Metascore
54

Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Nov 21, 2013
    60
    It’s not a bad movie, by any means. Just repetitive in its relentless praise.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 14, 2013
    83
    Schroeder tracks the end of innocence in much the same way that the strip captured it each time out. Unlike "Salinger," he hardly makes a spectacle out of Watterson's secluded tendencies. The pileup of interview subjects speak eloquently on his behalf.
  3. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Nov 14, 2013
    70
    The film, named for "Calvin" creator Bill Watterson, offers not only an in-depth look at the comic strip's unique influence but also a concise snapshot of the dwindling state of newspapers and their "funny pages."
  4. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Nov 14, 2013
    40
    The deeply private, intensely ideological and undeniably brilliant Watterson would make an absolutely fascinating subject. But director Joel Allen Schroeder has no access to him. So instead he talks a lot about how much he loves “Calvin and Hobbes” and then invites other fans to do the same.
  5. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Nov 18, 2013
    50
    Look, Dear Mr. Watterson is a nice movie. Calvin & Hobbes fans may get a kick out of it. But it falls squarely into the promotional genre of documentary filmmaking — the same way so many music docs nowadays seem to be just movies about how awesome the director’s favorite band is.
  6. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Nov 15, 2013
    50
    Like the rest of Dear Mr. Watterson, it’s a good-hearted gesture. But unlike Calvin’s alter ego Spaceman Spiff, this film never manages to achieve liftoff.
  7. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Nov 15, 2013
    60
    The documentary is at its best when it eases up on the adoration a little and turns to a serious discussion of the state of comics these days, what with newspapers on the decline and digital media scattering an art form that was once centralized on pages delivered to everyone's door.
  8. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Nov 21, 2013
    58
    So, be warned: You may not learn anything from this mild, unremarkable film, but you might be tempted to order the deluxe, four-volume “The Complete Calvin and Hobbes” after watching it. I was, and I don’t regret it a bit.
  9. Reviewed by: Odie Henderson
    Nov 15, 2013
    63
    As they discuss "how much this strip meant to me," I got the sense that Dear Mr. Watterson was as uninterested in them as I was; they're not even identified.
  10. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 14, 2013
    50
    Schroeder isn’t much of a comic-strip expert or historian, by his own admission, so Dear Mr. Watterson bounces off many of the most interesting issues in and around “Calvin and Hobbes,” noticing them but not exploring them deeply.
  11. Reviewed by: Wes Greene
    Nov 11, 2013
    63
    Though it begins by spending far too much time talking up the comic's quality, it gradually finds a groove as an incisive portrait of an insecure industry.
  12. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Nov 13, 2013
    67
    Just as it’s impossible to capture in a 600-word review what made Calvin And Hobbes so special, no 100-minute film on the subject can really hope to convey its magic either. But Dear Mr. Watterson does its best, relying on choice excerpts of the work and enthusiastic talking-head interviews.
  13. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Nov 13, 2013
    50
    Too much of Dear Mr. Watterson is taken up by Schroeder and an array of non-professional C&H-lovers offering vague praise, with little to no real analysis—aesthetic, historical, or cultural.
  14. Reviewed by: Dave McGinn
    Nov 14, 2013
    63
    Schroeder’s film makes a convincing case that the fact that the characters have never been licensed has a lot to do with why it is still so precious to so many people.
  15. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Nov 14, 2013
    60
    For all its fandom and self-indulgence, Dear Mr. Watterson does offer some insightful musings about the decline of comic strips in general, with their content ever shrinking due to the diminished state of the newspaper industry.
  16. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Nov 14, 2013
    50
    But viewers looking to learn more about Mr. Watterson and his creation than what’s contained in his Wikipedia entry may come away as hopped-up with impatience as Calvin when confronted by parental indifference.
  17. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Nov 14, 2013
    75
    The 90-minute documentary doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is: a love letter to a great comic, providing a digestible version of its history with an eye to its legacy.
  18. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Nov 12, 2013
    60
    Still, if any modern strip is worthy of an extended, Hobbes-style tongue bath, it’s this one.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Dec 5, 2013
    40
    It is, in short, everything you’d expect from a crowd-sourced documentary, designed to celebrate its subject, while mostly just validating the aesthetic taste of its backers.
  20. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Nov 12, 2013
    50
    [A] heartfelt but largely inarticulate documentary.

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