The Poker House (2008) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
20 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
6/10
unfocused harrowing biopic
SnoopyStyle3 February 2016
It's one day in 1976 Council Bluffs, Iowa. Agnes (Jennifer Lawrence) is a 14 year old living in a dysfunctional house. Her family escaped her abusive preacher father. Her sister Bee hopes to get into a foster home. Her youngest sister Cammie (Chloë Grace Moretz) sleeps at a friend's and spends her day at a bar with drunk Stymie (David Alan Grier). Her mother Sarah (Selma Blair) has fallen into prostitution and drug-abuse. She considers her mother's pimp Duval (Bokeem Woodbine) as her boyfriend. The house is a gathering place for criminals to play poker and known locally as the Poker House.

Director Lori Petty brings her personal story to the screen. It's a harrowing story. It needs an expert to focus the story onto Agnes. It's a bit scattered. It's got some great young future stars and has great potential. JLaw does some big acting. She is always compelling. Petty really needs a professional writer to focus this material more.
14 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Felt a bit all over the place at times, not a terrible movie though
KineticSeoul8 February 2011
This is one of the story in the life of Lori Petty, and I never knew how much of a difficult childhood she had. It's basically a depressing and yet well acted and well made movie to some degree about girls struggles. Mainly because of a bad mother and not a very good environment to be growing up in. Now the negative aspect of this movie is that, it seemed to drag in a lot of scenes. In fact some of the scenes actually seemed quite pointless. Basically the plot is about a tough girl who is also smart, but don't always make the right decision having to take care of her sisters as well as overcome her struggles with the environment. The plot seemed all over the place at times and got boring during sometimes as well. This is not a near perfect movie but it isn't as terrible as some people claim it to be. The ending was okay though.

6/10
22 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
An intimate reminder of my childhood
momofmelbaandcasey27 February 2012
I enjoyed this movie from beginning until the end. Perhaps due to the evocative nature of the film and my own very early childhood. Like Adele, the lead character and narrator of the film, it fell upon me at way too young an age, after a parental separation, to pick up the pieces, both figuratively and literally. This film is so surprisingly different than anything else that Lori Petty has done in film that I was startled to find out that it was indeed the Lori Petty from Tank Girl who penned and directed this film. A tale of religion gone wrong and a mother who couldn't deal with the consequential aftermath, a tale of a girl old beyond her years, searching for a tender love that couldn't be bargained; I wish that you see this film and take from it the hope that it inspires, the longing that children have for a pure love and the understanding that you can't always get what you want or even what you need.
23 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Frankly, it's a beautiful movie
j-a-julian26 December 2018
A little hard to follow early on, could be tighter directing. But overall, a beautiful movie.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Slow to get started, but fantastic acting holds it together
Jayden93313 June 2012
The Poker House is a dramatic independent film starring the young Jennifer Lawrence. As usual, Lawrence's performance was gripping. Personally, I liked The Poker House better than Lawrence's Oscar-nominated role in Winter's Bone, which was also nominated for Best Picture. The Poker House has a major drawback as the first half of the film is very slow and unrevealing story-wise, yet it managed to keep me intrigued. Then, it all turns around after the dramatic climax of the film. The scene, which stands out as one of Jennifer Lawrence's most chilling and petrifying performances, is immediately followed by what is perhaps one of the most beautifully crafted and spectacularly shot monologues I've ever seen, given by Selma Blair. While the timing seems odd, it is a powerful and emotional moment capitalized by the two actresses' talent. The remainder of the film continues to satisfy to its jaw-dropping conclusion. 6.9/10
13 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Bravo to the actors and the characters they play!
liajane1931 January 2012
Selma Blair is amazing in The Poker House as a drug-addicted prostitute who has her three daughters living with her. Jennifer Lawrence also gives a wonderful performance as the eldest daughter, Agnes who takes care of her two younger siblings. The Poker House is narrated by Agnes as she tries to deal with being 14 and living in a house where there is gambling, drugs, alcohol, and pimps. The story definitely pulls on the heart strings at times, but it does not overwhelm with sadness that it makes it hard to enjoy. It adds just the right amount of humor that three young girls can produce while being silly together. I honestly was shocked by how well the movie was produced and the character portrayal. The Poker House is definitely something I would recommend to my friends, as well as watch again.
16 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A Near Perfect Movie
yossarian10021 October 2009
A person's life is made up of many stories, and this is just one story from Lori Petty's life, but it's told with all the style of John Steinbeck. Speaking of style, something which is lacking in so many films today, even great ones, THE POKER HOUSE is done with an amazing amount of it, and the only thing you get more of than style in this movie is the incredible performances and characterizations of Jennifer Lawrence, Sophia Bairley, Chloe Moretz, and Selma Blair, an excellent supporting cast, and a to-die-for script. The final scene of this movie is not an ending, it's a beginning, and it's so powerful I jumped to my feet while watching it. Lori Petty has an incredible grasp of the art of visual storytelling. I can't wait to see what she does next.
48 out of 85 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Well, That Escalated Quickly.
dillperrybruh18 September 2014
Okay, let me just start by saying; this is one of the best shot films i've seen in a long time. Let it be known that 80% of the cast were very young when this was shot, yet they perfectly recreated a "70's Cult Flick" theme. Very well done on that front. Plot line was very gritty and dark, but uplifting in a F**ked up sort of way. Supposedly a True Story. I gave it a seven because let it be known some of the acting is very cheesy but then that contributes to the "70's Cult Flick" theme mentioned earlier. We got a very basic character build up. It was essentially a day in the life. I personally would've liked to see more into the characters background. Smooth Start, Rough Middle, Nice Finish. Reminded me VERY MUCH of 8 Mile, Jennifer Lawrence playing Eminem's Character.
9 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Just Write
RendyBrontosaurus15 June 2019
Good as an independent movie, professional acting, and good story
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
There's just today, and then there's tonight
diegorkz9216 July 2013
Story of a little girl, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who lived in "The Poker House", something like a house where they are, pimps, drugs, gambling, that sort of thing. A drama that reflects basically how it was to live there, with her sisters and mother.

