Rocket Science Image
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A teenager tackles the mysteries of life, love and public speaking in Rocket Science, a wry comedy of adolescent angst. Life is not easy for teenager Hal Hefner. His parents have split, his older brother is an obsessive-compulsive and he has an unpredictable stutter. Given that his activeA teenager tackles the mysteries of life, love and public speaking in Rocket Science, a wry comedy of adolescent angst. Life is not easy for teenager Hal Hefner. His parents have split, his older brother is an obsessive-compulsive and he has an unpredictable stutter. Given that his active mind and quick wit tend to be obscured by his problematic voice, Hal is not an obvious candidate for his school's high-powered debate team. So when the star of debate team, Ginny Ryerson, asks him to be her partner, Hal rises to the occasion, and in doing so he scores a victory that has nothing to do with winning a debate, but everything to do with finding his voice. (Picturehouse Entertainment) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. A dry, vicious and deeply moving little comedy that sort of takes the structure of a teen sports movie, then undermines that structure at every turn.
  2. The movies have given us plenty of loquacious teenagers – from such fast-talking truants as Ferris Bueller to such overachieving political animals as Tracy Flick ( Election). Hal Hefner is not one of these kids.
  3. 88
    I suspect a lot of high school students will recognize elements of real life in the movie, and that the movie will build a following. It may gross as little as "Welcome to the Dollhouse" or as much as "Clueless," but whichever it does, it's in the same league.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    When it's not opting for whimsy, Rocket Science makes you cringe, which is what's good about it.
  5. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    70
    Catapulted by an endearing lead performance by Reece Daniel Thompson as a stuttering high-school student, Rocket Science transcends the predictable high-school yarn and arcs into usually unexplored domains of self-discovery and personal growth in a coming-of-age film.
  6. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    70
    This unusually voluble comedy is as eloquent about love, self-realization and adolescent angst as its protagonist is endearingly tongue-tied.
  7. One of those terminally annoying, depressive-yet-coy Sundance faves in which the tale of a mopey teen misfit unfolds behind a hard candy shell of irony.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 8
  2. Negative: 3 out of 8
  1. NoraL
    May 16, 2010
    10
    An unexpected little gem of a movie. didn't know what to expect but..... wow. there is much to recommend here. wonderful performances An unexpected little gem of a movie. didn't know what to expect but..... wow. there is much to recommend here. wonderful performances all around from a young cast and dialogue that is natural but so so funny and sharp. kudos!! Expand
  2. NoraO.
    Sep 1, 2007
    10
    Excellent film. The film made me laugh and cry. Reflecting on my my teen years as a stutterer, I am not sure how I would have responded Excellent film. The film made me laugh and cry. Reflecting on my my teen years as a stutterer, I am not sure how I would have responded seeing the film due to my dark denial and rage towards my stutter. However, if the cards had fallen differently and I had ended up in the theatre I would have been able to see myself on screen and not have felt so damn alone. Hal is a very likable teenager. I'd hang out with him! He's a good kid, seeking love, living in a dysfunctional family, very witty, very funny, bright and with wild, passionate, greatness waiting to burst out. This is the first MOVIE (not documentary) that portrays stuttering accurately. Unlike A Fish Called Wanda or Primal Fear and so many other films that ridicule the stutterer or the character is a murderer (Primal Fear). The same that gay characters were portrayed in movies. The movie is not just about stuttering though. Hal is so much more then his stutter. As is the movie. I'm sorry it's moved out of theatres so quickly. Probably because of poor reviews like the one in the NY Times ... clearly the reviewer did not understand the film or care to understand it. Expand
  3. ChadS.
    Jan 31, 2008
    9
    Corey Haim in "Lucas" is not the same animal as Corey Haim in "License to Drive", or Corey Haim in "Snowboard Academy". The former-child star Corey Haim in "Lucas" is not the same animal as Corey Haim in "License to Drive", or Corey Haim in "Snowboard Academy". The former-child star was startingly good as a dorky fourteen-year-old misfit in the 1986 coming-of-age film. "Rocket Science" is more like "Lucas" than "Rushmore", "Welcome to the Dollhouse", and other usual suspects from indie-dom that showcases the trials and tribulations of a socially-challenged minor. Lucas didn't get the girl. Lucas didn't catch the football. "Lucas", a studio film, mind you, didn't swing for the fences; it settled for a modest single up the middle. "Rocket Science" is just like that. Like Lucas, Hal Hefner(Reece Thompson) raises his arms in celebration after a miniature victory. This is, by far, a more satisfying end-result than the more conventional ending that "Rocket Science" teases the audience with, before judiciously pulling back and allowing pragmatic deftness back into the story. You can thank the filmmaker's background in documentaries. The stutterer can't win a statewide debating tournament; the filmmaker knows this, but like any person with a handicap, the stutterer can win some self-respect by being unafraid. "Rocket Science" is...is...is...tr-...tr-...tri-..tri-...-um...-um...trium-...-um...-um...-phant. Expand
  4. MichaelE.
    Aug 21, 2007
    5
    Today I saw Rocket Science, or, as I have cleverly dubbbed it, Rushless. Weird high school kid with goofy haircut and emotional problems who Today I saw Rocket Science, or, as I have cleverly dubbbed it, Rushless. Weird high school kid with goofy haircut and emotional problems who has a crush on an unapproachable girl? Check. Flat low angle shots of banal locations? Check. Annoying, self-consciously hip music score? Check. (I mean, "The Blob" by Bacharach+David on accordion and mini-choir? Ugh. And the Femmes on piano+cello played by old people? Even worse) Tons of irony, with just a little touch of heart at the end so we'll feel like we've seen something? Check. Bursts of stupid violence that have nothing to do with anything? Check. Juvenile angst and ennui presented as cute? Check. The director certainly has the Wes Anderson playbook down pat, but not much else. Expand
  5. JohnS.
    Feb 5, 2008
    3
    Poor, boring.
  6. PatW.
    Sep 6, 2007
    0
    Absolutely one of the worst teenage films I've seen in my life...can't believe they're still showing it here, terrible!!
  7. GrahamG.
    Jan 28, 2008
    0
    There is so little that is not annoying about this movie. I want my time back. Occasionally the stutterer says something witty, but seemingly There is so little that is not annoying about this movie. I want my time back. Occasionally the stutterer says something witty, but seemingly can't think his way out of uber-typical situations. And at the end there's nothing satisfying at all. Just like life. And if I just wanted life, I wouldn't go to the movies. I walked out when the 'I love the unknown' single-lyric song kicked in. A grownup can only take so much. Expand

See all 8 User Reviews