Shine was met with acclaim from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 91% approval rating based on 44 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The critical consensus states, "featuring a strong performance from Geoffrey Rush, Shine succeeds in telling a compelling, inspirational story without resorting to cheap sentimentality." On Metacritic, the film holds a 87 rating out of a possible 100 from 27 critic reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". Critic Roger Ebert rated the film four out of four stars, stating "There has been much talk in 1996 about films whose filmmakers claim they were based on true stories but were kidding (Fargo), and films whose filmmakers claimed they were based on true stories but might have been lying (Sleepers). Here is a movie that is based on the truth beneath a true story."