent.

  • Families can talk about how the media depicts the pressures of school and academics. Do you think it's realistic? How are the pressures different between high school and college (or, as in this case, postgraduate work)? How do the issues that Liu is facing compare to the ones that have led teenagers to violent acts in high schools? Can you think of other movies that deal with similar themes or topics?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Streep's character is a well-off, well-intentioned woman whose interest in Chinese culture is portrayed as the vague affection of a silly tourist. Quinn's character takes advantage of his Chinese students; some of the students attend a church group, but it's clear they're only there for the snacks and social events; one of the students also steals cable. Quinn's character blocks his student's academic progress out of anger and spite.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A Western shootout fantasy sequence features "shooting" but no blood; there are also four realistic graphic murders, and a character commits suicide.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A sexual encounter in a crowded rental flat is shielded by a blanket but still audible to the other residents; characters watch scrambled pornography and discuss the nature of female orgasm; brief shot of a naked back. A conference is described as featuring "Free booze, good food and beautiful -- albeit high-strung -- women." Chinese characters discuss the rumor that American teens are "doing it" by age 13. A scene between Streep and Liu has a sensually charged undertone.

  • language false3

    Language: Language includes "bulls--t," "s--t," one non-sexual use of "f--k," and "bastard." A poorly translated toast comes out as "up the bottoms."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Characters drink Heineken; no other visible brands.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Incessant cigarette smoking; cigars are smoked; characters drink hard liquor at social events; characters also drink beer while sunbathing.