Ain't Them Bodies Saints

2013

Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Critics Consensus

While conventional in plot, Ain't Them Bodies Saints is a visually poetic film that pays homage to the New Hollywood directors of the 1970s and promises big things from director David Lowery.

78%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 130

61%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,224
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Movie Info

Set against the backdrop of 1970's Texas Hill Country, AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS is a romantic American story that follows three characters on various sides of the law - outlaw Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck), his wife Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara), and a local sheriff named Patrick Wheeler (Ben Foster), who gets caught in their crosshairs. The film, which is the second feature from writer-director David Lowery, was developed at the Sundance Institute's Writing and Producing Labs and also stars Nate Parker and Keith Carradine. The film received the U.S. Dramatic Cinematography Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. (c) IFC

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Critic Reviews for Ain't Them Bodies Saints

All Critics (130) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (102) | Rotten (28)

  • Lowery falls back on a number of clichés in his indie romance-cum-Western, drowning the actors in melancholy sunshine and letting them mumble like mad. What he gets right are the characters.

    Sep 6, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • If it is a homage, this is an intelligent and accomplished one, a conscientious matching-up of style and substance.

    Sep 5, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A slow, banjo-string-tight thriller ... Bodies gets under your skin and stays there.

    Sep 4, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The spirit of Malick is evoked in this tender western starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.

    Aug 29, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This Sundance-sanctioned, love-on-the-run melodrama is indie filmmaking of a deliberately timeless sort.

    Aug 29, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A lyrical modern Western that casts a contemporary but un-jaded eye on the romantic mythology of outlaw couples.

    Aug 29, 2013 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ain't Them Bodies Saints

  • Nov 02, 2015
    A sad, melancholy Bonnie & Clyde-like crime drama that clearly borrows from Malick, and it is nice to see the way that Lowery approaches his narrative even if it is quite conventional and worth seeing more for its strong performances than by what he actually wants to tell.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • May 19, 2014
    Dark and lyrical to a fault, Ain't Them Bodies Saints is an exercise of style over substance, but is elevated by fantastic performances from Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, and Keith Carradine. The tone of this western sets up a tragic story about consequences and family as an outlaw tries to make it home to his family, and that hopelessness is reflected in the (now cliche) backdrop of a rural Texas setting.
    Edward B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 25, 2013
    Intimate, beautifully shot, methodically paced, and exceptionally composed, Ain't Them Bodies Saints is certainly one of the best independent dramas of the year. The film tells the story of two in love 'outlaws' in rural Texas who find themselves separated for years, in a constant struggle to reunite. It's a film of character study, of tone, and of fate. What really separates Ain't Them Bodies Saints is the mature filmmaking. Scenes are allowed to build organically, the characters are allowed to distinguish themselves on screen, tension is built through the narrative. The story itself, though a simple one, is used to excellent effect, exploring themes of love, loss, fate, and morality. We are given characters to follow that are nuanced. There is no straight protagonist or antagonist, just flawed characters living in a flawed world, trying to defy the odds. The dialogue is captured brilliantly, with its rich, yet simple, texture and poignant nature. This is accentuated by the phenomenal performances of Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, who have amazing chemistry, and are yet able to anchor every scene they are in. The film's one major flaw is not pairing them on screen together enough, but such is largely the nature of the story. The cinematography with this film is amazing, evoking comparisons to Terrence Malick, and other maturely visual directors. Every scene holds a beauty and an apprehension, with director David Lowery finding the pitch perfect tone. He creates a world that is mesmerizing, alluring, but also foreboding. Everything about the film is intelligent, from its execution to its composition, making it a truly enthralling experience. Overall, a hidden gem for the year. 4.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2013
    This romantic crime drama written and directed by David Lowery debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Cinematography Award in the U.S. Dramatic Category and nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and it was selected to compete in the International Critics' Week section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival - that was more than enough not to miss it. And what a disappointment it was! I will let you know soon why... The film follows an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met. The film stars Casey Affleck as Bob Muldoon and Rooney Mara as Ruth Guthrie, and they did enough of their good acting to satisfy most of the film lovers... there was nothing wrong there. Ben Foster is excellent as a local sheriff with an eye for Ruth and Keith Carradine proves himself yet again to be one of our finest performers - acting was the best part. My big problem was David Lowery! I don't like directors who involve themselves in self-indulgence forgetting that there is audience out there... ok, I'll admit that sometimes they are so good, that you can forgive them and enjoy so much that everything is all right and you walk out of the cinema smiling at the end. But, this is only David Lowery's second feature film... Someone noticed that David Lowery hasn't made a movie so much as he's made an imitation of one! Amazingly stunning visuals will bring to you the sepia-toned mood but you will never have needed narrative coherence to be immersed in all the events and feel as a part of it - one of the critics wrote that this is "a film that tries to mimic the style of Terrence Malick and succeeds only too well". Like I didn't had enough with one self-indulgent prick and I needed another "mini-Me" prick...
    Panta O Super Reviewer

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