Mixed or average reviews - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 9
  2. Negative: 3 out of 9
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  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Aug 29, 2012
    An alienated-teen movie that surfs along on the whims and casual cruelties of its central character runs a risk: It can wind up as random and undisciplined as she is. Instead, Little Birds is a touching and distinctive achievement.
  2. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    Aug 29, 2012
    The imagery is consistently striking and the themes, if well-worn, do often ring true.
  3. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Sep 14, 2012
    Breathtaking moments give way to boring ones; searing emotions vie with the exceedingly bland.
  4. Reviewed by: Gabe Toro
    Aug 30, 2012
    Temple and Panabaker are quite good in their lead roles, to the point where you start to hate the fact that the movie's thesis thrives on the girls being damned if they do, and damned if they don't.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Aug 28, 2012
    The dialogue is as stock as the characters, and James's visual palette never surpasses the adequate.
  6. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Aug 28, 2012
    The problem is that screen mayhem has a tendency to translate as hip posturing, and Little Birds' scenes of shoplifting shenanigans and pistol-whipping showdowns all too readily conform to indie-film form and style.
  7. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Aug 30, 2012
    None of the actors has the heft to elevate this rote material, though to be fair, the task may be impossible. The dreamy shots of a poisoned sea in Little Birds show an imagination sorely missing from its drab plot and characters.
  8. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Aug 28, 2012
    I don't think Mr. James intended to make a creepy, exploitative movie about teenage runaways - or, for that matter, a moralistic, cautionary tale of girls gone bad. But those are the default categories that Little Birds stumbles toward, perhaps because the filmmaker has not found a cogent way to channel his curiosity or his empathy.
  9. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Aug 13, 2012
    A film of precious, romanticized misery and squalor.

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