'Noah' Movie Review Roundup: Critics Say Biblical Story Honored, Reimagined By Aronofsky
Noah, the latest filmic retelling of the Old Testament narrative, directed by Darren Aronofsky, offers a fresh interpretation of one of the Bible’s best-known tales.
Starring Russell Crowe in the eponymous role, Noah depicts the events leading up the Great Flood, how Noah endeavors to do as “the Creator” wishes and the myriad struggles he faces along the way – including those with himself. Unlike precursors, Aronofsky’s movie avoids painting Noah as saint-like; he’s all flawed man. While he’s environmentally aware and a staunch vegetarian, he’s often harsh and unlikeable.
Critics Review 'Noah'
The epic, which also stars Jennifer Connolly, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Anthony Hopkins, has received mostly positive notices from critics. Though the general consensus seems to be that Aronofsky’s interpretation is decidedly unusual, Noah manages to both capture the crux of the religious message and to provide something that’s a wonder to watch on screen.
“Like it or not, this apocalyptic film has been made by an artist who believes in the authenticity of religious visions. Despite its compromises, I like Noah well enough. It grounds the biblical apocalypse in the here and now, tapping into the dystopian mood while retaining a sense of religious awe. Maybe that’s why the fundamentalists hate it. It makes too much damn sense.” – David Edelstein, Vulture
“A biblical movie needs more than faith. But “Noah,” Darren Aronofsky’s often ludicrous, occasionally thoughtful epic, puts theology front-and-center, and doubles down on its blockbuster ingredients — like adding huge rock monsters with glowing eyes. That dark new take on the story — and Crowe’s intense, good, often scary performance — keeps Noah afloat despite clunky moments such as the Waterworld-like duds, the mega-rock angels and scenes of a stowaway villain hiding between the emu and the weasels.” – Joe Neumaier, The New York Daily News
“Some of the CGI effects come off a little cheesy (there are an awful lot of animals of all kinds to be loaded on-board, after all), but much of the film is visually stunning, with creative takes on such familiar themes as violence begetting violence. Taken strictly as a piece of filmmaking, Aranofsky's Noah is ambitious. And as theology, well, it may not hew exactly to the letter of the law, but the spirit survives intact.” – Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic
“Aronofsky doesn't want to instill wonder; he's more interested in drab yet expensive-looking wrath. He's made a movie about judgment that itself feels judgmental. Like his Creator giving mixed signals to his poor servants, he doesn't seem to think much of his audience. He ordered them moved, and lo, they were moved. If only it were that easy.” – Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice
“The result is a movie that is clearly deeply respectful of its source material but also at times startlingly revisionist, a go-for-broke throwback to Hollywood biblical epics of yore that combines grandeur and grace, as well as a generous dollop of goofy overstatement. Viewers may not agree about what they’ve seen when they come out of Noah. But there’s no doubt that Aronofsky has made an ambitious, serious, even visionary motion picture, whose super-sized popcorn-movie vernacular may occasionally submerge the story’s more reflective implications, but never drowns them entirely.” – Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
Noah, rated PG-13, is currently in wide release.