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Elysium Review Critics


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Other Critics provided by

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

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    All the interest and good will built up by the sharply conceived preliminaries is washed away in a succession of scenes that feel crushingly routine and generic, not to mentioned guided by ideological urges.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal John Anderson

    Mr. Damon brings both a weary optimism and convincing physicality to Max, who is no revolutionary. He just wants to live, and is willing to don an exoskeletal combat suit and fight robots to do it.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Decidedly more thought-provoking than most big-studio summer fare.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    With most films, that'd be enough to cut out half the potential American audience. But effective, evocative science fiction, which Elysium is, has a way of getting by with an ILA (Insidious Liberal Agenda) in the guise of worst-case dystopia.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Variety Scott Foundas

    Even working within a more conventional framework, Blomkamp again proves to be a superb storyteller. He has a master’s sense of pacing, slowly immersing us into his future world rather than assailing us with nonstop action, and envisioning that world with an architect’s eye for the smallest details.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    The New Yorker Anthony Lane

    At last, a good big film. The legacy of the summer, thus far, has been jetsam: moribund movies that lie there, bloated and beached, gasping to break even. But here is something angry and alive: Elysium.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    Damon’s everyman workhorse is tragically sympathetic, plodding ahead against all odds. Copley is brilliant as the sadistic villain. Foster is … well, you gotta see it to believe it. In the meantime, you’ll be treated to one of the most entertaining action films of the year.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 15 & under

Dazzling but heavy-handed sci-fi has violence, language.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that action/sci-fi movie Elysium is the long-awaited follow-up from the director of District 9. Like its predecessor, it has lots of strong sci-fi violence. Viewers see shootings, stabbings, killings, dripping blood, explosions, and death. A woman is slapped and kidnapped, and the main character (played by Matt Damon) goes through a gory operation (an exoskeleton is grafted onto his skin). Language is also an issue, with more than a dozen uses of "f--k," and one use of "s--t." There's a hint of drinking and drugs being an issue on the Earth of 2514 -- extras are seen drinking, and pills are offered -- but this idea goes nowhere. The movie's message, while heavy handed, is a plea for tolerance, especially among social classes.

  • Families can talk about Elysium's violence. Is all of the gore and death necessary to convey its messages of tolerance?
  • If you were rich and lived in the movie's world, would you move to Elysium? Would you be interested in helping others?
  • Does this movie make you hate rich people or sympathize with them? Are they stereotypes? What are some ways to understand them better?
  • Can you think of other sci-fi movies (or other types of media) that have tackled political ideas through metaphor and fantasy?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The movie's main message is a plea for tolerance, especially between different social classes. The movie illustrates the plight of the lower class, even as the upper class is painted as pure, evil villains. The "haves" look down their noses on the "have-nots" (and sometimes try to kill them). The movie's solution is simpleminded, but it at least addresses that the situation is wrong. The movie also makes a call for universal healthcare.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: The main character isn't particularly complex, but he eventually learns that people can help one another without expecting anything in return. He sacrifices his own needs for the needs of others.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Strong sci-fi violence, with lots of fighting and shooting and some stabbing and swordplay. Viewers see lots of dripping blood, and characters die. Many robots and spaceships explode. A man violently slaps and forcibly kidnaps a woman (and her sick young daughter) to get information out of her. A bad guy is shown with his face blown off. A robot cop breaks the main character's arm. He's also exposed to radiation and is shown feeling sick and throwing up. A gory surgery scene shows the main character having an exoskeleton grafted onto his body.

  • sex false0

    Sex: There's a childhood romance between the main character and a nurse, but nothing comes of it -- no kissing, hugging, or even a date (he asks her to coffee, and she says yes, but they never get to go).

  • language false4

    Language: "F--k" is used many times. "S--t" is also heard, as well as one or two uses of "balls," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "oh my God," "goddamn," and "bitch."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: On Earth, some extras are shown drinking beer, and the main character is offered "pills" to take when he gets agitated. (He turns them down.) Nothing comes of this initial idea about the "medicating" of society. Up on Elysium, the wealthy characters are shown sipping champagne.