Before Night Falls
Before Night Falls (2001)

This is the story of Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas. Raised in the Oriente Province of Cuba in the 1940s, Arenas began his life-long love of the sea and water. Leaving home as a young adolescent, he moves to Havana where he finds… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: January 12, 2001
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2001
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Critic Score: 73% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: An impressionistic, fragmented look at Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls' imagery manages to evoke a sense of the writer's artistry, and Bardem's strong performance holds the film together. Finally, a biopic done well.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

In uniting to honor Arenas, Bardem and Schnabel create something extraordinary.

Rita Kempley
Washington Post

Though Schnabel's first picture, Basquiat, was notable for its excess and self-indulgence, the filmmaker shows restraint and maturity in this moving depiction of Arenas's life and loves.

Full review…
Austin Kennedy
Film Geek Central

This could have been a compelling movie about a wonderful writer, but instead it's a tedious, pointless mess. After spending over 2 hours with Arenas, I still knew nothing about him. Javier Bardem's great performance seemed to be a complete waste.

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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel

Clearly this is Bardem's show. And Bardem walks away with it.

Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald

Soulful, deeply moving.

Emanuel Levy

One of the first features about Castro's impact on artists and homosexuals, this biopic is well acted by Bardem

Full review…
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post

It's a struggle not just to make art but to exist, which is itself an art. And to that goal, the cast members, led by the astonishing Bardem, allow themselves to be devoured by the roles they are playing.

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Houston Chronicle

Consistently intriguing and surprisingly entertaining.

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Nick Rogers
The Film Yap

"Before Night Falls" exuberantly portrays a writer whose legacy remains an acutely observant childhood spirit that no perversion of politics could break. Javier Bardem blends the swagger of Robert Downey Jr. and the brooding of a young Al Pacino.

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More reviews for Before Night Falls

Flixster Audience Score: 84% Flixster User Reviews
William Dunmyer
What a magnificent film. Julian Schnabel pulled off a real tour de force with "Before Night Falls," his second film. Gloriously artistic and… More
Lady D'arbanville
Quite a difficult one to rate, as the acting was superb, whilst the film was long and drawn out. Great narration throughout by Javier Bardem, which worked well… More
Conner Rainwater
When it comes to biopics, there are very few that stand out as masterpieces or true representations of the real-life counterparts. However, this manages to do… More
Tsubaki Sanjuro
The kind of film you watch to remember why Bardem is a great actor. Also, probably the last good film that Johnny Depp made.
Elvira B
The narrative style is captivating, Julien Schnabel doesn't shy from showing the virtues and the vices of Reinaldo Arenas's literary circle. Arenas, a… More
Stephen M
The trouble with biopics of literary figures is that their art is almost impossible to convey cinematically, since a film is not made of words. Though it's… More