Critic Reviews

62

Metascore

Based on 32 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Chicago Tribune
A shockingly powerful screed against racism that also manages to be so well performed and directed that it is entertaining as well. [30 October 1998, Friday, p.A]
83
Entertainment Weekly
This is the sort of incendiary role a lot of actors would kill for, yet the shock of Norton's performance isn't its showboat flamboyance. It's that he makes this sadistic junior sociopath rueful and intelligent.
75
Chicago Sun-Times
A series of well-drawn sketches and powerful scenes, in search of an organizing principle.
75
USA Today
While this movie is sometimes overbaked, it is the first major studio release in a while to engross wall-to-wall.
75
New York Daily News
Unflinching in its depiction of racism, anti-Semitism, violence and jailhouse politics.
75
San Francisco Examiner
Such an ambitious, well-acted film that it's easy to overlook its flaws as relatively minor.
75
ReelViews
May be flawed, but it's not easily forgotten.
63
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Excellent in flashes, unintentionally absurd and lead-footed at other moments, the movie stumbles under the weight of its own grandiose intentions.
50
For all its surface verisimilitude and for all its focus on a problem that couldn't be more current, this film can't manage to feel more than sporadically real.
50
San Francisco Chronicle
As a visit to a world and a way of life most of us will never experience, American History X is vivid, and it feels honest. At the very least, it's not typical.
50
New York Post
The picture is smothered by solemn right-mindedness, and hobbled by scripter David McKenna's simplistic, knee-jerk liberal take on suburban white racism.
25
Christian Science Monitor
Norton's high-energy acting is the only element that saves the picture from being a total loss.

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