Sling Blade Image
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 67 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A southern gothic tale about a man named Karl (Thornton), who's just been released from an asylum -- some 25 years after he committed a gruesome crime. He returns to the southern town of his youth, where his quiet, gentle manner and simple charm land him a job and lead him to an unlikely friendship with a young boy (Black) and his widowed mother. When the mother's abusive boyfriend appears, however, this simple man is thrust into a combustible dilemma that has powerful, moving consequences for all. (Miramax Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Christopher Sharrett
    100
    Sling Blade is about a society barely holding on by its fingernails, the home and hearth hardly a place of respite. Unlike "The Ice Storm" or "The Sweet Hereafter," Sling Blade is devoid of the creature comforts of middle-class life that at least allow people the degraded hobbies that keep them functioning. [May, 1998]
  2. Who is Billy Bob Thornton? The question fascinates after seeing Sling Blade, the extraordinary first film that he wrote and directed and in which he plays the leading role. [Feb. 10, 1997]
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    90
    The lure of Sling Blade is both elemental and hauntingly familiar, and I would not be surprised if Thornton's breakthrough film is one day considered a classic in its own right.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard T. Jameson
    87
    What evolves among them is a kind of realistic fairy tale, sustained by the sweet gravity and guttural, deadpan minimalism of Thornton's performance.
  5. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    80
    (Thornton) does a remarkable job in all three categories, but what you're likely to remember most clearly is his performance.
  6. Billy Bob Thornton wrote, directed and stars in this compassionate, occasionally funny, character-driven movie about a mentally unstable man who takes the best interests of children very seriously.
  7. Thornton is sadly affecting in the film's central role.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 35
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 35
  3. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Aug 24, 2013
    10
    A masterful script. Outstanding acting Thorton is spellbinding in the lead role. His opening scene is without doubt the best I've seen.This is storytelling at its finest and directed with confidence, conviction and ease. Light and shade, humour and a fierce undercurrent of tension. To every film fan watch it now! Expand
  2. Apr 8, 2014
    10
    This film manages to be beautiful and dark all at the same time. Although it's very intense in places and really puts you on edge with heightened emotion and great acting, it leaves you feeling warm and with a refreshed love of humanity. Thornton's performance is so hauntingly amazing that you hardly even recognise him as Carl. His entire body and persona becomes transformed, more so than any other actor playing any part I've seen. The young Lucas Black gives a phenomenal performance as Frank as well. He's just so natural. I really can't praise this film enough. Thornton is a genius in my eyes and it's perfectly clear how he managed to bag himself Angelina Jolie at one point. Expand
  3. May 4, 2014
    10
    Billy Bob Thornton succesfully makes himself a centre of this film : a director, a screenwriter and a leading role, but you will clearly remember one of those, an extraordinary performance. A tagline : "Sometimes a hero comes from the most unlikely place." may has a different point of view, beautiful and dark come up, but it's nothing to do to this film. This film makes Southern storytelling / drama genre more powerful and stronger. Expand
  4. Jan 11, 2013
    9
    I had a few little problems with Sling Blade, and I thought there were one or two highly unnecessary scenes and characters. But that is not even close to enough to make me give this a bad review. Billy Bob is movie magic here. His captivating performance of one of the most well-developed characters in movie history is something that I couldn't take my eyes off of. As a kind-spirited, mentally handicapped wanderer with seemingly no emotional response to murdering...Karl is a special feat of film making. I feel like if I said more I would spoil it. So I won't Great movie... although I do feel that it could have been a little more badass. Expand
  5. Dec 23, 2013
    9
    This movie made me think about different starting points we have. How we break some chains and how do we act in different circumstances. Movie had it's darker elements and it's up-lifters which were directed plausible. Billy Bob Thornton did a fantastic job. A very good movie. Expand
  6. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    Featuring (quite possibly) Billy Bob Thornton's best performance in a film, "Sling Blade" is a simple, yet emotive drama with as much humor as it has heart. Expand

See all 35 User Reviews

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