Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. 75
    Effective without being overwhelming.
  2. 88
    Mandoki has given us a powerful motion picture. Even those who disagree with the film's politics will be haunted by its message.
  3. The many riveting moments will stay with you for days, and Padilla is well up to the task of carrying this intense story on his tiny shoulders.
  4. The actors, all of whom seem too posed and pretty, are not particularly accomplished, and director Luis Mandoki lacks the visual imagination to bring the story to a boil.
  5. As an outcry against the forcible conscription of children into armies around the world, Innocent Voices, is an honorable film. But as a balanced portrait of a tragic civil war, it is simplistic and opaque.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    Not for the faint-hearted.
  7. 63
    Not a happy time at the movies. It bears the distinction of bringing to the screen a dark nugget of history.
  8. It's a harrowing tale, but one that gets phonied up with unnecessary slo-mos, manipulative soundtrack cues, and unrestrained thespianism.
  9. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    75
    Location shooting gives this intermittently powerful film a semidocumentary feel.
  10. What's so powerful about Mandoki's film, which he co-scripted with Torres, is the complex, ever-surprising course that Chava takes toward manhood.
  11. 25
    War is hell, and so are bad movies about war.
  12. 70
    It's only human to feel gripped, enraged, and even moved by the events depicted in Innocent Voices, a true account of one boy's experience in the crossfire of El Salvador's long, bloody civil war.
  13. Mandoki, who with this film returns to the Spanish-speaking cinema after a string of Hollywood films, has brought a sure sense of the visual and taut construction to Innocent Voices, based on a true story. It is filled with wrenching images.
  14. 75
    Mandoki never passes up a chance to increase the schmaltz level, but that doesn't lessen the impact of this harrowing account of a hellish childhood.
  15. Quite affecting, even if it doesn't rank with classics like "Open City" or "Forbidden Games."
  16. A riveting tale of survival and how even war cannot diminish a child's indomitable spirit.
  17. For such a harrowing portrait, Mandoki remains oddly distant but for a few scenes. He makes his points boldly when he should be making his points sting.
  18. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    60
    While the respectable result is a more meaningful film than just about anything Mandoki worked on during his 17 years in Hollywood ("Angel Eyes," "Message in a Bottle"), pic suffers from an overindulgence of triumph-over-adversity cliches and a meandering narrative.
  19. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    Mandoki's gripping film may pull on the heartstrings too knowingly, but it's hard to forget the sight of the village’s children lying silent and still on every rooftop, praying the recruiting soldiers below will pass them by.
  20. 40
    For more than an hour, schmaltzmeister Luis Mandoki (Message in a Bottle) directs as if on assignment for Miramax.
  21. 80
    Chilean-born actress Leonor Varela (TV's Cleopatra, a few seasons back) plays Chavo's mother, who, in her rage to see her children survive, powerfully embodies the film's moral center.
  22. Alternately heartrending and buoyant, tragic and sweetly humorous, the film leaves an indelible impression on the heart and mind. It's among the best of the year.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Nov 8, 2010
    7
    I am surprised that having witnessed a true story about a boy losing his innocence during the civil war in El Salvador with grueling picturesI am surprised that having witnessed a true story about a boy losing his innocence during the civil war in El Salvador with grueling pictures of the atrocities of war and the things a 11 year old goes through, I did not quite feel overwhelmed. Full Review »
  2. KevinyPaz
    Jan 31, 2009
    10
    This was a great Movie, The Child actors were some of the best I have ever seen. Carlos Padilla did a great job in the lead roll, as did the This was a great Movie, The Child actors were some of the best I have ever seen. Carlos Padilla did a great job in the lead roll, as did the rest of the cast. Full Review »
  3. TaraS.
    Jan 5, 2009
    10
    This movie is so powerful. We watched it in spanish class and it pretty much made my year.