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Joshua
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Reviews & Ratings for
Joshua More at IMDbPro »

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16 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Criminally Underrated Psychological Thriller

9/10
Author: jzappa from Cincinnati, OH, United States
6 August 2008

Joshua is a criminally underrated movie, presumably because it was marketed towards the horror crowd, the majority of which is bound not to be satisfied with it. It's not a gorefest. It's about something much more horrific. Imagine your world being manipulated by the person one would least expect, your weaknesses exploited, your reputation destroyed, the motive, the scheme, and the process never to be explained? The important thing is to see this impressively written and directed film without any substantial knowledge of the plot beforehand. It slowly unfolds, an ominous atmosphere slowly growing like a cancer.

Sam Rockwell, one of the most likable and natural contemporary actors, and Vera Farmiga, one of the most unassuming and realistic up-and-coming actresses, are perfectly cast, unlikely to be choices for a typical psychological thriller as disturbing as this one, making their drama more dramatic and disconcerting, having to do with the easily miscommunication of feelings between parents and young children.

Joshua's music score assists the the disturbing moments in this film with its brooding. The music young Joshua, a child piano prodigy, has a discernible penchant towards is very suitable dissonant classical pieces. Even the Dave Matthews song that closes the movie on its creepy, powerful final shot is a properly somber punctuation as the film leaves you blown away, having taken Rockwell's journey right along with him. George Ratliff is a very talented, promising new director who will hopefully follow up with a more appreciated film.

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17 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A great old-school horror movie

8/10
Author: karmela from new york
3 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sick of too much gore and too little plot? Longing for a smart and scary movie in the mold of "Don't Look Now"? Well,here comes the movie you're going to enjoy. In great tradition of "bad seed" sub-genre, George Ratliff's well-written, aptly executed, wonderfully acted movie is a gasp of fresh air among today's typical, dumb, in-your-face, gore-saturated horror flicks. Although there's no supernatural element involved, the mood is genuinely scary: the intensity relies mostly on great script, truly great acting (hats off for great Vera Farmiga, really amazing as a troubled mother -- but the rest of the cast also does an absolutely terrific job!)and on smart, well-balanced directing. There's no shockers here, no pools of dripping blood - just a weird kid with auburn hair and unsettling gaze and a spooky huge Fifth Avenue apartment, which reminded me a little bit about Dakota suite of "Rosemary's Baby"... and it works, big time. And it gets even better: the director achieved a great balance between spookiness and wonderful, off-beat humor (much of it is especially tasty for New Yorkers, but I'm sure the rest of the world would enjoy it, too) - a touch of tongue-in-cheek stuff makes the movie even more enjoyable. Most importantly, "Joshua" is a great story about troubles and insecurities of modern day parenting and revolves around the theme rarely picked up by movie writers, especially not in the horror genre - namely the fact that there's no golden recipe for a perfect child. The title character is even scarier by the fact there's nothing that would explain his meanness: quite the opposite, his privileged childhood in a loving home of dedicated parents had all markings of a perfect setting for happiness and success. I'm sure it'll resonate with anyone who ever had or even contemplated bringing up baby in today's complicated world. It certainly scared me, amused me -- and got me thinking. Great job!

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17 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Frightening and Disturbing

8/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2 September 2008

In Manhattan, the successful stockbroker Brad Cairn (Sam Rockwell) and his beautiful wife Abby (Vera Farmiga) are celebrating their newborn daughter Lily in their new fancy apartment with Brad's mother Hazel (Celia Weston) and Abby's brother, the artist Ned Davidoff (Dallas Roberts). Their extremely intelligent and talented nine year-old son Joshua (Jacob Kogan) is feeling neglected and jealous of Lily, trying to attract more attention from his parents and relatives. When the baby is nineteen days old, she starts to uninterruptedly crying, driving Abby to a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile the family's dog dies and Brad asks for vacation to stay with Lily and Joshua. When Joshua goes to the museum with his grandmother and Lily, Brad accidentally watches a videotape in his camera and finds Joshua forcing Lily to cry. Brad runs to the museum and he sees Joshua with Hazel in the top of the stairs and in the next moment Hazel dropping down the stairs and dying. Brad concludes that Joshua pushed Hazel and is hurting Lily but the evidences show another reality.

