Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Oct 11, 2012
    88
    Utterly delightful.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Oct 12, 2012
    60
    The connections made in Photographic Memory are more tentative than those found in Mr. McElwee's earlier films, which also seek answers in roundabout ways while maintaining an acute eye for light, color, space and atmosphere.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 12, 2012
    100
    Photographic Memory is about the permanence and impermanence of what we choose to preserve: on film and in our heads (which is often the same thing). I would like to think that one day Adrian might look at this documentary and see it as a supreme act of paternal love.
  4. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Oct 16, 2012
    70
    The resulting journey of self-discovery is not exactly profound in its revelations, but as usual with McElwee's efforts the proceedings are enlivened by his droll, witty narration, delivered in a sonorous tone.
  5. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Oct 10, 2012
    91
    Photographic Memory is less wry and more melancholy than McElwee's earlier documentaries; it's a lot like his superb 2003 film "Bright Leaves," which was also concerned with family history and the shifting meaning of images.
  6. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Oct 9, 2012
    80
    Alternating between time periods and geographic locations, all of it connected by McElwee's narrated thoughts, the film proves a bracing and sometimes uncomfortable peek into private fears and regrets about mortality and missed opportunities. It's also, in its portrait of wayward Adrian, further proof that there's nothing more difficult, frustrating, messy, and insufferable than teenagerdom.
  7. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Oct 11, 2012
    65
    For all its obsession with the past, Photographic Memory ends in a simple, genuinely moving interaction between father and son that illustrates McElwee's discovery that memories are nice, but can't be touched and embraced as we can the present.
  8. Reviewed by: Joseph Jon Lanthier
    Oct 8, 2012
    88
    Ross McElwee is less anxious of death itself than of finally comprehending the vast faultiness of the life he's lived.
  9. Reviewed by: Matt Singer
    Oct 9, 2012
    80
    McElwee's quietly reassuring voice dominates the film, but that doesn't mean he can't craft a magnificently eloquent image when he wants to, as in the moment when he frames Adrian, seated in a coffee shop, inside his own reflection in the shop's front window.

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