Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 29
  2. Negative: 2 out of 29
  1. One of the many stylistic distinctions of this outwardly modest production is the complex voice that the filmmaker has found for his young hero.
  2. 75
    The film is warm and intriguing, and he (Valentin) is the engine that pulls us through it. We care about what happens to him; high praise.
  3. 75
    Valentin is cut from the Woody Allen school of movie kids. With oversized black glasses and small-size suits, he is the total know-it-all package, right down to his insightful voice-over.
  4. 75
    Never becomes cloying, because although Agresti does not lose sight of the great sadness at the center of his tale, he resists the temptation to overplay its bigger moments.
  5. Can be enjoyed if you don't mind a little manipulation.
  6. With charm to spare, Valentin fuses nostalgia and humor in an episodic story whose ultimate focus is the birth of a writer.
  7. 70
    Quietly, with pathos and tinges of melancholy humor, Valentin pays homage to the heroism of creating your own world when the one that's on offer breaks your heart.
  8. 67
    The character of Valentin is immediately recognizable to anyone who's gone to more than 20 films in their lives -- charming, cuddly, hellbent on making his world tolerable -- but to his credit both Noya and Agresti don't overplay their hand.
  9. The film is uniformly well cast, directed (by Alejandro Agresti, who also plays Valentin's father) with a certain flair and a good eye for the nuances of Buenos Aires. I found it light, agreeably short (86 minutes) and mostly quite enjoyable.
  10. Noya is a natural actor, and there are genuinely sweet moments between him and the adults. So, why did Agresti feel the need to pour so much added sugar down our throats?
  11. Sweet, often poignant little film.
  12. Heartfelt and artfully shot, the movie - with little Rodrigo Noya, wearing big eyeglasses, in the title role - is too sweet for its own good, even as some of its characters do things that aren't terribly sweet at all.
  13. 63
    As a whole, Valentin is a moderately entertaining motion picture, but the lack of a satisfying sense of closure dims its appeal.
  14. A well-cast drama that switches between sweetness and menace, the film goes down easily, thanks to a talented cast.
  15. His constant chatter may grate, but Noya does the wide-eyed wonderment thing very well.
  16. 60
    Agresti has more on his mind than tugging at heartstrings.
  17. Agresti fattens us up with the kind of kid's-eye-view tragi-comic adventures that regularly supply empty calories in artificially sweetened foreign-language imports.
  18. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The wrap-up feels tacked-on and too good to be true, with emotions the story really hasn't earned.
  19. 50
    Narrated from start to close by an 8-year-old, it often seems like a coloring book on tape.
  20. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Argentinean director Alejandro Agresti's own specs are rose-colored. This loosely autobiographical tale feels inorganically upbeat, with all potentially upsetting material glossed over or truncated.
  21. Essentially this is a pale imitation of "My Life as a Dog" or "Cinema Paradiso." It means well, but it's only a "feel-good" experience if your concept of that term involves being jerked around and doused in sap.
  22. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    The choice to have Valentin narrate the tale and make philosophical observations beyond his years becomes irritating at times; ditto the cartoon humor.
  23. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    While there's little to be gained from over-critiquing a child's performance, it must be said that director Alejandro Agresti badly miscalculates the appeal of his young star; the fact he not only dominates each scene but provides the film's narration means there's not getting away from young Noya.
  24. 40
    The characters in the Argentinean heart-warmer Valentín spend so much time squabbling and yelling that after a while I began to long for a nice movie about a family of mutes.
  25. 40
    It's not that Noya is bad as kid actors go, but a pair of dewy, crossed eyes and a beyond-his-years melancholy do not an entire movie make.
  26. 40
    It takes mere seconds for every charming moment to go from "Ahhh..." to "Aarrggh!"
  27. 40
    The film feels authentic only during the scenes between Valentín and his selfish, angry father.
  28. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Agresti's just out to give us a sentimental good time. Which some people, heaven help us, will have -- while the rest of us choke on the cutesiness.
  29. The kid chews up the scenery like a baby T-Rex, egged on, no doubt, by director Agresti.

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