Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Strongly acted and beautifully photographed (by Virgil Mirano), Spoken Word is a quietly resonant family drama about the tug of old habits and the difficulties of escaping the past.
  2. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    80
    Spoken Word benefits from an improbably perfect storm of production circumstances: The muscular, balanced script, the brainchild of an unusual alliance between professional poet Joe Ray Sandoval and TV writer William T. Conway, consistently plays to Nunez's strengths.
  3. Filmmaker Victor Nunez pairs evocative locales--beatnik Bay Area, bucolic rural New Mexico--with fleeting asides of poetry (penned by the Santa Fe–based writer Joe Ray Sandoval); these meditative detours both elevate a routine story arc and tap into tangled, twisted familial roots.
  4. 75
    Now here's this rich and textured film.
  5. 75
    The movie is about how he learns to show what's in his heart even when he can't find the spoken words to express his feelings aloud. Under the careful guidance of Mr. Nunez, Mr. Becker does both, in ways that reminded me of a Hispanic James Dean.
  6. 65
    Has just enough genuine warmth to compensate for the coolness you might feel toward its generic trappings.
  7. Spoken Word, which centers on the tense reunion between a recovering addict poet and his dying father, features more cliches than it can comfortably handle and is not helped by its grindingly slow pacing.
  8. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    50
    Though crudely constructed (the lighting and framing are strictly soap opera), unevenly acted (Becker is a bundle of distracting tics), and bluntly scripted, the film does have an honest integrity--at least whenever Blades is onscreen.
  9. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    42
    Apart from its title, there's very little poetic about Spoken Word.
  10. Reviewed by: Joshua Katzman
    40
    Unfortunately, the dialogue here is littered with cliches, and Ruben Blades as the dying father is the only character that registers with any degree of authenticity.
  11. While in many respects Spoken Word is adequately specific, it's still not very deep.
  12. The self-conscious poetry and Cruz's diagnosis of bipolar disorder threaten to add too many notes to this quiet drama.
  13. With the patiently assembled '90s films "Ruby in Paradise" and "Ulee's Gold," director Victor Nuñez gave independent film a quiet luster of hand-craftsmanship sorely lacking in his dreary new effort, Spoken Word.

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