Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30

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Critic Reviews

  1. Gets weirder and meaner and darker and sadder as it progresses, which is amazing since it simultaneously remains funny and horrifying right up to the end.
  2. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Igby Goes Down got a reaction from me: I think it's the movie of the year. I squirmed, I laughed a lot.
  3. 90
    Culkin, a revelation here, mines every last nuance of the confusion and anger that results. Bursting with grenadelike one-liners and full-bodied performances, particularly from Sarandon (batty) and Goldblum (creepy) -- Igby Goes Down inaugurates a career that should be well worth following closely.
  4. Wickedly funny, jarringly transgressive, obdurately unpigeonholeable and startlingly moving.
  5. A dead-on sense of how rich kids live and talk today, a sense of the melancholy of a dysfunctional family, and some great dark laughs.
  6. Smart, uncanny, resistant to the short cuts of pop psychology, and shocking in the best since of the word, Steers' debut is a stunner.
  7. Smart and novelistic and spiked with more than a bit of The Catcher in the Rye, Steers' movie is a prickly coming-of-age tale in which everybody -- but especially Culkin -- shines.
  8. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: Chris Kaltenbach
    This is a marvelous film, a look at the strange, exasperatingly labyrinthine process of adolescence and the diverse ways people find to deal with it.
  9. The movie is an actors' paradise, and absolutely no one disappoints.
  10. 88
    An inspired example of the story in which the adolescent hero discovers that the world sucks, people are phonies, and sex is a consolation. Because the genre is well established, what makes the movie fresh is smart writing, skewed characters, and the title performance by Kieran Culkin.
  11. This film and Salinger's novel differ greatly in the details of narrative and character. Yet, there's no mistaking the similarity in tone and sensibility and, particularly, in the capacity to split an audience into warring camps fighting on shared ground.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Across the board, the performances testify, often hilariously, to the pain these characters feel and inflict but are incapable of expressing.
  13. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    You'll gasp appalled and laugh outraged and possibly, watching the spectacle of a promising young lad treading desperately in a nasty sea, shed an errant tear.
  14. Although Igby has its share of glitches and tonal inconsistencies, it packs an emotional wallop similar to that of another cultural golden oldie as beloved in its way as "The Catcher in the Rye": "The Graduate."
  15. 80
    Gives the impression of spontaneity while being meticulously planned. Most importantly, Steers and Culkin know that the best way to evoke sympathy is never to beg for it; by the end, their achievement seems hard-won.
  16. 80
    Young Kieran Culkin holds his own against a stellar ensemble in Igby Goes Down, a family comedy so dark it turns "The Royal Tennebaums" into latter-day Bradys.
  17. 75
    More sour than sweet, but Steers knows that, even in a cruel, unsentimental world, there is room for forgiveness and hope. Just don't expect a hug.
  18. 75
    Lightweight, although it exhibits enough heft for us to develop an emotional connection with the main character. I have always appreciated a smartly written motion picture, and, whatever flaws Igby Goes Down may possess, it is undeniably that.
  19. Culkin is superb - he makes you forget that Igby is a spoiled brat who actually deserves the beating he gets.
  20. Think of the Slocumbs as distant relatives of "The Royal Tenenbaums," only more dysfunctional and far from attractively "quirky."
  21. 70
    Misses a chance to use the Manhattan setting to add to his protagonist's displacement, instead treating the city as a bland backdrop.
  22. New Times (L.A.)
    Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    Steers' film will likely polarize the audience, which, if nothing else, gives it rare resonance; at least it makes you feel, where many similar indie efforts make you sleepy.
  23. 70
    Witty and intelligently made. It's also utterly baffling.
  24. 60
    The film lacks the turbulent social context of the 1950s and '60s that lent resonance to the personal uncertainties of Ibgy's forebears -- Holden Caufield, Ben Braddock, et al. But Culkin has a way with quip-heavy dialogue that transforms what might otherwise been irritatingly, solipsistic posing into a great performance.
  25. Hammers home its tragicomic points too heavily for either its humorous or dramatic aspects to gather much emotional steam.
  26. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Igby has his own prickly charisma and bleak humor; he's a character you'd like very much to embrace. But he's surrounded by insufferable fools in the airless Manhattan universe of a film that's as offputtingly precocious as its preppy hero.
  27. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    Culkin broods and freaks out ably, but Igby's snotty, dysfunction-derived malaise remains off-putting, mostly because his lines aren't half as clever or empathic as Steers would believe.
  28. Writer-director Steers has chosen to overload "Igby" with phony archness and forced black humor, making it not the place to look for satisfying acting.
  29. Its motif is self-pity, Steers displays no particular way with a scene, and, as Igby, Culkin exudes none of the charm or charisma that might keep a more general audience even vaguely interested in his bratty character.
  30. Mean-spirited and not remotely clever, though it strives for archness at every turn.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 47
  2. Negative: 7 out of 47
  1. DaveM.
    Aug 28, 2007
    Extraordinary cast and performances by all. Cinematography is great of the East Coast cities portrayed. A must see.
  2. May 4, 2016
    Igby is going down.... the drain along with the several other people who has gave negative ratings on this film. Igby Goes Down definitelyIgby is going down.... the drain along with the several other people who has gave negative ratings on this film. Igby Goes Down definitely works out a lot for a charm-buster. Full Review »
  3. Feb 19, 2015
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. "Igby Goes Down" is my personal favourite coming-of-age film. I also consider it one of the most underrated films of the 2000s. The story of a rebellious and privileged misfit from an upper-class family that is as dysfunctional as it is wealthy, it plays somewhat like a reinterpretation of "The Catcher in the Rye". That is a comparison that has been made by several others, but it's an apt comparison nonetheless; director/writer Burr Steers understands Igby as well as J.D. Salinger understood Holden Caulfield. And as well as Salinger realised Holden on the page, the ideally-cast Kieran Culkin realises Igby just as well on-screen. Igby is a kid who's grown up the straight man in a perniciously dysfunctional family that expects him to be perfect when they are anything but. He resents this, quite understandably, and this resentment manifests in a rebellious streak Culkin communicates with impeccably-timed and lacerating sarcasm. And the resentment has fostered a palpable sense of loneliness, which is painfully evident at several points throughout the film and also conveyed beautifully by Culkin. Igby's monologue when a one-shot lover rejects him in favour of his brother is the best showcase for this. This is not a one-note portrayal. Culkin has a lot of material to handle, requiring a range of emotions, and he pulls it off seamlessly. That he towers above a cast of acting heavyweights such as Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Pullman is testament to what an astonishing achievement his performance in this film is. The closing scenes, particularly a moment involving Igby and his father, is among the most moving finishes to a film I've ever beheld. Full Review »