The Paperboy

Metascore
45

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 45 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: It all begins in the steamy rural backwater of Moat County, Florida, where things have been done the same way for decades, yet change is bubbling beneath the surface. Boyish Jack Jansen, son of the local newspaper publisher, has just returned home after being kicked out of college, only toIt all begins in the steamy rural backwater of Moat County, Florida, where things have been done the same way for decades, yet change is bubbling beneath the surface. Boyish Jack Jansen, son of the local newspaper publisher, has just returned home after being kicked out of college, only to take the lowly job of paperboy. But that too changes when his idolized journalist brother Ward comes to town from Miami on the trail of a story that could make his career. Bringing in tow his hotshot writing partner Yardley and the alluring death-row groupie Charlotte Bless, Ward plans to prove that an innocent man has been railroaded on his way to the electric chair. With Jack as their driver, the quartet arranges to meet Hillary Van Wetter, the seedy alligator hunter hastily convicted of killing the local sheriff, at the prison. But what erupts between them all is a tangled web of sexual tension, mixed motives and shadowy facts that will set off not only a search for the truth but a chain reaction of passion and violence. Observing it all is Jack’s only real confidante -- the disregarded family maid Anita – who watches in dismay as his innocence is turned inside out. (Millennium Entertainment) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 38
  2. Negative: 11 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 29, 2012
    80
    Nicole Kidman gives her best performance since "To Die For."
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 7, 2012
    75
    Gator-filled swamps, an ultra-grungy murderer, racial undertones and a sexually charged atmosphere make up the tense and lurid world of The Paperboy.
  3. Reviewed by: Jonathan Kiefer
    Oct 2, 2012
    70
    When not contriving to get Efron out of his clothes, The Paperboy gropes for familiar movie language of its period setting: Soul music swells up excitedly over a jumble of jerky zooms, befuddling cuts, and spatial vagueness. But sometimes hot messiness has its charms.
  4. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Oct 2, 2012
    50
    The Paperboy deserves to be seen for its pulpy, well-executed excess, but as a filmmaker, Lee Daniels seems ignorant of how the shocks distract from the story.
  5. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Oct 18, 2012
    50
    The Paperboy is southern Gothic wallowing in the swamp of low camp. And if the wallowing were deliberate, this might have been hugely funny.
  6. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Oct 4, 2012
    33
    Lee Daniels' The Paperboy is a rare case of serious commitment to outright silliness.
  7. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Sep 29, 2012
    0
    A lurid, florid, humid, flaccid and insipid waste of time and money for the audience and for everyone who made it.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16
  1. Apr 28, 2015
    9
    It's not a crowd-pleasing movie; it's just and excellent movie. So dark, "black as the pit from pole to pole", so unforgiving about humanIt's not a crowd-pleasing movie; it's just and excellent movie. So dark, "black as the pit from pole to pole", so unforgiving about human flaws. McConaughey, Kidman, Cusack and Gray teach an acting lesson. Don't pay attention to the average score but to the huge spread among both critics and public. It tells you it isn't a movie for everyone. Zac Efron is here to show he has also an acting range, not to provide entertainment, good looks and a happy ending. Expand
  2. Jun 25, 2013
    7
    This is an interesting film but only some people will like it. It has many things to say and show but the director doesn't achieve to showThis is an interesting film but only some people will like it. It has many things to say and show but the director doesn't achieve to show them in a good way. i like the movie though i expected more. Nicole Kidman impressed me with her sexual appearance-scene and the ending it's a little bit of dull and not what you would expect. However, i liked the movie and as I said in the begining some people may not like for different reasons. I liked it anyway Expand
  3. Aug 17, 2015
    7
    Reading the reviews of this film I can see the point of view of why it might be trashy and "camp", though I would say this is a greatReading the reviews of this film I can see the point of view of why it might be trashy and "camp", though I would say this is a great exaggeration. There are one or two scenes that may be labeled as such but overall this movie contains beautiful shots, amazing acting from all 4 title names and a compelling story.

    This is not my genre of film at all and I wouldn't call myself a Lee Daniels fan, though I wouldn't say I don't like him either, but the story, cinematography and of course the acting hooked me in the first 5 mins and it was non stop till the end- the very end I assure you.

    I highly recommend this film. Zac Efron proves himself if that's what may deter you from the film.

    Great.. very pleasantly surprised at how well done this was. 8 for sure.
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  4. Jan 4, 2013
    5
    The Paperboy was an interesting film that falls flat due to misdirection. This murky crime drama was going in with a possibly decent story,The Paperboy was an interesting film that falls flat due to misdirection. This murky crime drama was going in with a possibly decent story, but it was ultimately told in the messiest way possible, from the moment Macy Gray started narrating. Disastrous and divulging; the plot dissolves in the sea (or swamp, rather) of visual style the director tries to accentuate. Shot and edited with a lot of panache, there Collapse
  5. Oct 5, 2012
    4
    What a mess of a film. After "Precious" this just does not seem quite right coming from Daniels. Visually, the film is not bad. TheWhat a mess of a film. After "Precious" this just does not seem quite right coming from Daniels. Visually, the film is not bad. The cinematography is great, with a definite 60s glare to it, which works to truly transform your vision and make it seem as if it were shot in the 60s itself. The original score is pretty decent too, with some good tunes, especially "That man is dangerous." The storyline, however, is rather weak and the dialogue at times makes no sense. A lot is also left unexplained -- like McConaughey's love life and events surround that. It is rather gory and out there, which might repeal some viewers, but overall it is definitely an interesting film visually. What stood out to me (in a positive light) were the performances. Efron, though contained, was decent in his performance, as was McConaughey. John Cusack was excellent as the vicious murderer Hillary. His manic look and twitches really brought Hillary to life, as a credible character. The absolute best thing about the film, however, was Nicole Kidman. She shines as the sultry, sexy, yet a bit dim-witted Charlotte Bless, who has a thing for prison convicts (i.e. Cusack in the film). She steals every scene she is in, and that is quite an achievement considering the cast. With her platinum wig, short/tight outfits, and fake tan, she embodies her character perfectly. Another exceptional performance comes from Macy Gray, who unfortunately doesn't get too much screen time, but she does amazingly well with the little she's been given. It is the Viola Davis in 'Doubt' moment for 'The Paperboy'. Overall, a rather underwhelming film that, despite excellent performances, leaves you wondering what the point of the whole film was. Daniel's does seem to be at the top of his game directorially in many ways, but he has definitely missed the mark here. Expand
  6. Jan 24, 2013
    4
    One hot mess. A few moments of enlightenment provided by Ms. Kidman in this murky, meandering noir film. Not a lot to love here. I needed aOne hot mess. A few moments of enlightenment provided by Ms. Kidman in this murky, meandering noir film. Not a lot to love here. I needed a shower after watching it. Expand
  7. May 22, 2013
    2
    One of those movies you watch until the credits roll, and are only left with a bad feeling in your stomach.
    Should have turned this one off a
    One of those movies you watch until the credits roll, and are only left with a bad feeling in your stomach.
    Should have turned this one off a bit sooner!
    Expand

See all 16 User Reviews

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