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Michael Jackson's This Is It Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Dang, no "P.Y.T" or "Dirty Diana." Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

The King of Pop, human again. Read full review

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.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    [An] extraordinary documentary, nothing at all like what I was expecting to see. Here is not a sick and drugged man forcing himself through grueling rehearsals, but a spirit embodied by music. Michael Jackson was something else.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today

    If This Is It doesn't miraculously restore the middle-aged Jackson to his past glory, it at least offers glimpses of his bygone greatness, and poignant suggestions of what might have been.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    This Is It offers a raw and endearing sketch of a genius at work.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    A spectacular record of rehearsals for a show that wasn't to be.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    What this strange yet strangely beguiling film does is capture one of pop culture's great entertainers in the feverish grips of pure creativity.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Michael Jackson's This Is It reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Concert film documents King of Pop's final labor of love.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this hugely anticipated Michael Jackson concert movie is age-appropriate for King of Pop fans in the older tween range and up. Expect a few of Jackson's standard suggestive dance moves (there's plenty of crotch-grabbing, for instance) and some potentially scary images (especially during a new, over-the-top "Thriller" sequence), but there's no swearing, drinking, smoking, or violence. Although the film chronicles the singer's rehearsals in the weeks and months before his death, the event itself (and the surrounding media circus) isn't specifically mentioned. Directed by High School Musical's Kenny Ortega, it's a compelling and even surprising look at Jackson's final days; any hint of exploitative ghoulishness is quickly dispelled by scenes of a talented performer who was still very much on his game.

  • Families can talk about why Jackson still mesmerizes so many people after all this time. Was it his talent or the mystery of his persona? Or both?
  • In the film, Jackson seems to have a different demeanor from the way he usually appeared in public. Does this show that he cultivated a certain image? How do you think his enormous fame affected his personal life? Do you consider him a role model?
  • There's been some backlash connected to the movie. Is it, as some critics have said, exploitative? Or a testament to Jackson's legacy?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Despite concerns from some that the movie is exploitative, when taken on its own, it's a surprisingly tender, disarming view of an artistic genius coming out of hiding. Jackson's talents shine through, as does his famously genteel demeanor. The affection, respect, and esteem that the dancers, musicians, and crew members have for him is palpable.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Much has been said of Jackson's supposed dependency on drugs to function and how frail he was near the end of his life -- and he certainly looks it here. But what comes through most in the film is his enormous talent. Also, his gentleness, which he uses to convey his ideas without a bull-in-a-china-shop attitude. The other people featured in the movie (dancers, musicians, etc.) are all enthusiastic, hard workers who feel privileged to be taking part in the concert.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: The "Thriller" segments include some potentially scary images (people dressed up like decaying corpses/zombies, actors coming out of buried graves, floaty ghosts, etc.). It's not as intense as it would have been in 3-D (which was the plan for the concert), but young kids could easily be frightened. Another segment includes images of a destroyed rainforest burning and a young girl being threatened by a large tractor-like machine.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Some suggestive dancing and plenty of Jackson's signature crotch-grabbing during choreography/dance scenes. Some dancers are scantily clad in a few sequences, but it's mostly for the sake of ease of movement.

  • language false0

    Language: A couple of uses of the word "booty."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue