83

Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
In the title role, Michael Peña has a no-nonsense fire: He captures how Chavez borrowed from Martin Luther King Jr. but also fueled the struggle with his own improvisatory brilliance.
Full Review
75

Movie Nation

By Roger Moore
Like “42,” Cesar Chavez lacks the budget to feel truly epic in scope. The violence is scattered, shocking and personal, the struggles within the union muted but the outrage — is palpable.
Full Review
75

Chicago Sun-Times

By Bill Zwecker
It’s Pena’s quietly powerful interpretation of Cesar Chavez the man that makes this movie work so well.
Full Review
75

USA Today

By Claudia Puig
Enlivened by a strong cast, Cesar Chavez is a straightforward and inspiring account of a noble man.
Full Review
63

Miami Herald

By Connie Ogle
That rare biopic that’s shorter and swifter than it should be. This turns out to be both a blessing and a curse.
Full Review
63

Slant Magazine

By Steve Macfarlane
Not unlike Michael Peña's prior supporting roles, Chavez is marked by an explosive anger kept under a cherubic, sweet-natured mask, providing the surprise lacking in the story's text.
Full Review
63

ReelViews

By James Berardinelli
The performances are solid but I walked out of the theater thinking I might have been equally edified and entertained reading the man's Wikipedia entry.
Full Review
50

The Playlist

By Jessica Kiang
It’s a competent, unobjectionable history lesson but Cesar Chavez’ legacy needs a more inspired and inspiring telling if it's to get the exposure this crusading figure deserves.
Full Review
50

Variety

By Peter Debruge
Neither Pena nor the pic itself delivers the necessary dynamism, strained by a modest budget and too few extras to sufficiently re-create a movement that found strength in numbers.
Full Review
30

Village Voice

By Inkoo Kang
The careless diminishment of every other character that isn't Chávez — including wife Helen, played by an utterly wasted America Ferrera in a grape-sized role — might be worth overlooking if the film provided any insights into its subject.
Full Review
52 out of 100
Mixed or average reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.