Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 20
  2. Negative: 6 out of 20

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Critic Reviews

  1. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Mar 12, 2012
    It is the greatest biblio-climax of any film since "Fahrenheit 451," although Truffaut's prayer was that reading might yet survive calamity and carry the torch of the civilized. Detachment snufffs out that faith; books it warns us, are the first thing to go. [19 March 2012, p.91]
  2. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Mar 19, 2012
    Nobody's idea of "Mr. Holland's Opus," but it winds up in a similar place, more or less.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Mar 15, 2012
    Adrien Brody deserves superlatives for his acting in the alternately mesmerizing and maddening Detachment.
  4. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Mar 14, 2012
    When it stays in the classroom, Detachment is a scrappy testament - to the futility of even trying to reach students who are cut off from the possibilities of knowledge, and to the way that our teachers are slowly being driven nuts.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Mar 22, 2012
    A movie you keep expecting to fizzle because of its punching-the-air gracelessness, but there's something weirdly effective about the artistic desperation, which includes inserts of chalkboard animation and to-the-camera testimonials.
  6. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Mar 12, 2012
    Adrien Brody, delivering his finest performance since "The Pianist," plays the central role of the disaffected Henry Barthes.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Mar 12, 2012
    People will either love Detachment or hate it, and either way it provides powerful testimony to the unrivaled passion and undiminished craft of director Kaye, whose notoriety in the film industry is matched by his near-total invisibility to the general public.
  8. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Mar 14, 2012
    For all its untrammeled excesses - and Kaye has proved that he'd sooner torpedo his own career than accept a little constructive trammeling - Detachment is almost forcibly moving, body-slamming its audience into submission.
  9. 63
    Ultimately, Detachment invites us to feel precisely what it warns against – detached.
  10. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    May 17, 2012
    The shriller its didacticism, the more unhinged it becomes. But even at its most ludicrous - when it is shouting into your ear - its sheer audacity grabs your attention.
  11. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Mar 15, 2012
    Comes across like the creation of a precocious student. I don't mean that to be a damning critique, though Detachment is a mesmerizing misfire -- it's just that it has the uncomplicated earnestness and hyperbolic melodrama of teenage poetry.
  12. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Mar 15, 2012
    It's nice to see righteous anger in a movie. If only the education drama Detachment knew what to do with it.
  13. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Mar 13, 2012
    The movie is one big scream, clichéd and hardly credible as an oblique call to civility.
  14. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Mar 12, 2012
    Scripter Lund, himself an ex-teacher, delivers a story that lacks nuance, and mixes badly with Kaye's impatient edits, Dutch angles and extreme close-ups.
  15. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Mar 16, 2012
    [Director Kaye's] dedication to the material is admirable, but his tactic of following one dismal development with an even more depressing one comes to seem monotonous and pointless.
  16. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Mar 22, 2012
    I didn't believe a word of the film and found myself feeling nothing but (I'm sure this wasn't Kaye's point) detachment.
  17. Reviewed by: Mark Holcomb
    Mar 13, 2012
    Movies about teachers are flypaper for overblown armchair crusaderism, and this overbearingly cynical attempt gets my vote for worst offender yet.
  18. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 10, 2012
    The movie has an undeniable visceral power. It is also a loud, grating wallow in dime-store despair, a cheap and hollow button-puncher.
  19. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Mar 13, 2012
    Detachment drives a coffin nail through a noble profession with such ruthless virulence that it makes no point at all.
  20. Reviewed by: Bill Weber
    Mar 11, 2012
    Endng in risible bathos, Tony Kaye's urban high school melodrama is all about the cute teacher's crises and the girls who love him.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 59 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Mar 17, 2012
    Adrien Brody's performance is very good, and the movie ends up being an inspiring drama.
  2. Jan 12, 2013
    Adrien Brody was fantastic as the frazzled teacher trying to live despite the world seemingly going mad around him. Sami Gayle was alsoAdrien Brody was fantastic as the frazzled teacher trying to live despite the world seemingly going mad around him. Sami Gayle was also impressive as Erica.
    Despite the rather depressing subject matter, the quality acting made it so believable and Henry so endearing that I have fallen in love with this film.
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 21, 2012
    Superb movie with great messages for the US education system (and the worldwide one, too) !! A must for parents, students and professionalSuperb movie with great messages for the US education system (and the worldwide one, too) !! A must for parents, students and professional teachers. Also, proof that small budget films are usually much much better than their blockbusters cousins. Full Review »