Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe to Empire!
Save up to 63%
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
We're looking for reporters for the BFI London Film Festival
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Jonah Hill
John C. Reilly
Marisa Tomei
Catherine Keener.
Jay Duplass
Mark Duplass.
Jay Duplass
Mark Duplass.
Running Time
91 minutes

4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Intern, The
3 Star Empire Rating
3 Star Empire Rating

5 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Judd Apatow meets Mike Leigh meets 24...

submit to reddit

John, a lonely divorcé (Reilly), falls in love with the beautiful Molly (Tomei), whom he meets on a rare night out, encouraged by his ex-wife and best friend, Jamie (Keener). Following Molly home one night, he meets the other man in her life: her 21 year-old son, Cyrus (Hill), who proceeds to interfere with their blossoming relationship.

Here's an idea for a high-concept comedy, tailor-made to fit Adam Sandler’s new middle-aged career phase. He’d play a down-on-his-luck divorcé whose relationship with the woman of his dreams is stymied by her slightly twisted grown-up son. With a team of scriptwriters and polishers, and maybe a producer credit for Judd Apatow, it would have all the makings of a cookie-cutter Hollywood comedy, somewhere between 2008’s Step Brothers and 1997’s Addicted To Love.

Despite the presence of heavyweight executive producers Ridley and Tony Scott, a team of scriptwriters and polishers didn’t get their hands on the concept, and Adam Sandler didn’t get anywhere near it. Instead, writer-directors Jay and Mark Duplass, the iconoclastic filmmaking brothers behind quirky Sundance hits The Puffy Chair and Baghead, cast sad-sack specialist John C. Reilly as the hapless divorcé, threw in Catherine Keener to confirm the project’s indie credibility, and let the entire ensemble improvise around a loosely structured script, capturing the results — often hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking — with a cinéma vérité style more commonly seen in documentaries and edgy cop shows.

The result is one of the best indie comedies in years, demonstrating with each new set-up that the Duplass brothers’ method — giving the actors a loose script outline, then shooting the scenes in order, allowing them to find their own truth in the characters and situations — creates an extraordinary sense of realism, like a Mike Leigh movie played for laughs as well as emotions. With actors like Reilly, Tomei and Keener aboard, it’s fantastically effective, but even up against that level of talent, it’s Jonah Hill who emerges as the winner, brilliantly understated in a role which almost anyone else would have overplayed.

If there’s a bum note, it’s that Jay Duplass’ camera employs the zoom-and-capture technique of TV series 24 a little too freely, occasionally distracting from the acting. Cyrus isn’t the best-looking film around either, its production values more John Cassavetes than Tony Scott. But these are minor wobbles: this is a major achievement from all concerned.

The Duplass brothers enter the mainstream with a touching, original and supremely funny film, whose improvisational style sets it apart from other comedies, and marks the emergence of two major new talents. Great performances, too.

Reviewed by David Hughes

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Cyrus
Empire Star Rating

Cyrus Review

While it may strike some viewers as slight, Cyrus is a successful hybrid of mainstream production values and the mumblecore ideals of directors Jay and Mark Duplass. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 01:16, 17 February 2012 | Report This Post

Cant tell you how much I loved this movie

A truly great movie!!! Everyone involved is just amazing!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by gavlaa32 at 09:11, 23 January 2012 | Report This Post

Fucking Brilliant! John C is a Legend. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stephenhickman2 at 20:39, 24 May 2011 | Report This Post


This wasn't as funny as I thought it would be' bet that is the last thing on my mind. This film is so good and very heart warming and mentaly scares you, and great perfomances from Riley and Hill. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 17:07, 03 May 2011 | Report This Post

best ive seen in a while ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kargon at 01:00, 08 April 2011 | Report This Post


I expected this to be really funny but this film is still great and very heartwarming. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 19:39, 08 March 2011 | Report This Post

Not what I expected

The trailer for the film certainly had me believing I was going to watch a different film. Cyrus's story is poor, a paint by numbers script one might say and it is also painfully slow, the first 50 minutes all could take place very quickly and the last 40 jump along at such a pace you can't feel any empathy for anyone because as soon as something bad happens it's reconcilled. There are some funny pieces to this film but altogether it is not very entertaining. Indie films I believe can at time ge... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by senorbreadington at 17:16, 07 March 2011 | Report This Post

I really liked this !!

