Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jan 17, 2013
    75
    The big names in the cast add atmosphere in small doses, especially when Haysbert and Glover combine.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jan 16, 2013
    75
    Here is a film about African Americans that sidesteps all the usual, hopeful cliches and comments on how one failed generation raises another.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 17, 2013
    63
    An uneven but strongly acted debut feature from co-writer and director Sheldon Candis.
  4. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jan 17, 2013
    42
    The rapper and actor Common has become a highly skilled screen star, but this touchy-feely dud does him wrong.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 26, 2013
    83
    LUV is partly a story about drugs, guns and street crime, the legacies we pass on to our children despite our efforts to do otherwise. But it’s also about the things we pass on to our children with love: How to tie a necktie, hold a steering wheel, shake another person’s hand. And it’s about the hope that those things will win out in the end.
  6. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Jan 17, 2013
    50
    What begins as a promising peek into the tragic cycle of waylaid promise that's crippling broken inner-city families is itself dispiritingly pulled sideways in the Baltimore-set indie LUV.
  7. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jan 30, 2013
    38
    The absurd turns the story takes to serve up streetwise and bloody "life lessons" for the kid will make any parent blanch and any movie lover roll his or her eyes.
  8. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 18, 2013
    40
    Thank goodness for Rainey. Even when the story feels false, he never does, operating with an open-faced sense of easy honesty that is missing from much of the rest of the film.
  9. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jan 17, 2013
    40
    The first half of the movie is painfully tense, drawing us into a relationship that we desperately want to see work. But the screenplay lets its characters down, as it devolves into platitudes and melodrama.
  10. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Jan 17, 2013
    75
    Candis gets some wonderful performances from his impressive cast.
  11. Reviewed by: Joel Arnold
    Jan 18, 2013
    60
    So it's nice that, despite some cliched rhythms, the flawed-ex-con-makes-good drama LUV gets the details of childhood-cut-short heartbreakingly right.
  12. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jan 17, 2013
    60
    Both for good and for ill, LUV has a film-school feeling about it, and channels a legacy of fatalistic American crime cinema that includes "Mean Streets" and "Treasure of the Sierra Madre."
  13. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Jan 17, 2013
    50
    The strength is in the performances and visual detail. The flaws are mostly in the script, which asks the youngest cast member to pull off a near-impossible transformation.
  14. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Jan 14, 2013
    63
    As a film that largely works as a subdued twist on the familiar drama about crime and family, LUV needed more intimacy and focus.
  15. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Jan 16, 2013
    50
    Candis and Wilson sandbag their actors with dialogue that's a mix of dull exposition and pulp clichés, and rarely natural-sounding or colorful.
  16. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Jan 15, 2013
    50
    Even if some of them are playing hackneyed gangster-film types, the strength of the actors makes it almost possible to forgive the formulaic plotting and artificially movie-ish developments. Candis and Justin Wilson's screenplay stretches credibility thinner and thinner as the story advances.
  17. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jan 17, 2013
    60
    It does not entirely succeed, but at its best Luv shows the kind of heart and intelligence that is always welcome - and often missing - in American movies.
  18. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Jan 15, 2013
    40
    With its rock-skimming male bonding alternating between grisly homicides and a florid Mexican standoff that begets a tidy take-the-money-and-run finale, this tale seems less timely than merely tall.
  19. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Nov 4, 2012
    50
    Heartfelt and formulaic in equal measure.
  20. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Jan 15, 2013
    40
    Although Common and Rainey make a well-matched duo, their chemistry is frequently squandered by a script that boxes them into impossible roles in one clichéd scene after another.
  21. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Jan 17, 2013
    50
    It's a shame that the plot proves to be such a head-scratcher when so many elements of the film seem promising.

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