Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
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  1. Rich with physical and psychological texture, and boosted by Thomas Newman's muted score, Unstrung Heroes is that rare mainstream film that doesn't shout in our ear to make its points. It draws us in, subtly and gracefully, and casts a lingering charm.
  2. 100
    It is affecting, accomplished, witty, poignant and memorable.... Unstrung Heroes is one of the year's best films. [22 Sep 1995]
  3. Though Unstrung Heroes' thematic elements are uniformly strong, it is the film's treatment of Danny and Arthur that is especially impressive. [15 Sep 1995]
  4. Unstrung Heroes is a revelation. [15 Sep 1995]
  5. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Thanks to everyone involved, the movie radiates a hundred pleasures.
  6. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Unstrung Heroes, with its small, detailed brush strokes and its eye for specifics, marks Diane Keaton's directorial breakthrough. [15 Sep 1995]
  7. 88
    Unstrung Heroes is an extremely moving and surprisingly funny love sonnet to family, tolerance and the joys of individuality.... One of the best films of the year. [15 Sep 1995]
  8. 88
    Unstrung Heroes has been directed by Diane Keaton with an unusual combination of sentiment and quirky eccentricity.
  9. 88
    Keaton has crafted something rare: a screwball comedy that cuts to the heart.
  10. A warm, surprising, gently incandescent film that discreetly describes a family tragedy.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Diane Keaton, directing her first fictional feature, gets us safely through a movie that could have turned to mush at any moment.
  12. 80
    Diane Keaton's kooky sensibilities as a director are ideally suited to the sweet madness of Unstrung Heroes.
  13. 75
    There's nothing especially original about Unstrung Heroes, but the story is told with intelligence and sensitivity.
  14. Eccentricities, though they are essential to the story, nevertheless come across as too pat and planned in Unstrung Heroes. Despite my inability to dismiss the film's uncomfortable flaws, these were not so distracting that I had anything other than an enjoyable experience while watching the movie and was awash in a small puddle of tears at the end.
  15. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    The result is an imperfect but genuinely moving film.
  16. Reviewed by: Emma Cochrane
    Keaton handles her appealing ensemble, the early 60s period and child's perspective of tragedy, love and reconciliation with a sure, gentle hand.
  17. Trying for a dark-toned comedy of familial mishap, Keaton dips into the sentimental fraudulence.
  18. Unfortunately, the movie never really goes anywhere. It's all pleasant enough to watch, but you never feel that Danny and Arthur's craziness (eventually Danny is committed), Sid's stoicism, Selma's selflessness and Steven's despair coalesce to mean anything significant or illuminating.
  19. If you like your archetypes writ large and your sentiment over easy, then Unstrung Heroes is the flick for you. [15 Sep 1995]
  20. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Yet because this adaptation of Franz Lidz's childhood memoir is odd enough and even stylish enough to attract a small following, you might want to weigh my ingrained dyspepsia before electing not to see it. [15 Sep 1995]
  21. Thanks to the performers (including Andie MacDowell and John Turturro), this has a certain amount of charm and warmth, but the period ambience feels both remote and uncertain.
  22. Diane Keaton directed this ragged but lively comedy-drama from Richard LaGravenese's imaginative screenplay.
  23. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A coming-of-age piece that is slight to the point of anemia, Unstrung Heroes sports a willful eccentricity that almost immediately becomes annoying.
  24. 30
    Too much attention to art-deco detail, a meandering story that hesitates whenever it wants to touch an emotional chord, then squanders the opportunity with an eccentric line-reading or an extravagant camera angle.

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