Critics and audiences (including me) react to Noah

The NYTimes movie section has a piece on Noah‘s opening weekend box office of projected $44M in domestic ticket sales and the public’s reaction to the film including this:

“Noah” had a soft rating of C by Cinemascore, which gauges audience reaction. That happened as a majority of viewers — 63 percent, according to Paramount executives — gave the movie a positive score of A or B, even while a significant minority judged the film as low as D or F.

“People are getting their arms around, are they comfortable with it?” said Rob Moore, Paramount’s vice chairman. “There’s a small, vocal minority who are not.”

This is not surprising as any film based on the Bible is going to provoke some negative reactions by both atheists and believers, even unseen. These are predictable and tiresome at best. More disturbing is the tone of inquisition over Darren Aronofsky’s personal belief system.

Most critics like the film, with it holding steady at 76% for all critics and at 78% for “top critics” on Rotten Tomatoes.  Noah gets a “generally favorable” score of 68 at MetaCritic (29 positive, 8 mixed and 1 negative reviews). We’ve reported on spiritual leaders praising Noah here and here. Some positive comments from reviewers:

“This is a Noah for the 21st century, one of the most dazzling and unforgettable biblical epics ever put on film.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“… Noah, played by Russell Crowe like a gathering storm…..Crowe’s nuanced performance holds steady as the world spins around Noah.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“A Biblical action disaster fantasy epic that is completely bonkers, endlessly entertaining, and actually religious in that inspiring-and-instructional way that you don’t need to take as literal truth to see the wisdom of.” – MaryAnn Johansen, Flick Filosopher

“Incredibly unconventional, yet totally accessible spectacle.” – Susan Granger

“It grounds the biblical apocalypse in the here and now, tapping into the dystopian mood while retaining a sense of religious awe.” – David Edelstein, New York magazine

“It captures the torment of one chosen as an instrument by a vengeful Old Testament God, and it breaks a story of cosmic dimensions into brutally human terms.” – Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News

“Aronofsky brings wild ambition and thrilling artistry to one of the Old Testament’s best-known, most dramatic, least plausible stories… with Russell Crowe infusing the role of God’s first seaman and zookeeper with all his surly majesty.” – Richard Corliss, Time

“Unlike most action movies, it’s the furthest thing from a cynical piece of work. It’s a movie to wrestle with and talk about.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Gate

“Aronofsky is interested in these people as people, not pop-up saints straight out of Sunday school.” – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“Darren Aronofsky wrestles one of scripture’s most primal stories to the ground and extracts something vital and audacious” – Todd McCarthy, THR

“The point to take home is the message the movie leaves you with, which works regardless of your faith (or lack thereof). Humans are inherently flawed. How we deal with those defects is what truly matters.” – Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

The Times also notes:

Mr. Moore said the split-level Cinemascore for Noah and the polarized audience reaction were similar to what the studio experienced with Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street

Excellent company to be in!

Through the weekend, the debate around “Noah” was still drawing attention from competitors.

Not a bad thing at all. Controversy always generates more interest.

I loved Noah and will see it repeatedly. It’s wonderfully provocative on complex issues like spirituality, how we define justice and mercy, and our relationship with the earth. How many big money movies can you say that about?  I was a fan of Darren Aronofsky before Noah and even more so now. I especially enjoy seeing Russell and Jennifer Connelly together again. She is easily my favorite of his female co-leads.  I think Noah is some of Russell’s best work ever – up with Gladiator, The Insider, A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man. If Russell endured some personal pain while making Noah, as he recently told Martyn Palmer, he certainly put it to good use.

~ Tamara


About Tamara & MM

Two fans of Russell Crowe dedicated to saving, archiving, and organizing as much available information about the life and career of this amazing man as is humanly possible. A woman's work is never done....
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