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The Water Diviner

Drama . War

Four years after the Battle of Gallipoli, Australian farmer Joshua Connor travels to Turkey to find his three sons, who never returned home from the war. When he arrives in Istanbul, he meets others who have also suffered losses: hotelier Ayshe and her son, Orhan, who befriends Connor; and Major Hasan, a Turkish officer who fought against Connor's sons and now may be their father's only hope in finding closure.

Actors: Yilmaz Erdogan , Deniz Akdeniz , Cem Yılmaz , Allen Tiller , Jacqueline McKenzie , Ryan Corr , Damon Herriman , Isabel Lucas , Jai Courtney , Olga Kurylenko , Russell Crowe , Cem Yilmaz
Directors: Russell Crowe
Release: 2014-12-26
More Info:
  • Richard Roeper

    A first-rate post-World War I drama with a heavy dose of sentiment and a gripping storyline.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Philip Kemp

    The film’s only let down by its too-frequent recourse to narrative cliché.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Crowe is not messing around here, not trying to dream up opportunities to throw himself another close-up. He’s a genuine director.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    In The Water Diviner, Crowe strives to strike a universal chord about the futility of war. Simplistic? Maybe. But in crafting a film about the pain a parent feels after losing a child in battle, Crowe transcends borders and politics. It's not war being honored here, it's sacrifice and inconsolable loss. I'd call that a substantial achievement.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Inkoo Kang

    Crowe’s beauty-seeking, but exoticizing camera is slightly outmatched by his performance, which anchors the film with regret tinged with hope. But what continues to haunt after the credits finish rolling are the film’s explorations of the trauma of life after war: The brutally quick political shifts, the lingering shame of committing vicious and dishonorable acts, and the bitter knowledge that there’s no such thing as lasting peace.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    Crowe makes the most of his own quiet presence, and this ode to the world’s never-recovered soldiers and their families is a fitting meditation on the insanity of war.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    The story takes some unexpected turns, which Crowe handles well, without overplaying them. Overall, The Water Diviner is a solid effort, a good, old-fashioned movie when it's not delving into soap opera.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Frank Hatherley

    The Water Diviner is a heart-warming tale of family, love and sacrifice told with four-square enthusiasm and manliness by director and star Russell Crowe.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Megan Lehmann

    The film gives a lot of space to emotions, but Crowe reins in his outsized personality to contribute an affecting, understated performance and, as director, underplays the allegories, particularly the recurring water motif, so they seep through the narrative organically.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    After toiling for the likes of Ridley Scott, Ron Howard, and Peter Weir all these years, Crowe takes command of his own camera crews and castmates, mounting an ambitious and sentimental period drama.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    The final production is so jammed with subplots and secondary characters that it often feels like the Cliffs Notes version of a complex novel.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    This big, brawny historical drama feels more personal to its maker as both an artist and an Australian. For better and for worse, the movie’s a labor of love and of national identification.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    Crowe is effectively restrained in his acting, but in his debut as a director, he overdoes the manipulative music and the pretty images from cinematographer Andrew Lesnie.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    The performances are moving and get the job done, and Kurylenko (“Quantum of Solace”) wins us over by the way she slowly lets Connor, her enemy, win her sympathy.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Cath Clarke

    The Water Diviner is solid and old-fashioned.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Ian Freer

    It’s an odd mix of "Saving Private Ryan" odyssey and romantic melodrama. It has sincerity, sensitivity and is often ravishing to look at but is let down by a chocolate box love story. Still, Crowe still might have a "Braveheart"/"Dances With Wolves" in him yet.

    Empire Full Review
  • Luke Buckmaster

    A handsome crowdpleaser with a big heart.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Eddie Cockrell

    An often capriciously mixed cocktail of war film and cross-cultural family melodrama, The Water Diviner marks an ambitious if emotionally manipulative directing debut for Russell Crowe.

    Variety Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    A sloggy, heartfelt piece of quasi-magical realist storytelling.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    If only Crowe brought the same subtlety to his direction that he brings to his performance.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    The film's fuzzy mystical undertones are irksome as well. They seem less aligned with 19th century representations of Christian or Muslim spirituality than with fond childhood memories of "Star Wars." Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    Crowe is a commanding lead actor who could have made it into something special if he'd stayed out of his own way. Maybe he should have stayed home. You should.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Brad Wheeler

    But just as Anzac troops had quite a go of it in Gallipoli, Crowe (who also stars as the doggedly bereaved father and exceptional well-digger here) is in tough with critic-historians aghast at The Water Diviner’s pro-Turkish slant.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Crowe's feature directorial debut, The Water Diviner, stems from an honest impulse to dramatize ordinary people who honor their dead. Yet the results are narratively dishonest and emotionally a little cheap.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    Crowe's performance is the best thing about the ambitious historical drama, which takes some artistic liberties.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    Crowe clearly seeks to return to classic storytelling values with this sweeping-yet-intimate, serious-yet-swashbuckling, hither-yet-thither picaresque; that he succeeds only part of the time shouldn’t detract from the worthiness of his mission.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Nick Schager

    Crowe's visual framing and dramatic staging are as assured as his compelling lead performance. Yet as his story becomes weighed down by issues of cross-cultural understanding, forgiveness, and second chances...the film comes to feel like a slight, straightforward tale distended to tedious lengths.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    His (Crowe) movie is a male weepie, slickly lit, but clearly the work of an amateur. Its emotional thrust — the search — is made limp by indiscriminate direction and the kind of quantity-over-quality mindset that invites tacked-on romances and dream sequences that play like dream-sequence parodies.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    As a director, Mr. Crowe’s camera meanders all over the place; as an actor, he mumbles and growls his way through the carnage like it was nothing more important than a re-make of Gladiator, filmed on old sets from Gene Autry westerns.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Matt Brennan

    In straining for the profound, the film ultimately loses its way in a veritable no-man's land of ill-conceived stylistic choices and narrative switchbacks.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Despite the incongruous romance and abrupt action beats, Crowe gives a likable, sympathetic performance. But it all starts to dry up before our eyes. Emotions feel false or melodramatic, flashbacks are drawn out and coincidences and connections are forced.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Mark Olsen

    It's an unsurprisingly ambitious movie from the notoriously, proudly headstrong Crowe, which makes it such a disappointment that it feels so blandly earnest and unexpectedly hesitant, with none of the unnerving conviction the actor often brings even to lightweight promotional appearances.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    A far more profound and moving film about this particularly Aussie/Kiwi campaign (and one that will probably never be topped) is Peter Weir’s devastating Gallipoli, starring a very young Mel Gibson. Given the choice, I’ll take that over Crowe’s earnest bombast any day.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    You don’t have to be a historian to wonder about the timing of the opening or a critic to regret that Mr. Crowe has signed onto a preposterous, would-be sweeping historical romance that’s far too slight and silly to carry the weight of real history.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Sorting through the shards of the Ottoman Empire requires a historical complexity that eludes Crowe, who flattens the landscape into bromides on family and country, and the hard-won glories of being Russell Crowe. His on-screen persona could stand to be as modest as his filmmaking abilities.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    I have to assume that Russell Crowe and Warner Bros. did not deliberately set out to insult and anger the Armenian diaspora and its friends around the world, or to participate in covering up a monumental 20th-century crime that shaped the world we live in and remains swathed in too much historical shadow. They disgraced themselves by making this movie the way they did, and then redoubled the disgrace by releasing it this week. Full Review
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