The impressive"Joshua" is one of the most frightening and disturbing movies I have recently seen. The story is not graphic or gore, but the psychological horror is comparable to movies like "Rosemary's Baby", "The Omen" or "The Shinning", supported by awesome performances and direction. Jacob Kogan and Vera Farmiga are amazing with Sam Rockwell also excellent. This is the first movie of George Ratliff that I watch and I am impressed how this director was able to make this suspenseful movie with a potential of a future classic with a low budget and without any special effects. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Joshua, o Filho do Mal" ("Joshua, the Son of the Evil")

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

many loopholes,inconclusive script, no definite ending & overly long

6/10
Author: Jay Harris (sirbossman6969@yahoo.com) from United States
11 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Joshua is all my summary says it all, BUT at same time one can form many opinions on the movie.

Dave Gilbert co-wrote this with director George Ratliff., The script has so many loopholes you can drive an 18 wheeler straight through & not hit anything.

This is a confusing story of an overly bright,but lonely 9 year old,he has a mind & the demeanor of a much older lad. We are led to believe many things about the boy, which may not be the truth.

Even the very last scene, which I had sort of figured out at the very beginning,still leaves many loose ends & unexplained happenings.. I loved the setting, an apartment in an older building on Centra Park West, in New York City.

The acting by the small cast is very good, Sam Rockwell & Vera Farminga are Joshua's parents. Celia Weston is Rockwell's overly religious mother. Dallas Roberts is the mothers very nice & attentive brother,He is the only one that really pays attention to his nephew.Jacob Kogan is Joshua, people in the cast think he is responsible for some bad things, I may be wrong, but I feel the boy is not really to blame. Unfortunate things do happen,

In other words this film is not very clear on many plot turns & twist, it is overly long as well.

The very last scene is neither a shock or a surprise.

A miss for me, I wish it were a better & clearer film.

ratings **1/2 (out of 4 ) 72 points (out of 100) IMDb (6 out of 7)

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A 9 year old kid, bright and manipulative, plots against his family after the birth of their newborn girl.

5/10
Author: James-2631 from United States
13 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a very open minded movie enthusiast, i would not recommend this movie to anyone other than to those people who watch entirely too many movies, no disrespect intended. (So used to seeing typical Hollywood filth over and over again, that any plot out of the norm with good performances is an instant classic.. )

Don't get me wrong there is tons of filth in Hollywood film, and it is nice to see someone do something different: But this movie just made me angry. Not because i was so captured by the film and the hatred for Joshua, but angry that i wasted my time watching it.

HERE ARE THE REASONS WHY I DIDN'T LIKE IT:

Joshua is a 9 year old boy, who is very smart, demonic, advanced.. OK. well, this is the thing it is just not believable that a kid with no real mistreatment of any kind would go to such great lengths, not to mention be able to devise plans in such complexity to destroy his family... C'mon. (Over jealousy of his newborn sister...)

His father is a upper middle class businessman who just wants things to be peaceful.. He is a wimp! Your son is a crazy sociopath... If it was my kid and i knew what he had done just as the father knew what Joshua had done, i would shackle his hands and feet and chain him to the backseat of the car and take him to a juvenile center or a psyche ward etc. I would go through the necessary steps, and i would sit down with the appropriate people and inform them of his behavior and that he is a danger to anyone that comes near him, he needs to be isolated and evaluated, then i would leave. I would just rather dispose of the kid.. But the wife might never forgive me. If he broke out, i would find him and bury him before he got anywhere near my family... What other options are there?

Personal Irritation:

The dad and Joshua go at it like they are teenage rivals or something? The dad never really parented the kid from day one so it is understandable that he would act like they are mentally deep into a battle, so that is true to character in the film, but just annoyed me. What ever happened to: Discipline, or a sore behind!

All in all my issue is that it is just not believable and the movie seems to portray the situation like it is a common or real problem that could happen to anyone...Until then, all of you glorifying this movie should be making better use of your time.

Until someone shows me that a child can be inherently evil without reason and/or cause i will not believe it.

*Again this is just my opinion, and don't mean to step on anyones toes. But honest reviews are what this site is all about, and these are my thoughts after seeing "Joshua."

