MOVIE NEWS – Surprisingly, Napoleon received a medium Rotten Tomatoes review score. This happens to be one of the worst scores for lead actor Joaquin Phoenix in the last ten years, but let’s not get sad too early…
Joaquin Phoenix’s Napoleon debuted with one of the decade’s lowest Rotten Tomatoes critical scores. The biopic, directed by Ridley Scott, follows Napoleon Bonaparte (Joaquin Phoenix) and Empress Joséphine (Vanessa Kirby) as they rise to power over France and Europe. The film will be released in cinemas on 21 November and will eventually be available on AppleTV+ (We’ll be watching it tomorrow, with our review coming soon.)
Despite boasting a star-studded cast, early reviews of Napoleon reported a mediocre film: it debuted on Rotten Tomatoes with a 66 per cent score at the time of writing and lags behind Phoenix’s other recent films.
In the past 13 years, only 2015’s Irrational Man and 2018’s Mary Magdalene have earned Phoenix lower critical scores, with 46 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively. It pales compared to his performance in 2021’s C’mon C’mon, which received a 94 per cent rating. As well his film The Sisters Brothers received an 87 per cent rating.
It is too early to attach much importance to Napoleon’s Rotten Tomatoes score
Napoleon the Phoenix’s ranking as one of the decade’s lowest-grossing films is surprising. Considering the contribution of acclaimed director Ridley Scott. With a massive budget of $200 million, the film desperately needs positive critical and box office results to give itself a comfortable landing.
Although it is expected to be a mainstay in Apple’s AppleTV+ collection, a box office hit is still needed.
However, the low Rotten Tomatoes score doesn’t mean that the biopic’s success is impossible. One of Phoenix’s other low-scoring films, Joker, received a rating of just 69 per cent, remarkably close to Napoleon’s 66 per cent. That film earned more than $1 billion at the box office, and Phoenix won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the production. Of course, the low Rotten Tomatoes score doesn’t mean Phoenix’s latest epic will fail.
The Joker’s audience score was much higher at 88 per cent, but it’s too early to tell what Napoleon’s audience score will be.
The Rotten Tomatoes scores are somewhat challenging because they do not necessarily reflect critics’ expectations of a film. The system collects early reviews and then determines their positive or negative percentage. If it has mixed results among critics, it may receive a medium score. Another review aggregator, Metacritic, for example, also rates the film at 66% (whereas The Joker only scored 59 points…) Ultimately, the audience will decide whether Napoleon is a success or a failure.