I found a good story, besides that is told by the same person who lived it, which makes it much more real, and they are many emotions in this film, which could reflect only living something like that.

For this movie Jennifer Lawrence won an award for an outstanding performance. Thing with which I also agree, because she embody the character with enough personality and gave him a very real touch to it.

Agnes: "I race the sun home in the morning, and the moon up at night. Anything can happen, and anything does. There's just today, and then there's tonight. And tonight is wonderful"
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Hit Me
aguchi697 October 2014
I found this rare gem at the pawn shop because Walmart doesn't always have a better price or selection to beat (at times.) I saw a young JL and the Kick Ass girl (which made me wonder was this before or after Kick Ass?)Anyway, this movie has great acting by all those involved and its a sad true case of a story and just when I thought the ending might go unresolved, Bang, in your face! The movie is based on something real, which makes one realize that the theme and goings on, happen every night, at least somewhere in America but not everybody can break away from the cycle which is why the mothers role makes the example. Also, the part dealing with the religious aspect of the movie makes sense too because it can be abused and used to dominate the weaker lambs. All in all it's a worthy performance from the Hunger Games and Kick Ass chicks.
6 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
One house to rent
videorama-759-85939129 September 2014
Before JL was known, she lit up the screen here, among many other great performances in a true yet, I guess in one way, astounding story based on ex actress, Petty's childhood. Lawrence plays the the oldest sister to two youngin's whose irresponsible mother (Selma Blair) is a drunk and a heroin shooter. Her lover (Bokeem Woodbine) and pimp is having it off with Lawrence, in some intimately hot scenes, where I could see a talent on the rise. In this notorious house, there's pimping, boozing, partying, and of course poker playing. Lawrence does of steal the movie, really making an impact on the viewer, where surrounding performances are not to be underrated, particularly Blair, and a surprising David Allen Grier, as a blind barfly. Woodbine holds his own too, where he's always been an impressive acting talent, from his start in Jason's Lyric. His violent and threatening air to his character was just right, and made it's point. It's some of his best work. What goes on in this house, as from Point Break's Petty's personal biography, is certainly arresting. We even see a flash shot of a very young girl, getting groomed for prostitution, from JL's POV, watching outside. It's an eye opening movie indeed, and first time director, Petty, has brought something special here, in a poignant film that grabs you from end to finish. Definitely one for JL fans, to see how she started off. It's the acting which really makes it work, and again those JL kissing scenes, mmmmmmnnn.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
"He probably won't kill me. It ain't happened yet. But, it's like when people tell you that their dog doesn't bite. How do they know?"
Bored_Dragon18 May 2020
An upsetting drama about three underage sisters who grow up with a drug-addicted mother, who turned the family home into a scum-den, a gambling and whoring house. Jennifer Lawrence plays the eldest sister, who tries to replace the mother to the younger ones and spare them the hell in which they live as much as possible, while she herself becomes a victim of rape and self-deception. There is also ten-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz in the role of one of the younger sisters, who is already announcing her acting capacities. The movie is based on the life of actress Lori Petty, who wrote the script and directed. The story is well written and the film is quite solidly shot, but what sets it apart and makes it especially impressive is the really convincing acting and strong emotion it conveys.

