Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"In the rich umbers of Haskell Wexler's cinematography, Matewan does look great."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"Sayles must have meant his movie to stir and provoke, but the self-contained look of it yields something else -- a sense of quaintness, of harmless nostalgia."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune
"The film is beautifully shot (by veteran cinematographer Haskell Wexler) and works not just as a tense drama, but also as a fascinating recreation of the shifting politics of the the 1920s, where workers' rights blurred with socialism."
‑ , Film4
"Cinematographer Haskel Wexler contributes greatly to the look and feel of a truly special cinematic achievement."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"Superb drama by John Sayles; Chris Cooper is brilliant."
‑ Lori Hoffman, Atlantic City Weekly
"If Sayles's bite were as lethal as his bark, he might have given this a harder edge and a stronger conclusion. But the performances are uniformly fine."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"When this movie stumbles, it stumbles honestly and sympathetically, but, when it succeeds, it makes history sing."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times
"This thoughtful film is real in every respect, right down to the plaintive sound of a country woman`s ballad."
‑ Candice Russell, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"For all of the binary simplicity of the film's moral structure, the question of violence, its utility or even necessity, is the great ambiguity at the film's center."
‑ Leo Goldsmith, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"With Oscar winner Haskell Wexler acting as cinematographer, Matewan is beautifully shot, and there is not a weak performance in the film."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"In its grave clarity, it's as pure and plaintive as a mountain ballad."
‑ Jay Carr, Boston Globe
"The movie works the way Westerns have always worked: In clear, simple terms and with straightforward dramatic devices."
‑ Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel
"John Sayles' period piece is an ambitious drama of union making and union breaking in the 1920a"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"An old-fashioned movie that will make the hearts of all idealists truly sing."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"Fascinating masterpiece from Sayles"
‑ Jon Niccum, Lawrence Journal-World
More reviews for Matewan on Rotten Tomatoes