User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 94 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 94
  2. Negative: 9 out of 94
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  1. Aug 14, 2014
    5
    This one has many things going for it, but ultimately, does not live up to those parts. Firstly, the acting across the board is great. Nicolas Cage proves he still has it in 2014, Tye Sheridan is great, and Greg Poulter (RIP) is great in his only role ever. The look and feel of this one is very realistic thanks to the alright direction from David Gordon Green and the great cinematography.This one has many things going for it, but ultimately, does not live up to those parts. Firstly, the acting across the board is great. Nicolas Cage proves he still has it in 2014, Tye Sheridan is great, and Greg Poulter (RIP) is great in his only role ever. The look and feel of this one is very realistic thanks to the alright direction from David Gordon Green and the great cinematography. However, the ultimate undoing of this one is that while it is always interesting, there is just not enough happening. I cannot really point to ways in which these characters changed throughout the film, rather they seem to be about the same. In addition, the plot does not really do much and does have much depth to it. Thus, this film is essentially about a man who takes a kid under his wing, which is a film we have seen many times, such as Mud, which sounds very similar on paper and takes the elements it has and does brilliant things with them. Here, however, Joe squanders all of its good parts and winds up just being "ok". I cannot be mad at it, because it is enjoyable, but there is just not much to write home about here. Expand
  2. Apr 21, 2014
    5
    Nicholas Cage plays a troubled man (no news there) who befriends a 15-year-old boy (Tye Sheridan) with an abusive father. Before it's all over, the inevitable unfolds. Cage enjoys the opportunity to be gruff, yet tender and Sheridan is both sweet and sad. The supporting cast is made up of obviously non-pro actors who add to the low-class vibe. The darkness that should creep around the edgeNicholas Cage plays a troubled man (no news there) who befriends a 15-year-old boy (Tye Sheridan) with an abusive father. Before it's all over, the inevitable unfolds. Cage enjoys the opportunity to be gruff, yet tender and Sheridan is both sweet and sad. The supporting cast is made up of obviously non-pro actors who add to the low-class vibe. The darkness that should creep around the edge of this film tends to overpower it too early and too obviously. Director David Gordon Green ("Pineapple Express") can be greatly blamed for the oppressive and mean spirit of this predictable endeavor. Expand
  3. Apr 15, 2014
    6
    A great book. A mediocre film. The story is rushed and erratic and few of the characters are fully formed. And despite taking an "indie" role, Nick Cage has still lost the ability to act.
  4. Apr 20, 2014
    5
    This movie reminded me of "The Winter Bone" but significantly lower quality.

    The movie is uneven: some scenes are better, others are worse. Some really take your attentions, others look not authentic or outright cheesy. Even though the movie is after a book (with the same name), the screenplay seems half cooked. Nicolas Cage is still a very good actor but it is not enough to turn
    This movie reminded me of "The Winter Bone" but significantly lower quality.

    The movie is uneven: some scenes are better, others are worse. Some really take your attentions, others look not authentic or outright cheesy.

    Even though the movie is after a book (with the same name), the screenplay seems half cooked.

    Nicolas Cage is still a very good actor but it is not enough to turn a mediocre movie into a good one.
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  5. Feb 25, 2015
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really can't recommend this movie to anyone. While the three lead actors in this movie give great performances, the movie ultimately leaves you feeling empty and unhappy even with the optimistic ending it has. It's a really downer of a movie.

    Also, if you've seen "Sling Blade" or "Taxi Driver" then you've seen this same sort of story working much better in a movie. I'd give those two a try before this movie.
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  6. Feb 20, 2015
    5
    Definitely an interesting movie. It had many upsides including fantastic filming and acting. And the visuals are nice, to say the least. The plot is deep, as well as it's characters, and I don't object to it's authenticity. There are many who would find this movie spectacular. It immerses it's audience in a very grounded environment, and has a sort of bleak appeal to it. But in theDefinitely an interesting movie. It had many upsides including fantastic filming and acting. And the visuals are nice, to say the least. The plot is deep, as well as it's characters, and I don't object to it's authenticity. There are many who would find this movie spectacular. It immerses it's audience in a very grounded environment, and has a sort of bleak appeal to it. But in the end, it's not really my kind of movie. Expand
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    Jul 21, 2014
    80
    An understated Nicolas Cage — there’s a phrase you don’t get to write too often these days — anchors a superbly realised film, which, like its eponymous hero, has a brittle outer shell concealing a surprisingly warm heart.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    May 16, 2014
    80
    The result is intense and powerful, a full-color portrait of the importance of never surrendering.
  3. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    May 2, 2014
    88
    None of this would work with anywhere near the power it does without Nicolas Cage, whom Green has smartly cast in this sometimes maddeningly erratic and ill-disciplined actor’s most perfectly suited role since "Leaving Las Vegas" and "Adaptation."