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This Must Be the Place

Comedy . Drama

A bored, retired rock star sets out to find his father's executioner, an ex-Nazi war criminal who is a refugee in the U.S.

Actors: Olwen Fouere , Shea Whigham , Olwen Fouéré , David Byrne , Joyce Van Patten , Harry Dean Stanton , Kerry Condon , Eve Hewson , Judd Hirsch , Frances McDormand , Sean Penn
Directors: Paolo Sorrentino
Release: 2011-08-24
More Info:
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    Sean Penn makes a striking screen presence in This Must Be the Place, a smart, funny and original road movie by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino ("Il Divo").

    Washington Post Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    Maybe, beneath the stylistic flourishes and bursts of operatic emotion, it is a simple story of psychological struggle, about a man in midlife reckoning with the damage of his past. But to settle on that interpretation is to deny or discount the splendid strangeness of Mr. Sorrentino's vision - and also, therefore, of the curious corners of reality he discovers along the way.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    Few actors have played a wider variety of characters, and even fewer have done it without making it seem like a stunt.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Joseph Jon Lanthier

    The film believes in maturity, but only as a freely continual process of acceptance.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Mike D Angelo

    This Must Be The Place practically dares viewers not to find it ridiculous, but few will accept the challenge.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    It's hard to imagine sitting through the film without Penn in the role of Cheyenne. But there he is, in all his intense, bizarre glory, almost daring us to come along for the ride and rewarding us with a compelling trip when we accept.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Chris Packham

    Sorrentino's languorous photography, understated humor, and quiet but profound dramatic reveals coil together into something organic, whole, and achingly sweet.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Andrew Lowry

    Succeeding against the odds and adroitly blending its disparate elements, this is a fine entry into the Eurodirector-gawps-at-America subgenre.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Jay Weissberg

    Quirky, hilarious and moving, Sorrentino's first English-lingo production is a road trip of stunning scope yet deep intimacy, featuring an aged rock star-turned-Nazi hunter played by Sean Penn at his transformative best.

    Variety Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    Mixing faded rock glory with Nazi-hunting and American road-tripping creates an odd hybrid that is completely transfixing, although some viewers are likely to find this film an awkward mishmash. The drama, however, is consistently offset by comic underpinnings, which are well-played by the actors and seamlessly presented by Sorrentino.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    This Must Be the Place is a movie existing in a zonked-out realm where reality smashes head-on with a train-wreck hero too strange to be real, unless you're the love child of Ozzy Osbourne and the Cure's Robert Smith.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    This isn't a great movie, but it is a special one. And Penn is something to see.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    The director seems to be drawing a line from the horror of the war years to the infantilism of the Boomers and rock; the father lost his innocence, and the son froze his.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Mark Jenkins

    This mashup of genres and themes doesn't entirely succeed, but it is warm, funny and ably crafted.

    NPR Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    This Must Be the Place is dazzling to behold, not least when our hero leaves Ireland. [29 Oct. & 5 Nov. 2012, p.128]

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    Penn has created a colorful tour guide, but in This Must Be the Place, there's no there there.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Sheri Linden

    If the movie doesn't entirely get past its hard-to-buy premise, director Paolo Sorrentino does have the courage of his convictions, not just embracing every contradiction but spinning many of the story's contrivances into moments of strange, aching beauty.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    The film's numerous idiosyncrasies - virtues at the outset - ultimately suffocate it.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Pete Hammond

    With a sure-to-be-talked about performance by Sean Penn and the dueling themes of overcoming depression and revenge against Nazi atrocities, This Must Be The Place is anywhere BUT the place for moviegoers who aren't in the mood for something different.

    Boxoffice Magazine Full Review
  • Angie Errigo

    Determinedly quirky and cool, arresting and ultimately too baffling to be satisfying, although Penn is priceless. Cultdom beckons.

    Empire Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    The Holocaust material was not entirely successful, though certainly transmitted with absolute certainty and sincerity. This Must Be the Place is not my favourite of Sorrentino's films, but it certainly deserved inclusion at Cannes, and deserves to be watched for the glorious Byrne moments alone.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Eccentric, misguided and occasionally charming and sweet, this curiosity item with Sean Penn in one of his nuttier performances is unlikely to be embraced critically or commercially.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Sean Penn is one of those actors, like Nicolas Cage, who is best (sometimes worst) when he's over-the-top. Unlike Cage, Penn doesn't pour himself into dreadful commercial vehicles. No, his dreadful movies are usually not destined for the multiplex. Case in point: This Must Be the Place.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • James Rocchi

    Sorrentino's very title suggests someone who doesn't have the most well-defined sense of where they ultimately want to wind up; as goes the Talking Heads song, so goes the movie.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    There's no "place" in this place, no clear destination -- and no real payoff in a film that stands a cinematic curiosity but little more.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Guided by an over-the-top Nazi hunter played by Judd Hirsch (clearly enjoying himself), Cheyenne begins a road trip through Middle American that goes nowhere, and Penn's mopey has-been routine starts to feel like a bad joke that just keeps getting worse.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    This Must Be the Place is as emotionally zonked-out as its protagonist, and just as difficult to warm up to.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Worst of all, in promoting its hero's eccentric journey as a voyage of healing, the movie replaces emotional precision and intellectual honesty with syrupy sincerity and insistence. It turns boring and cute and begs us to love it.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    As juxtapositions go, regressed Goth rock star and Holocaust could hardly be more bizarre, and bizarre can be good when it's done deftly. In this case, however, it's done ponderously and sententiously.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
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