Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. Mean-spirited and not remotely clever, though it strives for archness at every turn.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    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.
  3. 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.
  4. The movie is an actors' paradise, and absolutely no one disappoints.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Culkin is superb - he makes you forget that Igby is a spoiled brat who actually deserves the beating he gets.
  9. 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.
  10. Smart, uncanny, resistant to the short cuts of pop psychology, and shocking in the best since of the word, Steers' debut is a stunner.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Wickedly funny, jarringly transgressive, obdurately unpigeonholeable and startlingly moving.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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."
  19. 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.
  20. 70
    Witty and intelligently made. It's also utterly baffling.
  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. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Think of the Slocumbs as distant relatives of "The Royal Tenenbaums," only more dysfunctional and far from attractively "quirky."
  26. 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.
  27. Hammers home its tragicomic points too heavily for either its humorous or dramatic aspects to gather much emotional steam.
  28. 83
    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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 45
  2. Negative: 7 out of 45
  1. Feb 23, 2013
    I really love these weird independent comedies, that you have to be somewhat intelligent to understand. They are so much different from all the repetitive crap that we are subjected to over and over again. This is the story of a kid from a privileged family who just doesn't fit in. He sees the hypocrisy of it all and decides to run away to NYC, where he meets some unique characters that you'd only find in New York. The middle Culkin brother, Kieran, stars and was incredible. Simply put, sometimes the story is good, but the movie is made by its star, and Culkin gives one of the best performances I've seen in a film like this. Igby Goes Down has a ton of stars, it's a clever story, and you really connect to the characters. I really enjoyed this film, but be warned, it's not for everybody. I honestly believe when it comes to this type of film, you need a personality that relates to some aspect of the film. Without that connection, you might not get as much out of this film as others did. Full Review »
  2. Aug 28, 2012
    If you enjoy movies like "Running with Scissors" or "Breakfast on Pluto", I think you will like this. It has a really similar structure, you follow a young boy with a dysfunctional life through a period of this life. And like those previous movies mentioned this really is more of a dramady then a striahgt comedy or drama, but alot lighter than the other movies. As for the acting, normally actors overplay sarcastic type characters but Kieran Culkin was great, he's sarcastic but not annoying. This was definitely his movie. And Ryan Phillippe was the perfect choice for the douchebag/elitist brother, he just naturally comes off as one because of this voice and speech pattern. As for the rest of the cast, they were all very good. The writing and direction was fine, although I didn't really like the ending and there they went with Amanda Peets' character. A fine movie worth watching, 7.5/10 Full Review »