• Released
  • October 27, 2000
  • R , 1 hr 50 min
  • Drama
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Los Angeles Times

By Kevin Thomas
Fishburne excels in his triple-threat roles as actor, director and adapter of his own play, and his cast glows under his direction.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
Showcases a trio of terrific performances.
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L.A. Weekly

By F. X. Feeney
May lack any transcendent point that would make it exceptional, but it is certainly a worthy start, and worth catching.
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Mr. Showbiz

By Kevin Maynard
Has a credibly gritty texture, thanks in large part to Fishburne's generosity with his fellow actors.
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Chicago Tribune

By Michael Wilmington
Strong, hard, dirty, funny, moving atmospheric and laced with scabrously musical street dialogue.
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New York Post

By Lou Lumenick
Basically it's an acting exercise - a one-set rendition of that old stage and movie standby, the ex-convict struggling to go straight who's tempted to attempt one last score.
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Seattle Post-Intelligencer

By Sean Axmaker
If Laurence Fishburne could only have harnessed his fierce performance to drive his directoral debut, Once in the Life might have made something memorable of the done-to-death tale of small-time crooks on the run after a heist gone wrong.
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New York Daily News

By Jack Mathews
As urban gangster drama, Once in the Life is way below mundane, and Fishburne's direction exceeds the rookie jitters.
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
The movie remains an actor's exercise--too much dialogue, too much time in the room, too much happening offstage, or in the past, or in memory, or in imagination.
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TV Guide

By Ken Fox
The good news is that Fishburne also stars, and has recruited a talented group of actors to flesh out the cast; the bad news is that no one seems to have been on hand to help out with the rest of film.
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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.