Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Jenni Miller
    Dec 3, 2013
    90
    The Punk Singer is a perfect storm. It is a love letter to Kathleen Hanna, to feminism, and to the fans, but it’s also just a damn good movie.
  2. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Nov 26, 2013
    90
    It's impossible to watch The Punk Singer and not ask if feminism is dead. That's a fair starting question. But a better one is what if it isn't — what if we've just stopped recognizing it?
  3. Reviewed by: Marsha McCreadie
    Dec 13, 2013
    88
    Is the movie too adulatory? It is not the most subtly layered documentary I've ever seen, but these days it's no longer verboten to take a stance in docs. And there is so much to be admired about Hanna. Plus…if you've never seen some of those songs performed…it's electrifying.
  4. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Dec 9, 2013
    83
    The Punk Singer brings dimension and real shape to a band, era and scene that is often compartmentalized into one or two categories. That it'll get you wanting to start your own musical rebellion is a bonus.
  5. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 16, 2013
    83
    Edited in a frenzied mashup of concert fragments and off-stage exchanges, The Punk Singer generally overcomes its rough production values by realizing the energy of Hanna's achievements in terms of her passion and physical prowess.
  6. Reviewed by: Leigh Clark
    May 21, 2014
    80
    The Punk Singer is a rewarding and positive experience. Anderson delivers a fascinating account of the grunge era and an influential story of a role model who has the guts and spunk to hopefully inspire a whole new generation of Riot Grrls and Boys.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 29, 2013
    80
    As Hanna’s fans already know, she’s back onstage with a new band called the Julie Ruin, who sound terrific. Today she can be a singer, a musician, a poet or an artist, but we can’t ask her to be a revolutionary.
  8. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Nov 29, 2013
    80
    Dynamic performance footage and input from a variety of collaborators, colleagues and admirers, as well as Hanna herself, make the tightly edited Punk Singer a vivid watch even for those with no interest in or experience with the music itself.
  9. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Nov 27, 2013
    80
    The Punk Singer fascinatingly traces the evolution of a woman.
  10. Reviewed by: Amy Pitt
    Nov 26, 2013
    80
    Although the film was completed too early to document Hanna’s return to music—her new band, the Julie Ruin, released an album in September and has been touring—it still offers a poignant, intimate portrait of a larger-than-life personality—one whose singular voice is still sorely needed in music, culture and, well, everywhere.
  11. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Nov 16, 2013
    80
    This is a woman who has been through hell and come out kicking, and the result is as much a celebration of her life as it is a documentary.
  12. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Dec 4, 2013
    78
    The Punk Singer (and the formation of the Julie Ruin) offers a welcome return to, if not the fray, then certainly the front – where, as every rebel girl worth her combat boots knows, girls belong.
  13. Reviewed by: Bruce Ingram
    Dec 12, 2013
    75
    Despite the insularity, Punk Singer has a terrific story to tell, not least about the fascinating contradictions in Hanna’s character.
  14. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Dec 12, 2013
    75
    The Punk Singer, like the best documentaries, captures more than just its subject, fascinating though she may be. Anderson manages to capture the feel of an era and the excitement surrounding a fresh feminist voice.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Dec 5, 2013
    75
    As pointedly as The Punk Singer looks at the past, the movie’s uncertain where the energy of that original moment has gone. Where are the riot-grrrls of today? Take your daughters to the movie, then ask them.
  16. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Dec 5, 2013
    75
    Director Sini Anderson compiles interviews with Hanna and her husband, Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, as well as archival footage, into an admiring portrait of a sometimes combative figure.
  17. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Dec 2, 2013
    75
    At its best, The Punk Singer tells the story of one pivotal life in a whole movement. Both Anderson and Hanna are at pains to avoid giving the impression that one singer carried the movement single-handedly.
  18. Reviewed by: Kyle Ryan
    Nov 29, 2013
    75
    A little more distance could have been beneficial, but The Punk Singer is enlightening regardless.
  19. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Nov 27, 2013
    70
    What’s missing from The Punk Singer is real friction or ambiguity.
  20. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Nov 16, 2013
    70
    The doc happily devotes most of its time to a stylish, energetic account of Hanna's career to date and the impact it has had on a generation of women.
  21. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Nov 28, 2013
    60
    Ms. Hanna’s creativity and force are catching. But other voices are needed to evaluate her achievements with a fuller sense of cultural context and perspective.
  22. Reviewed by: Drew Hunt
    Nov 26, 2013
    50
    Sini Anderson's film may be another unimaginative fan letter, but at least Kathleen Hannah is worthy of such devotion.

There are no user reviews yet.