Cheers

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Interesting failure

6/10
Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
20 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I would categorize this as an interesting failure. Jacob Kogan plays the title character, the first child of Brad and Abbie Cairn (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga). After his baby sister is born, Joshua becomes morbid, and more than a little creepy. I love the whole evil child angle, and the fact that there is no supernatural reason for Joshua's behavior makes it even more horrifying. Unfortunately, Ratliff and co-writer David Gilbert haven't written a good enough script to support their idea. While there is no supernatural reason given for Joshua, the kid is so odd and seemingly beyond his own years that I think some viewers will end up supplying their own. I never really bought the character. He ends up almost paper-thin, like there's nothing behind his wickedly blank face. I wouldn't say that Jacob Kogan gives a good performance here, but he certainly has the look of utter wickedness about him. There are other fatal flaws, as well. Sam Rockwell is a little too broad, and comes off as almost comedic. This is especially true in the final half-hour, after Rockwell's character has begun to expect his son of being malicious. I shouldn't be giggling at the whole concept – this is where some true horror should arise. But Rockwell's reaction to his son's evil is almost comical, and I'm not entirely sure it's unintentional. Particlarly awful is the scene where Rockwell hires a child psychologist to examine Joshua. That whole bit was patently ridiculous: the woman deduces after approximately twelve seconds (she looks at one drawing) that Joshua is being abused. And she tells Rockwell instantly! You'd think if she really thought he was abusing his son, she'd play it more subtly and, you know, call child services or something. That scene is pretty unforgivable. There are, on the other hand, several very good sequences. I especially liked the bit where Joshua gets his mother to step on some broken glass. And that scene where the kid mocks his father for mourning their dead dog – which Joshua killed, of course – is chilling.

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Is "Joshua" the new Damien?

8/10
Author: Sarah from United States
2 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Back in the golden age of the twenties and thirties, members of Hollywood and beyond started to tire of romantic backdrops and innocent comedies. We started to see pain, hurt, and hell, even death (not to blotch hell because let's face it, it's pretty scary, too). But when "Nosferatu" went back into his little boat after a long day's work, and "The Swamp Thing" started to notice his fingers were losing their prune, directors started looking around them for the next big scare. And after coming home after a long day of their own work of horror, they found this in the shining faces of their miniatures.

Because let's face it, kids are pretty scary.

"The Omen" followed the offspring of Satan as he wrecked havoc upon his unsuspecting mother. But when the seventies were over, so was Damien's heyday. He started to notice that "Hey, people have known about folks like me for two thousand years and survived. What's so scary about that?" Director's and producers had seen it, too-- demonic children just weren't the way to go anymore. All this superstitious nonsense were pushing audience members to do their civic duty and cry out at the 60' heroes on their local theater screens to "just grab the cross and say a little prayer. The apocalypse will be evaded and I can get my ten dollars back!"

Writers were starting to realize that fairy tales weren't cutting it because spending the time to make people believe that a world like theirs actually existed only left about ten minutes for the plot. So they looked at the world around them, read a couple of books, and realized, "Holy crap. I live in a really messed up world...

"Let's mess it up some more and make a feature!"

"Joshua" is just such a film. Starting out as an independent film and later swooped up by FOX Searchlight, this little delectable piece of psychologic drama is the chocolate on the pillow in the dirty motel room of child-based horror. While the writing seems just a little too sweet to fit in with the likes of its B-movie shelf mates, "Joshua" seems to feel right at home, a gem in the long wait for a smart, new blockbuster.

Following the very quick transition from delivery room to home life, the film keeps a close watch on its title character (taken by film youngster, Jacob Kogan) as he silently criticizes the change that has been laid on his family since his baby sister was born. Something felt different. They acted strangely, not as they had acted with him when he was a newborn babe.

They seem... happy.

Things start to seem amiss, naturally, but what makes one quiver with delight is the very slow progression of Joshua's young mind and the connection it may have with his mother's developing madness. The writers have refrained from placing the boy a champion villain from the start: he struggles to completely fall over into his violent jealousy, almost as if he's looking behind his shoulder and asking, "Are you sure you don't want me to play nicely?"

But the nine-year-old's striking debut performance is not alone in its subtly, but rather surrounded by an equally as quiet and brilliant cast. The mother and father (a warm and fuzzy Sam Rockwell and the gorgeous Vera Farmiga) share a transition from blind love to heart-stopping fear that is harsh and heartbreaking in its reality. After all, wouldn't it hurt you a little if your blossoming prodigy killed your dog? At least, it seems that way. We're not quite sure. He walked him, but then...

These uncertainties follow us throughout the film. We of course assume he has done these things, and the mother with us, so naturally, if we had been in the film with them, we would have been thrown into the psychiatric wing, too. The remainder of the cast still feels that darkness near them and wonder at a dangerous possibility that their young boy, while strange and brilliant beyond his years, may not be as wonderful as they had hoped.

What's unfortunate is that the film's shine is tarnished by its writers' lack of invention. Joshua has a brilliant mind and is inventive in his ploys to disband each family member, one by one. But when it comes to a good jolt, all we ever seeing is "The Amazing Appearing Child!" Standing in doorways, just down the hall-- it's the same shot over and over again, and really, with how well things were going in every other aspect, I start to wonder if someone simply got bored? Were the deadlines too close? Was it a requirement that FOX sent out in an email, warning them if they did not succumb to at least five "jumpy appearances" every hour, they would revoke their theater rights?