9/10
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Good acting is not enough for a good movie
SUGAR2TWO28 May 2021
Should've been focused solely on Agnes (JLaw) and the main event. Diluted, disjointed, scattered good stuff, detours and some pieces nobody really needs. Even good scenes are often overstay their welcome. Narration for some reason. Slow pacing also doesn't help. Good acting from everyone including children though. Agnes is a little too good for a young girl. I can't really believe a 13 year old child can be at the same time very good in basketball, have some work in a newspaper, taking care of younger sisters AND solving differential equations while also at the same time living in an extremely stressful environment. A little overkill don't you think?
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
I carried on watching, cos it was based on a true story.
yeeshu-2301816 February 2021
To be honest I was getting bored throughout the first half of the movie... though if it is a true story then I say you should watch it as the second-half gets a little more interesting.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Authenticity: A+
rhiattharmon31 December 2011
I was there...really. The characters, the set dressings, costumes, dialogue, all felt authentic. One slight criticism, mom was less than real when she entered as as a junked out, jonesed out, Farah Faucett tressed, racoon-eyed wanna-be. She just didn't make the high-anxiety list for evil stage mothers. Other than that, there was something not covered in previous reviews--a great deal of love went into this production and it shows. Far more than the street scenes, the "degradation," a raucous voice in the wilderness presides above all. This is a very fine film. Like it said, I was there. Thanks for the ride.
4 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
worth seeing
FavACgM1 January 2014
hey there, I think the movie isn't that bad like it seems to be. An interesting plot and well acted characters redress the boring parts of the movie,cause i got tired some times, you can't put a story about a girl struggling with the people around her and to take care of her two sisters into 90 minutes. some scenes seem like they are out off the place they are just senseless. The film could have been more abuzz with sadness inasmuch it would be easier for the audience to joy in the movie. The end is a kind of unrealistic in my opinion, but it's alright though.

6/10 almost worth seeing, you are not going to waste your time :-)
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
The Poker House is not about poker
Seth_Rogue_One29 September 2015
Directed and written by actress Lori Petty based on her own life as a teenager with a drug-addicted prostitute as her mother.

A young Jennifer Lawrence of Hunger Games fame play Agnus (which is supposed to be Lori as a teen, why the name change I'm not sure but I guess it doesn't matter) and she does so really well.

Selma Blair plays her mother, although she's not really worthy the title of a mother in all honesty.

Anyways overall the acting is very good and it has a lot of really good scenes but the narrative is a little off at times to the point it gets a little confusing, for instance a long while in the movie I thought Chloe Grace Moretz character was Agnus when she was younger but that was not the case, and the job scene just felt like another movie with Jennifer Lawrence playing another character.

Anyway if you can look aside stuff like that this still is definitely worth watching.

I give it a 6.5/10.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
A deep drama with some emotional scenes! 4/10
leonblackwood11 April 2015
Review: This is quite a deep drama about a young girl (Lawrence), who looks after her young sister while her drug taking mum is getting pimped out by her boyfriend. The movie follows her struggle to keep it together while her mum is holding parties in her house with various men coming in and out of her house. She's also an inspiring basketball player who wants to make a better life for herself but her day to day life at home, with hardly anything to eat, really gets her down. The acting from a young Jennifer Lawrence, was great and she made her character seem very realistic. The storyline was quite deep and emotional and you can't help but feel for these young girls who really don't get any love from there mum. I didn't quite get the story about Chloe Grace Moretz but she also put in a great performance, at such a young age. Its a shame that you don't get to visually see how Agnes's life turned out, especially as it's based on a true story, but it's a watchable, small movie which got its point across well. Watchable! 

Round-Up: I think that the main problem with this film is that we have seen this type of story, many times before. The main draw to the movie, for me, is the fact that that Jennifer Lawrence is in it and I haven't really seen her play a role like this before. It does show that the girl can really act and that she can do other roles away from the famous Katniss in the Hunger Games. Although the movie was only made 7 years ago, Lawrence and Moretz look extremely young and it's amazing how far they have come since this movie. Selma Blair, whose been in the Hellboy franchise and Legally Blonde, played the drug taking mum quite well and she also had some emotional alongside Lawrence. Anyway, the movie is a decent watch but it's quite predictable, with no frills.

I recommend this movie to people who are into their emotional dramas about a young girl whose trying to find a way out because her mums on drugs and gets pimped out by her boyfriend. 4/10
1 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Petty
msudude2220 October 2019
Who is Lori Petty and who cares? Why make a film about yourself when no one knows who you are. Stupid.
0 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed