Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Sep 20, 2012
    90
    The devastating effects of head injuries in sports are detailed in Steve James' wrenching documentary.
  2. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Sep 22, 2012
    83
    It's a deeply humane and moving look at a complex issue that at the very least demands that a conversation begins not about short term fixes, but long term solutions.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Sep 19, 2012
    83
    Head Games is particularly devastating when it shifts from the NFL and NHL, where brutality and headshots are a given, to girls' soccer and under-14 football leagues, where still-developing young necks and skulls make kids perhaps more vulnerable to head trauma than their professional counterparts.
  4. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Sep 20, 2012
    80
    Head Games gains credibility and power from compassion for athletes and respect for their accomplishments. But it also tries to open the eyes of sports lovers to dangers that have too often been minimized and too seldom fully understood.
  5. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Sep 20, 2012
    80
    It's a complex, determined look at one of the most pernicious problems facing organized sports on all levels.
  6. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Sep 26, 2012
    75
    Some of the film's more thought-provoking scenes involves games played at Chicago's Near North Elementary. The players are obviously emulating pro games they've seen on TV. It's not a "game" for them. They go for hard hits.
  7. Reviewed by: Adam Litovitz
    Sep 20, 2012
    75
    Finally, there's a sports movie for people who are caught between admiration and fear of athleticism. Neither a triumphant underdog like "Rudy" nor a total weepie like "The Pride of the Yankees," Head Games also deals with the illnesses and premature deaths of talented players.
  8. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Sep 21, 2012
    70
    Parents could be making their kids wear helmets to the library by the conclusion of helmer Steve James' science-and-sports docu Head Games, which scores solid hits on everyone from the NFL down to peewee hockey as it links contact sports, concussions and those calling for widespread reformation of the nation's athletic philosophies and priorities.
  9. Reviewed by: Matt Singer
    Sep 18, 2012
    60
    The results are, cinematically speaking, a little diffuse, but any parent who's contemplating whether they should sign their kids up for Pop Warner this fall may want to watch this first.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Nordine
    Sep 19, 2012
    50
    While Head Games does feature a number of articulate and consistently intelligent talking-head interviews, it's ultimately not a satisfying advocacy documentary.
  11. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Sep 17, 2012
    50
    While Steve James's documentary is persuasive on an informational level, it doesn't do enough to explore the human side of its subject matter.
  12. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Sep 20, 2012
    40
    Director Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") has a worthy message, but never makes the case that he needs an entire documentary to deliver it.

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