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75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Billy the Kid is a sensitive and humorous vérité portrait of Billy, a 15-year-old outsider growing up in small-town Maine. Billy appears, in many ways, like other teenage boys. He's into heavy metal and martial arts, is desperate to find a girlfriend, and aspires to a career as an actor and rock star. Yet in other ways Billy is unique. A troubled past and ongoing behavioral issues have left him marked. But he is unapologetic about his personality and refuses to be victimized, creating his own techniques to help him survive in an environment of pain, conformity, and prejudice. Billy is funny, sharp, strangely wise for his age, and remarkably candid. We witness life from his perspective--from intimate conversations with his mother, to being bullied at school, to his fantasies of becoming a superhero. We also experience the exhilarating pangs of first love as Billy pursues Heather, a shy 16-year-old waitress. Will Billy get the girl? Will his community accept him on his own terms? Billy the Kid challenges viewers to imagine themselves beyond labels. (Elephant Eye Films) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    In the end, Bill emerges as someone truly unique and someone who we feel privileged to know.
  2. 83
    If the film has a significant flaw, it's that Venditti never explains in the film how she found Billy, or why she's interested in him. Billy The Kid often plays more like an extended home movie than something intentional and artful.
  3. 80
    But what you ultimately take from the film is the awareness that this smart, self-aware, uncensored kid has been playing to a camera in his own head since well before Venditti came along.
  4. a movie about adolescence unlike any other; An intimate portrait of a singular personality in the making and a stark look at our culture of suspicion and conformity.
  5. A heartbreaking vérité documentary by Jennifer Venditti about a misfit Maine teenager--a film that makes you think about (and question) what fitting in really entails.
  6. Reviewed by: Julia Wallace
    70
    I have seen more than 25 documentaries this year, and after a while they all start to run together, both structurally and thematically. Billy the Kid is utterly original in both respects.
  7. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    50
    One of the more irresponsible eruptions in the current rash of populist nonfiction cinema.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

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