In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of 'The Martian,' 'Freeheld' and More

Read what THR's critics are saying about the documentary 'He Named Me Malala' and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's 'The Walk.'

An astronaut, lesbian partners and a Nobel-Peace Prize-winning teenager are coming to theaters this weekend with the releases of The Martian, Freeheld and He Named Me Malala

Read on to find out what The Hollywood Reporter's critics are saying about the weekend's new offerings (as well as which film will likely top the weekend's box office).

The Martian

Matt Damon portrays an astronaut who is left to survive on Mars after being pronounced dead on Earth. Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena and Kate Mara also star. THR chief film critic Todd McCarthy writes in his review, "Damon provides comfortable company during the long stretches when he’s onscreen alone, and the actor’s physicality makes Mark’s capability entirely credible." He also adds that Ridley Scott (Alien, Prometheus) "returns in fine shape" with his adaptation of Andy Weir's best-selling novel. 


Julianne Moore and Ellen Page portray the true story of domestic partners Laurel Hester and Staci Andree who struggle for equal rights when Hester (Moore), a deputy officer stricken with cancer, receives backlash from the community for leaving her pension to Andree (Page).THR film critic David Rooney writes that the film "adheres to expectations" with superior performances from Moore, Page and Michael Shannon. "The movie does exactly what it sets out to do, which will leave many audiences satisfied. It's an ennobling tearjerker that pats us all on the back for how far we've come by relating one of the countless real-life stepping-stone victories against LGBT discrimination that ultimately led to marriage equality." Read the full review here

He Named Me Malala

Nobel Peace Prize-winning teenager Malala Yousafzai sparked worldwide attention when she was shot in the head by the Taliban at age 15 for speaking out on the importance of equal access to education for women and children. Her journey is now chronicled in a documentary that THR film critic Stephen Farber feels is portrayed in a "deft and affecting way." Adds Farber: "Director Davis Guggenheim, who made the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth and the controversial Waiting for Superman, does some of his most heartfelt work in this tribute to Malala and her entire family." 

The Walk

Joseph Gordon-Levitt channels French tightrope walker Philippe Petit during his 1974 aerial stunt of walking between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Rooney writes in his review that director Robert Zemeckis' portrayal of the feat is the winning shot of the film. "...the you-are-there thrill of the experience, the film's payoff more than compensates for a lumbering setup, laden with cloying voiceover narration and strained whimsy," writes Rooney. 


The Weinstein Co.'s John Cusack-starrer is finally hitting U.S. theaters after opening internationally in 2010. The 40s period piece follows the drama and romance that ensues when an American spy (Cusack) returns to Shanghai to inquire about the death of his colleague. Ken Watanabe, Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li also star in Mikael Hafstrom's feature.


Vincent Cassel stars as the leader of a small sequestered town where children are trained to be assassins. Rooney calls the film an "intermittently involving slog." He adds: "Conventional narrative detail is certainly not a requirement, and many directors can sustain a movie based on little more than suggestion and mood. But Partisan begins to feel like a short film treatment stretched beyond its limits." Read the full review here