Raising Victor Vargas


Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 31
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 31
  3. Negative: 0 out of 31

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    One of the purest instances of indie cinema this year. "Pure" meaning that in every aspect of filmmaking and intent this picture is peerless, so truly real, funny, poignant and sexy that it almost feels like a watershed cinematic moment.
  2. The writer-director, Peter Sollett, cast the film with kids from his own neighborhood, who give themselves over to the camera with a spirit of improvised play that morphs into vivid, layered acting.
  3. A comedy in the best sense--it draws its life from the pitch-perfect authenticity of its characters.
  4. His film may be something of a beautiful lie, but what's true about Sollett's characters is that their dreams, their grace and their struggles are as real as it gets.
  5. 90
    Delicate and altogether satisfying romantic comedy.
  6. This is Sollett's first feature film -- he has previously made only one short -- and it shows, more than exceptional talent for cinema itself, his ability to evoke character, in a kind of sidewise offhand way, and to create a sense of community both within and around the film.
  7. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    I loved this movie, and I wish it could be seen by all those kids who turn out every weekend for shoddy studio comedies that show them who they'd like to be. Raising Victor Vargas shows young lovers as they are.
  8. Succeeds where 100 studio-generated teen romances -- starring the bland, the blunt or the blow-dried -- have failed.
  9. While Sollett provided cast members with a detailed breakdown of the story--a kind of narrative guide--he wanted them to improvise their own dialogue based on how they would react to a similar situation in their own lives....The result is quite extraordinary.
  10. Warmly recommended to viewers who like their romantic comedies small-scale but life-size.
  11. 90
    Victor Vargas has the look and feel of a neo-realist masterpiece, yet captures New York with a burnished authenticity not seen since the glory days of ’70s American cinema.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The ''R'' rating is understandable, but absurd. This is a family film in the most complicated and, ultimately, most cheering sense.
  13. 88
    It's the kind of movie you know you can trust, and you give yourself over to affection for these characters who are so lovingly observed.
  14. In the tradition of indie films "Girlfight" and "George Washington," Sollett's emotive, sub-improvising style leads to pitch-perfect performances from a watertight cast in a loose, joyfully fresh film.
  15. There's a good heart beating at the core of Victor Vargas, one that belies its R-rating.
  16. 88
    There's nothing in the utterly enchanting Raising Victor Vargas you haven't seen before; you'd just be hard-pressed to name another movie that did it as well.
  17. Comes together with a wry sense of humor, a total lack of gratuitous movie nonsense and a graceful dignity that allows the humanity of his characters to shine through in a very special way.
  18. 80
    What makes Raising Victor Vargas so special, beyond its irresistible charisma, is how Sollett and his cast capture the thrill of first love.
  19. 80
    As fresh -- and as restorative -- as a lemon ice on a hot day.
  20. 80
    A modest and tightly focused picture, and its very directness makes it piercingly intimate.
  21. Sollett’s first feature is a small, but indelible picture, one that approaches the most universal of themes -– first love, confused hormones, parental clashes -– with originality.
  22. A grownup departure from the teen-romance norm -- it speaks nothing about passion and volumes about trust.
  23. A gritty but sweet look at young love and family dynamics.
  24. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Landed exactly the right actors for a script that already gets points for respecting its teenage characters.
  25. 75
    Writer-director Peter Sollett takes the familiar and turns it into hot, heartfelt movie magic.
  26. At once sympathetic and unsentimental, this is a model of low-budget storytelling on a human scale.
  27. 75
    A love letter to a New York neighborhood that is rapidly disappearing -- a tight-knit Dominican community.
  28. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: David Denby
    Nothing very important happens, but, moment by moment, the movie is alive with the play of gesture and glances, aggression and withdrawal. [31 March 2003, p.106]
  29. There's something uniquely gratifying about watching nonprofessionals deliver totally natural performances.

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