Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 25, 2013
    100
    Dense like a detailed graphic novel in the Chris Ware or R. Crumb vein, but a real movie in every way, Consuming Spirits is a strange and wormy accomplishment, the sort of personal epic only the most obsessive of cinematic madmen undertake, let alone complete.
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 12, 2012
    100
    It is a work of obsessive artisanal discipline and unfettered artistic vision. You have never seen anything like it.
  3. Dec 10, 2012
    100
    Not only a monstrous visual achievement, but one of the most uniquely humanistic animated features of all time.
  4. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Apr 11, 2013
    90
    With its startling mix of 16-millimeter-shot, handmade animation styles using stop-motion, sketches, collages and models, along with uncensored characters often resembling cadaverous marionettes, this twisted look at life in a faded Appalachian town is one decidedly idiosyncratic ride.
  5. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Dec 13, 2012
    90
    In a story built on ugly secrets and lifetimes of terrible events, small moments of beauty and redemption sneak through - proving that sometimes utilizing those bitter remnants of charred memories can prove more fruitful than Earl Gray thought.
  6. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Dec 12, 2012
    80
    Though certainly not for everyone (and not for kids of any age), the regret-tinged film displays a distinctive voice and will be embraced by devotees of offbeat animation.
  7. Reviewed by: Omer M. Mozaffar
    Jan 24, 2013
    75
    A slice-of-life film like you have not seen. It is the story of people in a small ordinary town, knowing nothing but their ordinary affairs, revealing their sins and crimes with an ordinary negligence.
  8. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Dec 13, 2012
    75
    Not everyone will be in tune with the movie's sick sense of humor, although it's sometimes hilarious.
  9. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Dec 12, 2012
    75
    The connections and the meaning aren't immediately apparent, and viewers are given plenty of time to find their own patterns and invent their own associations. Then, in its final half-hour, it pulls all the threads together, and a breathtaking bigger picture finally comes into focus.
  10. Reviewed by: Boyd van Hoeij
    Dec 12, 2012
    70
    This labor of love from do-it-all animator Chris Sullivan has the same rough-edged, cantankerous charms as the characters that populate it. Narrative alone is too uneven to captivate fully for the picture's two-hour-plus duration, though there's so much to see that "Spirits" should nonetheless prove a draw for adult audiences.
  11. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Dec 11, 2012
    60
    A genuine labor of love and fictional self-loathing, Sullivan's animation style is undeniably compelling, whether he's channeling Grant Wood's paintings or Robert Crumb's monochromatic sketches. But the interweaving stories of commercialized religion, rancid Americana and alcoholic wretches start wearing thin around the movie's midpoint; by the end, the whole morose endeavor risks becoming downright threadbare.
  12. Reviewed by: Marsha McCreadie
    Dec 11, 2012
    50
    Consuming Spirits is overlong. A dystopian T.S. Eliot once said, "Humankind cannot bear too much reality," maybe even in a cartoon.

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