Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. It's no accident that this movie is named after both the filmmaker and his subject. It stands with the most thoughtful releases of recent months, and will linger in memory.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    100
    It's hard to recall the last movie that has left such an emotionally searing question dangling in the mind: "What if ... ?"
  3. 90
    Neither condemning nor forgiving, the film is a model of documentary evenhandedness, even though James makes no claims of objectivity.
  4. The tragic tale that emerges is full of powerful lessons and impenetrable mysteries
  5. 88
    Stevie seems destined to end the way it does, and is the more courageous and powerful for it. A satisfying ending would have been a lie.
  6. So troubling and unflinchingly honest that watching it becomes a test of empathy and compassion.
  7. Grueling but ultimately rewarding new documentary.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Oct 26, 2014
    9
    I'm a huge documentary fan, and this has to be in my top 20 of all time. Its honest and doesn't pontificate, it presents grueling scenarios with enough force to sicken you, but never revels in the pain it presents. The careful balance of the films production is even more striking when you realize the depth of the filmmakers personal involvement in the story. Finally, with all the dysfunction and harrowing scenes, it still steers clear of the simple option of painting those onscreen as simple 'victims' or 'bad people'. An unflinching, heartbreaking and deeply moving film. Highly recommended. Full Review »
  2. AngelaW.
    Jun 4, 2007
    10
    I have never seen a film so close to the reality that many deny exists. A story that had to be told.
  3. TracyL.
    Feb 15, 2007
    9
    Working in foster care and once living in the same area as this young man I was particularly drawn to watching this documentary. When will adults realize that their actions will forever effect the decisions their children will make for their future?...Whether they be good OR bad. I hope the families involved find the peace that they so deserve and avoid the drama that engulfs their lives. Full Review »