O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

o brother where art thou movie poster
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great coming together of script, acting, musical, and visuals


Movie Info

Movie Name:  O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Studio:  Buena Vista Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy/Musical

Release Date(s):  December 2, 2000

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

o brother where art thou soggy bottom boys george clooney

Our heroes!

Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro), and Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson) have escaped from a chain gang and are in search of a treasure.  The race is on with the valley of the treasure scheduled to be flooded in days.  Ulysses, Pete, and Delmar must travel across the dusty South, but Ulysses is also in a race to stop a wedding.  His wife Penny (Holly Hunter) is setting to become Penny Waldrip when she marries the bona fide Vernon Waldrip (Ray McKinnon).  Ulysses is on a race to save his family and reach the treasure, but challenges are all along the path.

Written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen, O Brother, Where Art Thou? takes its title from the fake book within the 1941 movie Sullivan’s Travels.  The movie was loosely based on Home’s The Odyssey (though the Coen Brothers admitted having not to actually read it).  The film was a critical and financial hit with the film’s soundtrack also winning a Grammy for Album of the Year.  The film was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography.

o brother where art thou sirens

Fall to the sirens’ song!

The Coen Brothers are almost always great.  Sometimes, they can alternate between good and great, but O Brother, Where Art Thou? is one of their great films.  Even over fifteen years later, O Brother, Where Art Thou? holds up as one of the best movies of the 2000s.

Despite not actually truly adapting The Odyssey, the Brothers must have read the Cliff Notes because the themes and storylines draw a fun parallel which gives the script the necessary depth.  The Coen Brothers also incorporated some masked real historical characters within the story.  In addition to a nice layered story, the dialogue for the movie is fantastic with a strange diction that really creates a Southern Gothic atmosphere which feels both “old-timey” and almost foreign.

The actors in the movie also excel at delivering the weird, stodgy speeches and if they didn’t, the movie wouldn’t work.  Clooney especially excels with this being one of his early forays into big screen acting.  Clooney is backed up by the great and dim Tim Blake Nelson and John Turturro.  While the three leads are great, the supporting cast also gets into their roles with appearances by Holly Hunter, Chris Thomas King, John Goodman, Charles Durning, Michael Badalucco, Wayne Duvall, Stephen Root, and Daniel von Bargen.

o brother where art thou cyclops

The Cyclops smells you!

The movie cast and story is tied together by great visuals.  The film’s colors and look were stylized to a different color tones which give it an old feel.  The movie’s look is tied to the music which is almost another character in the movie.  Most of the music is adapted from classic folk and blue grass songs, and the music (like the movie) holds up because of the historical feel.  The Soggy Bottom Boys songs are performed by Dan Tyminski, Harley Allen, and Pat Enright.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? was a great film that surprised a lot of people.  Despite the quirkiness of the movie, the movie caught on and became a hit.  In this, the Coen Brothers made a classic.  I still like Fargo more, but O Brother, Where Art Thou? is probably a close second.  It is bona fide.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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