Bombay Beach Image
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Summary: Bombay Beach is one of the poorest communities in southern California located on the shores of the Salton Sea, a man-made sea stranded in the middle of the Colorado desert that was once a beautiful vacation destination for the privileged and is now a pool of dead fish. Film director Alma Har'el tells the story of three protagonists. The trials of Benny Parrish, a young boy diagnosed with bipolar disorder whose troubled soul and vivid imagination create both suffering and joy for him and his complex and loving family. The story of CeeJay Thompson, a black teenager and aspiring football player who has taken refuge in Bombay Beach hoping to avoid the same fate of his cousin who was murdered by a gang of youths in Los Angeles; and that of Red, an ancient survivor, once an oil field worker, living on the fumes of whiskey, cigarettes and an irrepressible love of life. Together these portraits form a triptych of manhood in its various ages and guises, in a gently hypnotic style that questions whether they are a product of their world or if their world is a construct of their own imaginations. Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Feb 13, 2012
    60
    More lyrical tone poem than straightforward documentary.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Feb 13, 2012
    58
    This aestheticizing of troubled lives proves problematic over the long haul.
  7. 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.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of
  2. Mixed: 0 out of
  3. Negative: 0 out of