Metascore
48

Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 18
  2. Negative: 4 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Sep 30, 2013
    38
    Overall, the rambling Jayne Mansfield’s Car is almost as big a wreck as its namesake.
  2. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    Sep 17, 2013
    30
    Although Thornton and co-writer Tom Epperson are clearly trying to get to some essential truth about the ways in which machismo hinders love, their insights are scattered and pedestrian.
  3. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Sep 15, 2013
    70
    Jayne Mansfield’s Car isn’t likely to set America’s theaters on fire, but it’s a powerful whisper of a film.
  4. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Sep 13, 2013
    60
    This isn’t the sort of movie that defines anyone’s career, as “Sling Blade” once did. But in an industry averse to risk, passion projects — even uneven ones — are always welcome.
  5. Reviewed by: Godfrey Cheshire
    Sep 13, 2013
    50
    Feels more like a collection of interrelated short stories cobbled into an flavorful but ultimately unwieldy narrative.
  6. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Sep 12, 2013
    60
    With actors this good, however, there's rarely a pinched expression, heartfelt speech or laugh line that isn't at least partly sold, even if the stunted-male psychologizing at the expense of the under-written women grows tiresome.
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sep 12, 2013
    50
    Self-indulgent, heavy-handed and lumbering, Jayne Mansfield's Car is not a wreck, but it's certainly a vehicle for boredom.
  8. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Sep 12, 2013
    60
    Behind the clunky machinery is a lyrical meditation on life, death, heroism, regret and forgiveness written in a florid style that might be described as Tennessee Williams on testosterone.
  9. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Sep 11, 2013
    42
    Characters scream, throw glasses, screw, and strip nude for the self-gratifying viewing pleasure of others, but Jayne Mansfield’s Car never musters up even the faintest trace of Tennessee Williams-style hothouse drama.
  10. Reviewed by: Steve Davis
    Sep 11, 2013
    30
    The handful of redeeming moments in Jayne Mansfield’s Car belong to Duvall in the role of a septuagenarian who finds himself more and more at odds with a changing world.
  11. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Sep 10, 2013
    40
    There’s ambition here, but little in the way of insight or genuine feeling — just a heavy-handed thesis and some extraneous Southern eccentricity.
  12. 63
    It’s too long and wildly uneven. And the longer it goes on, the more uneven and oddball it seems.
  13. Reviewed by: Bill Weber
    Sep 10, 2013
    50
    Billy Bob Thornton's ensemble Southern family dramedy fails to subvert its cutesy formula often enough.
  14. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Aug 25, 2013
    70
    The story’s overall trajectory is familiar, and sometimes clichéd, but it still has the power to surprise and startle from moment to moment, which is what really counts.
  15. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Aug 2, 2013
    58
    This tame exercise never quite jives and sometimes just bombs with one-note melodrama, but always maintains Thornton's conviction about the material.
  16. Reviewed by: Andrew Pulver
    Aug 2, 2013
    80
    It's ambitious enough to aim at polished, intelligent character drama, and pulls it off successfully.
  17. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Aug 2, 2013
    40
    A fine cast can only do so much with the script’s pileup of generational conflict and long-winded introspection, resulting in a willfully out-of-step picture.
  18. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Aug 2, 2013
    30
    Thematically diffuse, tonally inconsistent and blighted by an inauthentic feel for its story’s time and place, it sits awkwardly between sober human drama and lighter dysfunctional-family turf, constantly striving for unearned emotions.

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