100

San Francisco Chronicle

For the most part, Cowperthwaite keeps the preachiness in check, letting the scientists, former SeaWorld trainers and other witnesses tell it as it is. Indeed, the scary training scenes - uniformly gripping - do most of the talking.
Full Review
100

New York Daily News

By Joe Neumaier
An extraordinary, must-see examination of what humans do to killer whales so that these amazing creatures can become one more entertainment.
Full Review
100

Variety

By Justin Chang
Righteous, captivating and entirely successful as single-issue-focused documentaries go, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film draws on startling video footage and testimonies from former orca trainers, building an authoritative argument on behalf of this majestic species.
Full Review
91

indieWIRE

By Eric Kohn
The movie makes a strong case against the captivity of killer whales under sub-circus conditions, but the stance is made even more horrifying because so little has changed in the history of the organization. Blackfish is less balanced investigation than full-on takedown of a broken system.
Full Review
90

Village Voice

By Alan Scherstuhl
The movie is revealing, wrenching, and important, a reminder that what feels wrong in our gut—the effort to turn free-roaming and unknowable beasts into caged vaudevillians—is always worth investigating.
Full Review
90

The Hollywood Reporter

By David Rooney
Focusing on the notoriously aggressive orca Tilikum, this gripping film presents a persuasive case against keeping the species – and by extension any wild animal – in captivity for the purposes of human entertainment.
Full Review
88

Boston Globe

By Janice Page
What’s on camera is both damning and expertly assembled, a filmmaking effort worthy of standing with 2009’s Oscar-winning documentary about dolphin abuse, “The Cove.”
Full Review
88

Movie Nation

By Roger Moore
This is as thorough a take-down of a business and its practices as you’re likely to ever see.
Full Review
75

Chicago Sun-Times

By Bill Stamets
Dispiriting as Blackfish is at times, it offers beautiful advocacy for orca freedom. Anecdotes and data indicate these mammals are highly sensitive and social. Treating them as we do for our entertainment and profit is unconscionable.
Full Review
70

Los Angeles Times

By Gary Goldstein
Blackfish, named after the Native American term for orcas, remains decidedly one-sided. But when that "side" is such a vital, convincing proponent for the greater protection and understanding of such evolved and majestic creatures, it can't help but win.
Full Review
83 out of 100
Universal acclaim
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.