88

Slant Magazine

By Chuck Bowen
Elena is a film deeply concerned with class resentment, but the filmmakers' attitude toward their titular character is disconcerting and even shocking.
Full Review
88

New York Post

By V.A. Musetto
Nadezhda Markina is splendid as Elena, who speaks little but still manages to make her thoughts and emotions crystal clear.
Full Review
88

Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
Elena reveals a filmmaker in full command of his art and not much interested in catering to an audience. If you want this film, you have to meet it more than halfway.
Full Review
85

NPR

By Ella Taylor
Beneath the noirish topicality of Elena, which won a special jury prize at Cannes last year, lies a bone-deep existential unease and spiritual alienation, a preoccupation with sin that is at once quintessentially Russian and wholly archaic.
Full Review
80

Time Out New York

By Joshua Rothkopf
Rarely do movies-never mind foreign ones, of any nationality - explore an honest-to-God ethical quandary. Elena, in its concentrated austerity, often resembles a lost chapter of Krzysztof Kieslowski's Ten Commandments–themed Decalogue.
Full Review
80

Total Film

By Tom Dawson
Backed by a sparing Philip Glass score, Elena eloquently shows how, in modern Russia, even family relationships are at the mercy of business.
Full Review
80

Arizona Republic

By Bill Goodykoontz
It's a sort of slow-boil Russian noir, if that genre exists, and if it doesn't, it does now. It's also a statement on class discrepancy in post-Soviet Russia. Arrogance, betrayal, crime and violence are all part of the story, directed and co-written by Andrei Zvyagintsev.
Full Review
75

San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
There's no music to tell you what to think. It's just three good actors and one director's merciless powers of observation.
Full Review
75

Miami Herald

By Rene Rodriguez
This is a quiet, powerful film about the lengths we'll go to for the sake of the people we love - and the depths we'll sink to for the sake of the ones we hate.
Full Review
75

Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
Shoot this film in black and white and cast Barbara Stanwyck as Elena, and you'd have a 1940s classic.
Full Review
87 out of 100
Universal acclaim
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.