Love it or hate it, I guarantee you've never seen anything like this before.
The negative reviews of this film misunderstand its purpose, but also prove its success. It's not meant to have a story and it's not meant to show a realistic portrayal of poor people. It's an art film and you should think about every character and scene critically. Although it has a minor narrative, treat each scene as unrelated vignettes. As director Harmony Korine stated, it's supposed to be more like looking through an old photo album; there's no cohesive story, just moments, but when you look at your own photos as a collection you can create your own narrative from it. With very little written dialogue and only 5 actors with previous acting experience, this is simultaneously one of the most surreal and most genuine movies you will ever see.
Gummo is one of the most repellent cinematic efforts in recent memory. Whatever small audiences it attracts -- and they will be drawn mostly by the prospect of watching something "shocking" -- will wind up leaving the theater in a state of disgust. [21 Nov. 1997, p.5E]
Virtually plotless, the movie does its best to be offensive, but not in the service of any particular theme. The use of mentally impaired youngsters as actors is cheap and exploitative. You can only wonder about the emperor's new clothes, and how much Hollywood paid for them. [17 Oct. 1997, p.52]
Now I realize my confessed appreciation for Kids will thoroughly bugger my credibility in describing Gummo with phrases like “appalling,” “gratuitously cruel,” and “exploitative,” but the unmitigated repulsiveness of this film pretty much rules out all subtler options.
probably my favorite movie ever. brilliant depiction of bleakness. Harmony Korine is such a visionary in what he decides to piece together. the scene with Solomon working out to Like a Prayer is still one of my favorite scenes in any movie, it's just all very real and special. the entire movie is just natural and shows dark moments in small town America. just superbly unique in every moment.
Good and Bad I believe. Maybe. I'm still not sure. Maybe I'm not the only one to think so, but this film sickens me. I'm still trying to figure out why, and trying to figure out what the heck I just watched.
I feel like the critics shut this film off just because of its bizarre taste. Its meant to be a bizarre setting but putting it down because of that is wrong. Harmony Korine had an okay start to his career and even though he centers around a comedy that only teens will enjoy it works.
I have seen some strange things, but Gummo really takes the cake. This is a film that has no plot, simply following the lives of redneck children, as they kill cats to sell to the butcher, use duct tape to make their nipples bigger, and play the accordion while on the toilet. Somehow this film has gained a cult following and there are some people out there who will tell you they love this film. I can see how some of the scenes could be funny, but as a film, Gummo is nothing but one big stereotype, that doesn't follow any kind of storyline at all. Even more bizarre than the film, is the cast of kids, who seemingly came from nowhere. Jacob Sewell plays the bunny boy and literally walks around the entire time with nothing on but a pair of shorts and a pair of pink bunny ears, hardly saying a word. The other main actor is Nick Sutton, who has got to be the strangest looking person I've ever seen. He at least has some lines, but I really could have done without seeing the 13 year old actor getting a bath from his mother, while scarfing down food in the bathtub. Honestly, I don't know how a studio even agrees to make something like this. To me, Gummo has no artistic value whatsoever, and I suspect one would have to be on drugs to fully comprehend everything that is going on. Some weirdness comes off well for it's artistic value, but even those films have some kind of a plot that you can follow, Gummo has none of that and really offers very little that anyone can follow or even relate to.