Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20

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Critic Reviews

  1. 70
    For all its harsh realism, the film flows like a dream, albeit a highly unpleasant one.
  2. An inner-city tragedy that plays its story simply, sorrowfully, and beautifully.
  3. The film manages to make the ordinary extraordinary. It takes visual risks, tells its story subjectively through images and moves confidently to a stunning, imaginative climax.
  4. 90
    Ramsay has made a movie in which a universe of hopelessness and decay is penetrated by shafts of light that remake these bleak surroundings in strange and beautiful ways.
  5. Bleak childhoods make for the best cinema, and Ratcatcher stands at the head of the class.
  6. 80
    The most audacious debut feature of the year.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Writer-director Ramsay neither sentimentalizes nor garishes up the lost children in this observant and poetic drama.
  8. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    There’s a light touch in evidence, balancing the bleakness with odd lyrical moments and unexpected humor and tenderness that infuse the gentle drama with a bracing freshness.
  9. 70
    The power of Ratcatcher comes from its hushed lyricism and Ms. Ramsay's talent for conveying emotional complexity.
  10. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    One of the most remarkable English-language feature debuts of recent years.
  11. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Fresh, original, and arresting.
  12. Miami Herald
    Reviewed by: Marta Barber
    A brilliant film by Lynne Ramsay.
  13. New York Daily News
    Reviewed by: Jack Mathews
    A grim, poetic, heart-wrenchingly fine ode to the lost children of Glasgow's forgotten class.
  14. Philadelphia Inquirer
    Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Ramsay's child actors are nonprofessionals who can only express what they feel — which gives her film an unusual degree of emotional authenticity.
  15. Mr. Showbiz
    Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Easily the best directorial debut of the year, and possibly the most mature and haunting film to ever come out of Scotland, Lynne Ramsay's Ratcatcher is a throat-catching masterpiece of lyricism, observation, and stone-cold realism.
  16. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Barry Johnson
    A sense of claustrophobia emerges, increases and colonizes the film.
  17. Film.com
    Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    The bleakness of the material ought to make Ratcatcher a depressing experience, yet Ramsay's power as an image-crafter transforms this grim universe.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Feb 20, 2011
    Lyrical and envisaged soul-search - Lynne Ramsay's feature debut is quiet childhood tale with heavenly photography, moody music, authenticLyrical and envisaged soul-search - Lynne Ramsay's feature debut is quiet childhood tale with heavenly photography, moody music, authentic milieu depictions and magnetic direction. The year is 1973 and the working class is influenced by a garbage streak that over-floods the streets with trash, rats and misfortune. In a dirty neighborhood in Glasgow twelve year old James lives with his beer drinking father, housewife mother and two sisters. One day when he's out playing with his friend Ryan down by a lake, the playing gets out of hand and Ryan drowns. In a state of chock James vanishes from the scene of the crime and removes all suspicion away from himself. This tragic event causes James' parents great concern, and while James is at a loss as to whether he is going to tell what really happened, feelings of guilt begins to absorb him and gradually he slips into a lonely and introvert state that threatens to overshadow his perception of reality.

    This film which was given English subtitles in England due to the characters particular Scottish dialect is an unglamorous and realistic portrayal of the working class in Glasgow during the 1970s which on one side is an extensive allegory of a gritty society struck by inflation and on the other a shining fable about childhood dreams.

    With chronological narrative and credible storytelling Ramsay conceives a nostalgic mood that reminds us of the wholly days of childhood. Somewhere within all this sad melancholy that influences the characters, Ramsay is able to captivate lovely images of nature that creates efficient and natural contrasts. Ramsay's human insight an directorial talent comes to show when she takes us in to the core of a 12 year old boys mentality and exposes his soul with modest precision. The actors are convincing in their respective parts and William Eadie delivers an outstanding performance in the role of the seldom character James. Ramsay's distinct form of expression and personal style shows a confidence and an understanding for movie making that stands out. This is a lyrical and contemplating film about adjusting in a world that's easy to be deflected by, but impossible to write off.
    Full Review »
  2. gailk
    Sep 11, 2009
    This is an amazing debut art film about poverty and the beauty of the human spirit to find happiness in difficult places.