Adjust your expectations. This is not a slapsatick no brainer comedy. We knew this was a black comedy, therefore we were not expecting huge belly laughs, however I laughed more at this than I have done at some more 'in your face comedies' of the last 12 months, obviously some others prefer those. You have to just go with the flow and allow it to build and try not to be inmpatient. It's a very clever, slow burning film, often playing on intensley awkward / weird /uncomfortable moments. There's so... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The kUrGaN at 07:08, 15 September 2010 | Report This Post

"Cyrus" is not what the trailer offers you!!!

I was really annoyed that such good actors would take on a project like this, as it was a pathetic rom-com (I actually don't know if it was cos it was that bad). If you want to enjoy the film just watch the trailer not waste your time watching this and save your money. Really gutted about this as again the trailer came across as hillarious but far from it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ryanh82 at 16:17, 13 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Cyrus "you will laugh till it hurts" Not!!

Yeah, Empire completely mis-sold this movie. It was alright, with some lovely awkward moments that induced some cringe-laughter, but nothing that had me rolling in the aisles. ... More

Posted by Filmfan 2 at 14:09, 13 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Cyrus "you will laugh till it hurts" Not!!

When people hear the name 'Cyrus' they think of one of two things depending on their age. If they are young they think 'Smiley Miley' If they are old (like me) they think 'The Virus' If only I had had a virus this weekend, then I would have been forced to stay in rather than go out and see perhaps the unfunniest 'comedy' in a long time - perhaps that winter vomiting one would have been a better option. 'Gentle' is perhaps an understatement when describing the comedy in this rather... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by markteacher at 22:11, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post

saw this film tonight, was very impressed, great performances from Reilly & Jonah Hill, Reilly's character drunk at rock bottom is great, its a heartwarming film which really gets you on board rooting for the troubled relationship, Jonah hills portrayal of Cyrus is hilarious & tragic, i loved it ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jaysonski at 22:00, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Cyrus "you will laugh till it hurts" Not!!

Saw this last night. It was good, but was not what I was expecting. Laughed a few time's, but there was no proper 'laugh out loud' moments. I also was a little disappointed with the amount of altercations between Hill and Riley. There was only a few, and none were especially humourous. A good film, but was advertised wrong. ... More

Posted by nhassell at 17:59, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Cyrus "you will laugh till it hurts" Not!!

In some ways the way the poster has mis sold Cyrus might make me want to see it more, because if it was like the poster suggested I just wouldn't be bothered, because those films have been done to death and frankly are getting a little boring now.   On the other hand if this is just going to be a hollywood version of a mumblecore movie am not sure I want that either. ... More

Posted by ElephantBoy at 16:47, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Cyrus "you will laugh till it hurts" Not!!

I absolutely agree with you skeletonjack I enjoyed the film it was nice but I read the poster on the way out and it clearly states "you will laugh until it hurts" I said to my self well that is lie. the film itself though I give it four stars because I found it was sweet because what it is basically about(SPOILER ALERT) is a love triangle between a mum and son who are very close, like best friends and the new boyfriend. Jonah Hill is excellent as is John C Rielly and Marrisa Tomei all give goo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 15:23, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Cyrus

Well the poster designers and trailer makers really pulled a fast one with this. Whichever way you look at it Cyrus is not a comedy at all, simply an out and out drama with some humorous moments. Not the laugh out loud film I expected, Idon't actually think the audience laughed out loud once in the movie. It's a decent enough film, with strong performances all around, it's just not the film I was expecting to see. 3 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 14:11, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Cyrus

Well, the Empire review couldn't have mis-sold this film any worse. I went into this expecting to be laughing throughout. Nope. While it is rather amusing at several points, it plays out more like a drama. If it'd been pitched that way, I'd have probably been more satisfied, as the central performances were great, and was really surprised at how good Jonah Hill was in such a role. He really did a great job at playing the fucked up title role. He's good at the dry dead pan stuff as seen from pre... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by juanvasquez at 23:43, 11 September 2010 | Report This Post

Jessica Chastain On The Martian
On becoming an astronaut and rescuing Matt Damon AGAIN

My Movie Life: Justin Kurzel
The Macbeth director on how Rocky changed his life and the worst ever date movie

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

Hallowed Ground: Folk Horror In British Film
Ten tales from our island's dark past

All Hail Macbeth! The Scottish Play On Film
By the pricking of our thumbs, ten adaptations this way come(s)

Licence Denied: The Bond Themes You Didn't Get To Hear
A dozen of 007's greatest misses

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)