Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A harrowing and moving tale of one man's attempt to re-enter society after twelve years in prison. (Newmarket Films)

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    It is among the best and most delicately managed films of the year.
  2. 88
    One of the year's best.
  3. 80
    An engrossing study of a protagonist who variously inspires pity, clinical interest, fondness, and revulsion-sometimes all at once.
  4. Tasteful but not compromised.
  5. 70
    Kassell's visual influences are evident -- she's clearly a fan of the down-and-dirty films of the '70s -- but the consistently fine performances smooth over the rough patches.
  6. You can tell that everyone's whole heart is in this project, you just wish that a little more of the heart was conveyed on the screen.
  7. 30
    Overblown melodrama, as muddle-headed as it is palpably sincere.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 26
  2. Negative: 5 out of 26
  1. Sep 6, 2012
    One of my favorite movies of all time! Don't think it did well in the theaters when it was released as it's subject matter is quite strong. Kevin Bacon does a great job as well as his real life wife who also stars in the film. Slow, small, dark, and difficult. Just how I like my movies. Keep an eye out for 2 rappers that have cameos in this film. Highly recommended! Expand
  2. Apr 6, 2012
    An exceptional movie, with exceptional performances! Daring, provocative, challenging, disturbing, intense! Kevin Bacon deserved an Oscar for his work here! but, oh well, we know how Hollywood works! This is a film that discloses the 'dark side' of the story. It is not about exploring the victim's perspective but the perpetrator's inner and outer world. This rises the question? Are all criminals evils? What is the effect that the crime has in the one who commits it? what is guilty? How is it experienced? Is there such a thing as redemption? and if it is, how can that be achieved?. It is not a movie for people with strong, religious them I wouldn't recommend it, as they may find it offensive and unethical. To me, this is a masterpiece! One of the best movies ever! I applaud it! Expand
  3. JeffM.
    Aug 14, 2006
    Daring and original. Would rate a "10" if the script hadn't made the mistake of unrealistically populating the neighbourhood with an overabundance of child molesters. Expand
  4. Oct 22, 2013
    The approach that is taken towards the overall revelation of 'The Woodsman' is one of subtle and delicate means, we know when the film kicks off that Walter is being released from prison, he settles into an apartment while also taking a job at a lumberyard, it's safe to say that much of the surprise can be taken out of the film especially when every description of the film now outlines the exact extent of Walters crimes. The film doesn't take pedophilia lightly, in fact Kevin Bacon never attempts to seek redemption for the error of his ways, the film instead shows how fitting back into society can prove difficult, especially when he is living across from a school. Bacon is not playing a character who is looking sympathy or remorse for what he is done, he is taking each day as it comes and letting certain individuals treat him like dirt, he takes it on the chin but continues to struggle, he believes there is a man bothering the children in the school, yet due to his past is unsure what to do about it. Two co-workers have two very different opinions of Walter, Mary-Kay (Eve) is immediately suspicious after Walter puts her down, but Vickie (Kyra Sedgwick) seems to admire the mysterious and quiet attitude of Walter, contrary to her outward and feisty personality, she consistently asks Walter what he did, but he often refuses to tell her his past. A past that cannot be accepted isn't necessarily the person at complete fault, but the crime itself. Walter tests his own desires time and time again, he shares a few moments with a young bird watcher in the park, this scene has so much weight and significance that it solidifies the film, this isn't a film to be enjoyed, but more to study and appreciate the adjustment and progression of characters, this scene in the park is awkward and testing, Walter doesn't know what to do and seems to think quickly as he attempts to defuse a situation, his parole officer (Mos Def) is the one who brings Walt back down to reality, he sees the man who went into prison for molesting young children and not much else, his brother-in-law (Benjamin Bratt) tries to see past the crime but always seems edgy and unsure, but willing to give Walter a chance.
    This isn't a sympathetic piece nor a cry for help, but it asks the audience to study a situation and vets only draw your own conclusion, yet it never paints its lead as a man who has found redemption, but simply someone who is trying to adjust to a life that has moved on without him.
  5. BillC.
    Jul 28, 2006
    A well done film on a difficult subject manner that was done without any heavy handed leanings. Kevin Bacon was fantastic in the part as was Kira Segswick. Difficult to watch in a few places , but acting don't get any better than this. Expand

See all 26 User Reviews