Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. A memory of the automobile in which a father drove away from his family provides the title for Blue Car but no hint of the power of writer-director Karen Moncrieff's superb feature debut.
  2. 90
    A quietly devastating song.
  3. 90
    Karen Moncrieff makes an extraordinary debut as a feature film writer and director with this observant drama about a budding teenage poet who, amid many traumas, finds the courage to become herself and set out as an artist.
  4. 88
    The ending of the film is as calculated and cruel as a verbal assault by a Neil LaBute character.
  5. There are no surprise twists, no characters who rise above themselves, no cheap happy endings. There are just people struggling with emotions and situations they think are beyond their control.
  6. Bruckner's restrained performance reveals a girl drowning in her own lack of self-esteem. When she finally comes up for air, she shatters the surface with a force that, in the hands of a less thoughtful director, could send her spinning down the melodramatic road to ruin.
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    80
    Moncrieff offers a rare, unromantic take on female adolescence as sharp as a razor: It cuts right to the bone.
  8. Even with its drawbacks, Blue Car remains an intimate, thoughtful drama, with a performance no one is likely to forget.
  9. Mr. Strathairn's complex, exquisitely nuanced portrayal of a man who goes over the line allows his character to be both hero and villain, sometimes at once.
  10. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    80
    This melancholy, insightfully scripted coming-of-age drama is moving without being manipulative and makes an assured calling card for writer-director Karen Moncrieff.
  11. For the most part, though, Ms. Moncrieff has given us a portrait of a young woman with a luminous soul.
  12. Reviewed by: Nicole Arthur
    80
    Bruckner's Meg is that rarity, a credible screen teenager.
  13. Certainly no feel-good flick of the summer. But it's always tough and honest.
  14. Moncrieff's insistence on her subject suggests conviction -- about her contribution and about her cast. Both beliefs are pretty much justified.
  15. There’s more narrative happenstance loaded into the script of Blue Car than its running time should effectively allow, but the real keeper moments in Moncrieff’s movie are the small, quiet ones in which a simple glance speaks volumes.
  16. 75
    Bruckner is an amazement, piercing the heart without begging for sympathy. This small gem of a movie is the perfect setting for her breakthrough performance.
  17. 75
    Captures the complex dynamic of a mentoring relationship like few movies before it.
  18. Ms. Moncrieff's low-key directing is matched by fine acting from Agnes Bruckner as Meg and David Strathairn as her mentor. Aside from a somewhat schematic climax, this is as smart a debut as we've seen in a long while.
  19. 75
    Settles into an unflinchingly honest coming-of-age portrait.
  20. This is a film without a single false note. From the rain-streaked windshield to the unaffected line readings from a stellar cast, there is not a shot in Blue Car that doesn't ring true.
  21. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    Blue Car is like an unpolished sapphire, at once harshly realistic and resplendent.
  22. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    It's that central dance between teacher and student that makes the movie both hard to watch and worth your attention - a subtle waltz of power in which it's difficult to tell who's leading until too late.
  23. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    75
    Moncrieff’s overriding theme here isn’t empowerment but survival. The movie crams a hell of a lot of dysfunction into its 88 minutes.
  24. 75
    Moncrieff's story remains fresh despite the familiarity of its general outline. This is mostly due to the skilled performances she elicits; even when the unfolding events have been seen many times before, watching human beings react realistically never gets old.
  25. 70
    The scenes of family squalor are memorably persuasive, but any filmmaker ending her movie with the heroine throwing a crumpled poem into the ocean needs a few more writing courses.
  26. 63
    A well-intentioned coming-of-age film anchored by two indelible performances but weakened by an overabundance of drama.
  27. Even without nudity, the sex scene between Meg and Auster is one of the most uncomfortable on film. Not just because of the actors' age difference (Strathairn is 54, Bruckner 17), but because of Meg's inexperience and misplaced trust.
  28. Feels like a bit of an emotional mugging.
  29. 60
    Blue Car gets so much of the hard stuff (including Meg's Plath-via-Tori poetry) that it assumes the easy stuff will take care of itself. It doesn't.
  30. Reviewed by: Anthony Miele
    50
    Stunning newcomer Agnes Bruckner and indie vet David Strathairn star in this oft compelling yet eventually disappointing character study of a young girl's rise out of the doldrums of adolescent life.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Heather
    Feb 27, 2007
    8
    I really enjoyed this film. It was brutally honest and kept you interested until the end. It's one of those movies that I still find myself thinking about several days later. Great acting! Full Review »