Critic Reviews

66

Metascore

Based on 15 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
90
Washington Post
A director with a more sensationalistic temperament might have milked this last section of the picture for melodramatic effect, but Russell's direction becomes, if anything, more brisk and more clipped.
83
Entertainment Weekly
Davies registers believable frustration and deadpan teenage disengagement in equal measure.
80
The New York Times
It is also the sort of astonishingly fresh and self-assured work that can make a reputation.
80
Washington Post
This is dangerous, dissonant material, but writer/director David O. Russell, making his feature filmmaking debut, somehow pulls it off.
80
Empire
Russell's success, however, is in creating a film that avoids being freaky or an exercise in titillation by employing a mixture of sympathetic writing and black, black comedy.
78
The movie's tone concurrently embraces melodramatics and wry humor, a twisted suburban Oedipal knot seen through a sardonic, yet deeply involved, eye.
75
ReelViews
This is not a "nice" movie -- it deals with some pretty intense issues (like incest and suicide) -- but it is both bold and inventive, and works because of an unforced approach.
70
Los Angeles Times
Russell is unusual among first-time directors in his ability to mold and shape performance. [28 Jul 1994 Pg. F2]
60
The New Yorker
A movie about mother-son incest may sound like a daring writing-directing début, but David O. Russell, the fledgling auteur, stacks the deck like an old sharpie.
50
Chicago Reader
Despite a certain originality, the movie isn't really a success, not only because the plot bites off more than it can chew (the film doesn't conclude; it simply stops), but also because, like its hero, it has some trouble distinguishing between petty irritations and cataclysmic traumas.

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