No one knows, but suffice it to say, it was hard to focus on this downfall. Things just kept surprising and horrifying us, and let's face it, ignoring the deep ache in our stomachs at the thought that one of our children could easily be another Joshua was just a little bit too difficult to handle. This wasn't a blood sucking vampire or demon spawn. In reality, there was nothing awesome about this child at all. And that is exactly what frightens us. There is absolutely no telling how a child's life will unfold.

So when you go home tonight, hug your children tight until their little eyes bulge, and be sure to beat them in the race to say, "I love you." Or don't be surprised when they don't return the favor.

And, uh... has anyone seen the dog?

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Unoriginal Idea Executed Averagely

Author: PhantomAgony from United States
24 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I did not enjoy the film, Joshua, at all. Perhaps it is because I saw another, much better similar film titled Orphan 2 days prior but perhaps it's really just because this film was not very good. I am going with the ladder. Sure, the plot of an evil child is not exactly original but that doesn't mean the film could not succeed. It could have been suspenseful and entertaining and chilling but instead it was slow building, boring, uneventful and really didn't leave me thinking anything more than 'that wasn't very good' when it was all over.

At the end, Joshua's motivations are revealed. I won't give that away but the reality is that he didn't really accomplish his goals since despite Vera Farmiga as his mother, Abby, disappearing about 3/4th through the movie, all arrows point to her returning home soon. She was committed to a mental institution because she was losing her mind but then Joshua's Father/Her husband was accused of tampering with her medication which tells the audience that the institution realized that she was indeed not mentally ill but rather was being dosed medically. So.. shouldn't she be coming home soon? Won't Joshua have failed? Won't his Mother be living with him and his sister and possibly his Father soon? I question the Father since his future is left open ended.

At the end of the day, I didn't care about the characters. The evil demon child Joshua wasn't really scary. The storyline moved slowly and when it picked up it was still boring. Suspense fell flat every single time. When it was over I couldn't believe I had sat through the whole thing.

4/10 just because the acting was good from the parents especially Vera Farmiga as the Mother but if you want to see a movie about an evil 'child' go see Orphan. Now that's a movie that took an unoriginal concept and created a brilliant movie.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Depressing, strange, and answers no questions

5/10
Author: chevrette from United States
5 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is very mediocre.

The park beating scene was my favorite. I spent all movie wanting to hit this kid. I only wish he would've gotten beaten to death. That would've been a better ending than the one they chose.

I think the kid had a homosexual urge for his uncle. That is twisted. I only wish they would have clarified the uncle's role a bit. And perhaps picked a better actor in that role.

McKean's small part was pretty solid.

This is not something I would ever watch again, but I didn't want to clamor for my 2 hours back. However, you would think that in 2 hours they would not raise so many questions that leave you hanging.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The Mini-Me Anti-Christ

2/10
Author: thesar-2 from United States
8 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Though not a fan of Sam Rockwell, I was surprised when I saw his name in the credits in the opening of 'Joshua.' Heck, I wasn't even aware he was in 'Joshua' until I started the movie. So it goes without saying, I was watching the movie on the basis of the movie, not the leads. A sort of 'Rosemary's Baby,' 'The Omen' or any other demonic kid movie 'Joshua' was billed. Unfortunately, it fell flat. Slow, incredibly slow, and flat. Yet, I continued on to see how this would all resolve, hoping beyond belief, the ending climax would shed some light on the subject. Okay, I admit, it did (a wee bit) but what a stale closing. And what a low-low budget movie, or at least that's how they designed it. A person falls – you don't see the drop, you see someone lying down in what appears to be blood. A person gets hit by a cab – you don't see it, you see someone complaining, holding a bike up. I'm not sure if this is called "style" or laziness or simply, lack of funds for special effects. We have a "rich" family with a crazy mom, a workaholic father attempting to balance everything, a kid – Joshua, who may/may not be the antichrist and a new born baby girl who cries a lot. She cries as much as we see how many days she's alive – and what was that about? Are there rats above or is it Joshua? Is his mother nuts? Is Joshua crazy? Is he merely jealous of the newcomer to the family? Is he going to grow up to be Michael Myers? Or does he drive his family to the brink? I don't think so. They were nuts prior, and no "so-called" acting could make me believe otherwise. Unfortunately, barely any questions were answered, barely any open doors shut. I'm sure that might have been the idea, but for Pete's sake, give me something. Anything. There are plenty better kid-gone-wild movies to explore. Joshua's more like the Mini-Me of the antichrist.

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