Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , ,
  • Summary: A boy who is believed to bring bad luck to everyone around him leads his family and two new friends through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity-filled journey through a land scarred by the legacy of war, to prove he's not bad luck he builds a giant rocket to enter the most exciting and dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Dec 23, 2013
    Mordaunt’s eye indicates a thoughtful filmmaker able to listen to the winds of what a movie needs. Effortlessly natural, his workmanlike craft carries the capacity to keep an ear open to happenstance.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jan 9, 2014
    Watching Ahlo mix his explosives is like watching a Cordon Bleu chef whipping up a stupendous soufflé.
  3. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Dec 23, 2013
    The kid performances are impressive and the subtext of a region still shaking off the effects of a long-ended war gives seed to some much needed discussion.
  4. Reviewed by: Nick McCarthy
    Jan 10, 2014
    The particulars of Laos's historical conflicts are sometimes only obliquely confronted, but the torrid past of covered-up wars palpably echoes through the scarred yet majestic landscapes.
  5. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Jan 16, 2014
    Australian writer-director Kim Mordaunt doesn't always succeed at balancing the sentimental, the political and the ethnographic, but at its strongest the story is a seamless melding of history's dark undertow and a child's indefatigable optimism.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Jan 10, 2014
    Yes, The Rocket is a sports movie, with an outcome that's easily foreseen. The cultural specifics of this Laos-set tale, however, are far less predictable.
  7. Reviewed by: Noah Berlatsky
    Jan 9, 2014
    The Rocket is a well-constructed delivery system for sparkly cheer, but it lacks a more substantial payload.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jan 12, 2014
    Don't be misled by the trailers about a boy that brings bad luck, which is a cheap version of this deep, moving story, set in great native beauty, Laos. This film brings great dignity to the poor of the world. The story is carefully laid into the history of Laos: people who are picking up bombs dropped by Americans, the background of their governing communists, and as a country that sells electricity to their neighbors; but all of this is only in the background. The story is good, gripping, moving, with dramatic turns to move it from act to act. The native actors, and in particular the children, are all perfect. The children demonstrate joy in the midst of being dirty poor. This film truly soars. Expand
  2. Mar 11, 2014
    Charming film set in Laos, the story of a young boy who thinks (because he was born a twin and village tradition suggests he may be evil) he’s trouble, especially after – a moment that made me jump out of the seat! – and the trials & tribulations he, and his family, face, once they’re dispossessed from their land for a dam project. That condemnation could have been stronger, but it's good to see current politics referenced as well as the appalling legacy of the illegal war waged by the US in Laos. Anyway, all ends well, as we knew it would, once he enters a rocket competition in a nearby town. Boom! Very nice. Expand