Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Miller's theme is innocence, the loss of it, and the reclamation of equanimity in the face of that loss, and the music she makes is haunting.
  2. Powered by an exceptional performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, this artfully disturbing film is a compelling, imaginative look at the potent emotional bond that forms not between romantic lovers but between fathers and daughters.
  3. 88
    A stinging elegy for lost American dreams.
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis may be one of our great actors, but he trips over a few Method-acting speed bumps in wife Rebecca Miller's third writer-director effort.
  5. 80
    A fascinating, highly literate film.
  6. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Day-Lewis, who imbues Jack with a ravaged, Keith Richards charisma, is once again extraordinary.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The film doesn't scale Shakespearean heights, but it does give its star a nicely gnarled ogre to play.
  8. Doesn't succeed in everything it sets out to do, which is a lot. But as a statement about the death rattle of 60s counterculture it's both thoughtful and affecting, and Daniel Day-Lewis is mesmerizing.
  9. 75
    An absorbing experience.
  10. Smart and engrossing, if too heavy on the symbolism at times.
  11. A gut-punch of a movie, a potent, mesmerizing drama.
  12. 75
    Camilla Belle is an impressive newcomer - this could be her breakthrough appearance.
  13. We leave this movie hoping to see Miller and Lewis together again soon.
  14. A difficult movie. Its obvious, heavy symbolism, glaring soundtrack and top-heavy themes threaten to make it implode, but it's saved by its performances.
  15. 70
    One of those passionately atmospheric movies, like Jane Campion's "The Piano," that sounds idiotic on paper, but whose ambiance, charged with eros, rage, regret and optimism, is strangely moving.
  16. But the film disappoints, partly because it inspires such large expectations.
  17. Phenomenal acting, plus intelligent direction and themes, put The Ballad of Jack and Rose above other indie films about loss of innocence. At the same time, there is something garish about watching a father and daughter struggle with the snake of incest in their ill-advised Garden of Eden.
  18. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    If one enjoyed manufacturing symbols as much as Miller, one might speculate that Rose is Rebecca Miller, aching to be her own artist, and Jack is Arthur.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    One of those novelistic independent films more concerned with atmosphere and character than the particularities of narrative, where contemplating the backstory is more satisfying than anything we see.
  20. Has density enough for several films. What's missing is spontaneity, and variety. And, throughout most of the narrative, velocity.
  21. Shaky story and predictable developments make this an off-key ballad.
  22. 50
    Miller has crafted some intriguing, complex characters and stranded them in a muddled story that doesn't know quite what to do with them.
  23. A self-conscious attempt at the brass ring.
  24. 50
    If only Miller's writing had some human zest. Nearly everybody here is crunchy, salt-of-the-earth organic, and off in a dreamland.
  25. "Velocity" told multiple stories, each lasting half an hour, but "Ballad" wears out one tale before its end.
  26. 50
    By the time it reaches its fiery finale, the film feels less mythic than self-consciously portentous.
  27. Strong performances and Miller's equivocal stance toward her characters save the movie from its symbolic overload and melodramatic crash course, but in the end there may be less here than meets the eye.
  28. 50
    I feel prodigious emotion underneath the pretty, preserved features of The Ballad of Jack and Rose, channeled into a vehicle that's a half-successful imitation of "You Can Count on Me" or "In the Bedroom."
  29. 50
    Day-Lewis is as rooted as an oak in his character and milieu, yet easefully disengaged from the film's pensive histrionics.
  30. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Well-wrought individual scenes and sharply focused acting provide Rebecca Miller's third feature with a measure of gravity, but too much abrupt, even melodramatic behavior and undigested psychological matter leave nagging dissatisfactions.
  31. An engaging battle between terrific acting and a flawed script.
  32. 50
    Often seems less like a fully realized film than an illustrated story, its paragraphs reduced to neatly contrived set pieces.
  33. Reviewed by: Jeremy Mathews
    Might not have been a bad film if its characters never said anything and some obnoxious visual metaphors were removed.
  34. Ms. Miller has attempted to elevate a small Oedipal story about two damaged souls into a grandiloquent epic, Shakespeare by way of Bob Dylan. She misses by a significantly wide mark, largely because she loves her monster too much and his victim too little.
  35. 30
    Some good Bob Dylan songs are called in to underline the big moments, but end up eclipsing them instead. There's more drama and insight in a snippet of "One More Cup Of Coffee" than the entirety of Jack & Rose.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 2 out of 10
  1. Mar 31, 2013
    The acting by ├╝ber method actor Lewis and Belle is very believable, but the story of these somewhat hippy-like nature people was difficult to identify with for me personaly. This fact also made it feel longer than the 107 mins it lasts. It's a good movie for the right kind of people, but just not for me Full Review »