Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 23
  2. Negative: 4 out of 23
Watch On
  1. 90
    Not a film for everyone. And though I deeply admire it, it's not a film that even I want to see again in the immediate future.
  2. Feels like it could go blow up at any time. It implodes instead, and the meltdown, though visible in one of the final sequences, is still corrosive.
  3. Korine remains unnecessarily smitten with sordidness, and there's plenty of it here.
  4. 80
    The movie is truly an open text--its generous poetry inspires free association rather than predictable emotion.
  5. A film of piercing beauty and pain.
  6. 75
    It seems at first to be merely a jumble of discordant images ("Freaks" shot by the "Blair Witch" crew) but then, if you stay with it, the pattern emerges from the jumble.
  7. Korine confirms his reputation as one of today's most experimentally minded filmmakers, helped by an inventive cast including German director Herzog in a surprisingly strong performance as the father.
  8. 70
    Looks like no other recent release...certainly rich enough to warrant more than one viewing.
  9. I'd never seen anything like it, and can say that I hope to never see anything like it again.
  10. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    At its best, it will impale you on its raw urgency. At other times, it's a slog through long improvisations that never achieve dramatic liftoff.
  11. The stranger and more unusual the characters, and the less they're explained, the better.
  12. Undeniably interesting, but not entirely successful.
  13. Often unsettlingly funny, though it ultimately recedes into a dark womb of despair.
  14. 55
    Writer-director Harmony Korine seems more interested in churning your stomach than in warming your heart.
  15. 50
    In his quest to capture truth and honesty, (Korine) has made a movie that is practically impossible to like.
  16. Reviewed by: Ana Marie Cox
    The filmmaker brings the audience to a precipice of discomfort, implying that the discomfort is itself the point.
  17. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Rung with numb inarticulateness.
  18. Julien may be a donkey-boy but it's Harmony Korine, this film's director, who is a horse's ass.
  19. Reviewed by: Janet Maslin
    The territory where the circus sideshow meets the avant-garde...visually arresting, dramatically blurry.
  20. 30
    A handheld and grainy exercise in cine-stupefaction...too spastic to connect...the movie just flails the air.
  21. Sucker bait for the sort of credulous cinast who'll buy anything ugly and boring that looks like it's avant-garde...rancid stew of cheap shocks, sleaze and phony artiness.
  22. 20
    Juvenile and pointless.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. CraigB
    Oct 24, 2005
    Okay, this is not a film for everyone. However, it stikes me that most of the negative comments that I have read here seem to be more a Okay, this is not a film for everyone. However, it stikes me that most of the negative comments that I have read here seem to be more a reaction to the characters and their lifesyle than to the elements of filmmaking. These are not necessarily people you want to hang out with in real life, but likable characters are not necessarily interesting characters to watch. I suppose one could fairly criticize the film as lacking in plot but that is precisely one aspect of the film that I find appealing. By not following the conventions of Hollywood storytelling, the film creates an atmosphere in which one feels that anything could happen. I found the camera work to be engaging and creative. The characters were completely original and all fairly well developed. In fact, I would defy anyone to say that these characters are ones that we have seen anywhere else in any other movie. I believe the quality of the acting was superb and very convincing (especially after seeing an interview with the actor who played the title character; he's not the dimwit that he played in the film). This film provides an interesting glimpse into a culture that is worth examining. Full Review »