Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Feb 13, 2012
    60
    But it's to little Benny that the film's heart belongs -- an adorable kid who seems to live only half in this world and the rest of the time in his own imagination, Benny's on a regimen of Ritalin and Lithium and other meds that sometimes leave him even dreamier than is his norm.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Feb 13, 2012
    50
    Rather than bringing out the symbolic inner lives of the characters, these sequences seem like the intrusion of an aggressive authorial personality on a film whose subject-as well as the fact of Har'el's outsider status-demands that the filmmaker simply sit back and observe.
  3. Reviewed by: Philip Wilding
    Feb 13, 2012
    80
    The fact that Alma Har'el is still stuck in music video director mode makes for an interesting new breed of documentary.
  4. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Feb 13, 2012
    100
    The beautiful desolation of Bombay Beach makes it difficult to describe as a documentary. Alma Har'el's directorial debut takes a nonfiction setting and displays its haunting qualities in poetic terms.
  5. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Feb 13, 2012
    58
    This aestheticizing of troubled lives proves problematic over the long haul.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Feb 13, 2012
    90
    You either like this kind of ambitious, brave, borderless experiment or you don't, and I think it's absolutely magical and tragic.
  7. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Feb 13, 2012
    90
    Looks and feels like a fever dream about an alternate universe. Suffused with a sense of wonder, it hovers, dancing inside its own ethereal bubble.
  8. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Feb 13, 2012
    80
    That it documents rural poverty in the American West without exploiting or sanctifying its subjects would be cause enough for praise. But this doesn't begin to approach what Alma Har'el pulls off with her hybrid documentary knockout Bombay Beach.
  9. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Feb 13, 2012
    60
    More lyrical tone poem than straightforward documentary.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Feb 13, 2012
    50
    In an inspired twist, Har'el brings surreal levity to the potentially downer subject by interrupting her elegiac regional portraiture with a series of amateur dance numbers. Still, without dramatic momentum, this fringe-appeal snapshot feels less like a film than a coffee-table photo project come to life.

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