"Cloud Atlas" — Maybe if you're 20 years old and high in your dorm room with your friends, the platitudes presented here might seem profound. Anyone else in his or her right mind should recognize it for what it is: a bloated, pseudo-intellectual, self-indulgent slog through some notions that are really rather facile. Ooh, we're all interconnected and our souls keep meeting up with each other over the centuries, regardless of race, gender or geography. We're individual drops of water but we're all part of the same ocean. That is deep, man. Perhaps it all worked better on the page. "Cloud Atlas" comes from the best-selling novel of the same name by David Mitchell that, in theory, might have seemed unfilmable, encompassing six stories over a span of 500 years and including some primitive dialogue in a far-away future. Sibling directors Lana and Andy Wachowski — who actually have come up with some original, provocative ideas of their own in the "Matrix" movies (well, at least the first one) — working with "Run Lola Run" director Tom Tykwer, have chopped up the various narratives and intercut between them out of order. The A-list actors who comprise the cast (including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent) play multiple parts across the various stories and in elaborate makeup that's often laughable. But rather than serving as a satisfying, cohesive device, this strategy feels like a distracting gimmick. R for violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use. 172 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.
— Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic