Metascore
27

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 22
  2. Negative: 16 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    38
    There is some directorial skill here--Argento should be congratulated for a few interesting storytelling choices--but the end result feels grimy and strangely pathetic.
  2. Asia Argento is not what I would call a good actress, but she's a prime specimen of train-wreck sexuality: a debauched Eurotrash starlet who oozes punk cred more than she does talent. It's not too hard to see why she wanted to write, direct, and star in The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things.
  3. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    30
    Whatever her limitations, Argento the actor makes certain that Argento the director doesn't lack for "action"--and that the audience doesn't lack for pain.
  4. The performances by all three children are scarily convincing. Still, it's a taxing bit of exploitation, which, although you're glad to know it's a work of fiction, doesn't exactly make a case for itself as art.
  5. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    30
    Though it's decidedly for perverse palates, some kind of cult audience seems assured for this one-note onslaught, which exercises a bizarre fascination despite its excesses.
  6. 30
    An almost comically lurid tale of a little boy abused by his malignant hooker mother, malignant fundamentalist grandfather, and malignant surrogate dads.
  7. This is an execrable movie depicting the improbable events in the life of a young boy being intermittently raised by his crackhead, highway-hookin' mom (actress-director Asia Argento, with a face that makes Courtney Love's mug shot look glamorous), her plumb-nuts evangelical parents and a cartoonishly incompetent West Virginia social system.
  8. 25
    Watchable in a train-wreck kind of way, but you'll probably want to take a shower afterwards.
  9. Reviewed by: Tamara Straus
    25
    Unwatchable.
  10. 20
    A degraded and degrading film, of interest only because it's symptomatic of so much that's wrong with the drearily repetitive tabloid mentality that has infected not just the news media, but the whole culture industry.
  11. 20
    The tale grows only more toxic with time.
  12. 20
    The whole enterprise heaves and strains with a sadistic overkill that even Dario might find too rich.
  13. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    12
    The Heart Is Deceitful wants to cauterize us into feeling something -- anything -- but it's far too heartless to know what.
  14. 10
    The movie is terrible, but made with verve and sincerity, all of it pointed in the wrong direction.
  15. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    0
    Inspirationally impaired and dramatically retarded.
  16. Viewer discretion is advised, if only because it's well-nigh unwatchable.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. cj
    Jan 4, 2007
    8
    I enjoyed it greatly, idk why everyone is giving it such bad reviews...the acting for the most part is solid, especially for the childrenI enjoyed it greatly, idk why everyone is giving it such bad reviews...the acting for the most part is solid, especially for the children (although the sprouses show none of that on The Suite LIfe...which is still awesome....) and the plot is based on an excellent novel. The poor production and choppy editing and music choices bring it down a bit though. Not a movie for the fainthearted or easily disturbed. Full Review »
  2. ChrisD.
    Sep 29, 2006
    7
    While the movie is based on a hoax, it is a sick twisted ride that will leave you imagining all of the scum that resides in this world. The While the movie is based on a hoax, it is a sick twisted ride that will leave you imagining all of the scum that resides in this world. The movie is a great but very depressing film if you can make it all of the way though. A good portion of the cast does very well and makes their characters very convincing. Especially noted are: the twins, Bennet, Manson, and Fonda. I really didn't think Asia did a bad job either. I recommend it for anyone who thinks they can manage to make it. But if you expect to feel any bit of happiness or joy throughout the course of the movie, you'll be disappointed. Full Review »
  3. ElyseS.
    Apr 30, 2006
    9
    i'm really surprised at all the horrible reviews. i can see that asia argento's performance is exhibitionistic, she does steal many i'm really surprised at all the horrible reviews. i can see that asia argento's performance is exhibitionistic, she does steal many scenes and it's obvious that she revels in playing a southern junkie punk whore type. and it does sort of make a caricature of the sick side of america. but this doesn't sum up the movie. it isn't merely exploitative, "look we show white trash life, immoral bible belt-ers and child molestation". the enviornment doesn't detract from the empathy we have for jeremiah. his scenes- especially his fantasies and shots of him by himself- reveal his confusion, fear, anger, and emptiness brilliantly. and if you understand abuse you know just what he feels like. sarah's relationship with him is fascinating, she loves him as best as she can for being as selfish and morally shaky as she is. the music is amazing, and the ending is strangely triumphant. please see it and judge for yourselves, it seems like the subtleties were lost on the critics. this isn't a white-trash exploitation flick, if you like films that make you empathize then you will pick up a lot more from this movie. Full Review »