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Based on 16 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 2 )
  • 75
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    There's no music to tell you what to think. It's just three good actors and one director's merciless powers of observation. show more

  • 85
    Ella Taylor NPR

    Beneath the noirish topicality of Elena, which won a special jury prize at Cannes last year, lies a bone-deep existential unease and spiritual alienation, a preoccupation with sin that is at once quintessentially Russian and wholly archaic. show more

  • 88
    V.A. Musetto New York Post

    Nadezhda Markina is splendid as Elena, who speaks little but still manages to make her thoughts and emotions crystal clear. show more

  • 88
    Ty Burr Boston Globe

    Elena reveals a filmmaker in full command of his art and not much interested in catering to an audience. If you want this film, you have to meet it more than halfway. show more

  • 88
    Chuck Bowen Slant Magazine

    Elena is a film deeply concerned with class resentment, but the filmmakers' attitude toward their titular character is disconcerting and even shocking. show more

  • 75
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    Shoot this film in black and white and cast Barbara Stanwyck as Elena, and you'd have a 1940s classic. show more

  • 75
    Rene Rodriguez Miami Herald

    This is a quiet, powerful film about the lengths we'll go to for the sake of the people we love - and the depths we'll sink to for the sake of the ones we hate. show more

  • 80
    Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic

    It's a sort of slow-boil Russian noir, if that genre exists, and if it doesn't, it does now. It's also a statement on class discrepancy in post-Soviet Russia. Arrogance, betrayal, crime and violence are all part of the story, directed and co-written by Andrei Zvyagintsev. show more

  • 80
    Joshua Rothkopf Time Out New York

    Rarely do movies-never mind foreign ones, of any nationality - explore an honest-to-God ethical quandary. Elena, in its concentrated austerity, often resembles a lost chapter of Krzysztof Kieslowski's Ten Commandments–themed Decalogue. show more

  • 80
    Tom Dawson Total Film

    Backed by a sparing Philip Glass score, Elena eloquently shows how, in modern Russia, even family relationships are at the mercy of business. show more

  • June 17, 2012 Margaret Opine
    Report This User

    5-stars BUT I COULD TAKE A STAR FOR DRAG BUT THEN YOU\'LL FORGIVE THE DRAG IN THE END BECAUSE YOU WILL BE BEWILDERED. THE DIRECTOR HAS HAD HIS WAY WITH YOU (LIKE MASTER LITERARIST TONI MORRISON); YOU WILL SIT THERE FEELING LIKE SOMEBODY FORGOT TO TELL YOU SOMETHING but it is one of those directors who are leaving it up to you what to think. Well...that\'s works sometime; it\'s a risky ploy...but sometimes it astounds the audience and that\'s what happen in this movie. It\'s like No SHE DIDN\'T, OH YES SHE DID...BUT WHY????!!! WELL, YOU FIGURE IT OUT BY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE CLUES. IT IS RATHER A MYSTERY AND A MESSAGE MOVIE. YOU WILL HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU THINK THE MESSAGE IS. I DROVE HOME ASTONISHED...BUT I DID FIGURE OUT WHY THIS SCRIPT ASTONISHED ME--See if you can figure out why you\'re astonished because the story ends but it does (like) leave you guessing. You\'re suppose to look at the clues given and tell the rest of the story yourself and that is astonishing. (WELL, I\'VE GOT A BIT OF MORALIZING TO SAY AND A CRITICISM. The movie is advertised as a love story about two people with \"different backgrounds\"--un-un, not true. This movie is about a woman who does bad parenting; she\'s living in a state of denial, and she behaves very foolishly and will live to see just how foolish she was. (Russian) Bravo Nadezhda Markina, her performance is award-winning.--MO

  • June 09, 2012 Joe Greene
    Report This User

    A wonderful filmshowung the contrast of society in modern Russia.Played with depth and interest. A very provocative film.

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