Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    Basilio narrates his tale with such wit and wisdom that one comes away from the film wondering how much youthful potential is slowly being choked to death deep within the bowels of the earth.
  2. This beautiful, terrible story is not easily forgotten.
  3. 15 minutes into it, you are spellbound, heartbroken and unaccountably cheered -- your faith and admiration in humanity restored.
  4. 83
    So polished that it might pass for a scripted narrative feature, but that's not a bad thing. They found a remarkable spokesman in Bolivian teenager Basilio Vargas, and while his cogent, organized descriptions of his life, beliefs, history, and ambitions sometimes seem too calculated, at least they're calculated to communicate efficiently and appealingly.
  5. While political and social context is kept to a minimum, the darkly poetic images they capture speak volumes about what the miners go through.
  6. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    80
    An unforgettable journey through hell under the earth, where Satan is worshipped as king. Straight-as-an-arrow filmmaking raises this docu above the crowd.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard M. Porton
    80
    A powerful indictment of the horrendous treatment of children who toil in hellish Bolivian silver mines. The filmmakers are better at fashioning haunting images than offering hard-nosed analysis, yet they never sentimentalize their young protagonists' plight.
  8. 75
    Guaranteed to leave you outraged at the way children - and, for that matter, adults - are exploited by mining companies.
  9. It's a simple film with a direct message, but the glimpses of the surrounding social culture that has adapted to the horrors give this Third World "How Green Was My Valley" its identity.
  10. 70
    It’s the captured conversations about everyday lives and struggles that pin you to your seat.
  11. Perhaps little more than an object lesson in the end, the movie's nevertheless a sobering day trip, more for its hints of a forgotten history of culture collision than its sensible but rote socioeconomic sympathies.
  12. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    70
    A brave, sincere film that leaves you wishing that more light had been shed on the darkness.

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