Box art for What Doesn't Kill You

What Doesn't Kill You


Ethan Hawke and Mark Ruffalo lead an all-star cast in this drama about a pair of childhood friends from the gritty streets of South Boston that turn to crime as a way to get by.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: A mostly gripping, well-acted and surprisingly engrossing crime drama. Mark Ruffalo delivers an Oscar worthy performance that's both sensitive and surprisingly moving.

- Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: Nothing really going on here

- Ben Lyons, At the Movies, Monday, December 15, 2008

Fresh: I thought that Brian Goodman managed to put us in this hardscrabble South Boston neighborhood.

- Ben Mankiewicz, At the Movies, Monday, December 15, 2008

Audience Reviews

4 stars

What doesn't Kill is the type of film that has been done many times before, and therefore not that original. However, I found the film to be quite entertaining. I always like films like this, even if What Doesn't Kill you is not that original, it's still pretty good. The reason that the film succeeds in my book is because of the superb acting by Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawk. Both are great actors and elevate the somwhat overused story to a watchable film. What Doesn't Kill You is based on the life of first time director Brian Goodman's life of crime, and his struggle to go straight. Even though we've seen this type of film before, it feels totally different and at times original. Obviously the film is not for everyone and you may be disappointed. The fact that it's based on a true story is what seperates this from other films dealing with same subject matter. Though the script lacks originality and good structure, and the film relies almost on cliches, the cast involved makes you forget those flaws. I was so engaged by all the actors that I forgot about it's flaws. What Doesn't Kill You may rely on overused material, but it's still a good story nonetheless. I don't understand why this film has gotten so many bad reviews, It definitely isn't the worst film that I've seen. However, this film can only appeal to a certain type of audience. Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawk make this film better than it really is. A terrific little film, and one that doesn't deserve all the flack that it received. Theres so many films out there that use the same style of plot, and some of them get Critical acclaim (Avatar copied Dances With Wolves and Fern Gulley) People could have said that Avatar was overusing cliches, but no. What Doesn't Kill You is a good film and its far better than what most people have said about it.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Monday, November 8, 2010

3 stars

Two incredibly gifted actors in Ethan Hawke and Mark Ruffalo - maybe the two most underrated in films today - are wasted beyond belief as two friends who grow up together as close as brothers, but are also lifelong criminals. It follows them as they both go to prison for stealing and hawking stolen televisions and serve their time. When they get out - at different times - Brian seems to have changed as he tries to get his family back and kick an alcohol addiction while Paulie hasn't really changed at all. The story means well, but the film just drags on and never gets going until it's over. But...the music's really good. I can say that much about it. Other than that, nothing special. Look for co-writer Donnie Wahlberg in this as well.

- middleeasternfilms, Friday, December 25, 2009

3 stars

Great movie with a Great ending & even better, Its based on a true story

- dukeakasmudge, Wednesday, October 14, 2009