Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Steel City could have used more rhythmic drive, but if Jun keeps weaving together characters this compelling, he could be a major film artist in the making.
  2. 50
    Excellent performances by a good cast and a fairly authentic look at working-class struggles go only so far.
  3. A shaky but promising debut, Brian Jun's downbeat family drama is likely to make you feel a whole lot better about your own life.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Steel City may be the only movie released this year that's so observant you can hear what the characters AREN'T saying.
  5. It has vivid characters, a strong sense of place, and a free-floating hopelessness that never precludes the possibility of meaningful action.
  6. One of the most hopeful movies I've seen recently--not just for its humane, realistic story line, but in its very being.
  7. A quietly, somberly effective American indie drama.
  8. 75
    For the most part, they live life convincingly, in a refreshingly inward-looking, well-made film that's smart enough to stay small, and leave the car crashes to the big summer action movies.
  9. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Its honest, unshowy performances and textured depiction of life in a working-class community in a nowhere Southern Illinois town make this modest indie feature an affecting experience.
  10. 60
    The movie's strength is in the performances. And they're enough to make Steel City worth a look.
  11. Mostly Mr. Jun's script is sharp, and Laurie Metcalf, James McDaniel, America Ferrera and Raymond J. Barry in supporting roles help keep the tale mesmerizing, in a small-scale sort of way.
  12. The only misstep Jun makes, and it's hard to fault him given the budget, is the mediocre and at times heavy-handed use of music. Still, it's an unqualified success from the heartland.
  13. Reviewed by: Justin Berton
    Steel City makes a valiant attempt to add some new tweaks to the genre best described as life-sucks-growing-up-in-a-mill-town.
  14. Reviewed by: Joshua Katzman
    Jun, a downstate native, has an ear for plainspoken dialogue and neither glamorizes nor patronizes his characters.
  15. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    Whatever Steel City lacks in oomph or even originality, it at least breaks even with its working-class authenticity and unexpectedly well-rounded ensemble.

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