Boy A 2007

Critics score:
88 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Although the screenplay tips our sympathies wholly in the young man's direction, it's cleverly structured to reveal the particulars of the long-ago crime, and what led up to it, in flashback. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: This is another of those dead-kid dramas in which the terrible event is handled like a striptease -- tantalizing flashes until the climax. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: The movie is taut with suspense but culminates in wise resignation as the hero comes to understand he's running from a part of himself. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: A small, huge film about the harsh realities of rehabilitation, and the shimmering possibility of redemption. Read more

John Hartl, Seattle Times: Boy A is one of those rare movies that takes the idea of rehabilitation seriously. In the end, it may present a worst-case scenario, but it does so with unusual depth and conviction. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: We're introduced to more string-pulling symbolism than a movie this inherently sad ever needs. It's too much. Read more

Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times: An absorbing, finely nuanced morality tale. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: It makes us feel sympathy for the devil. Read more

Entertainment Weekly: Read more

Tom Maurstad, Dallas Morning News: There are some gaps in the movie's reality, and some O. Henry-like contrivances, but the masterful trick Boy A plays on viewers is to get them to care before giving them reasons not to. Read more

Ernest Hardy, L.A. Weekly: Crowley, his cast and the script constantly reveal new layers to the characters, preventing simple labels like 'hero' or 'villain.' These people are all cringingly human. Read more

Bob Mondello, Carefully calibrated to explore the solitariness of a character who cannot let himself be known ... Turns Boy A's very particular story into a scary, universal and wrenching social statement. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: If Hitchcock had done a coming-of-age drama, it might have resembled this haunting, nervous, sad movie. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Well-acted but familiar. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: Along with Garfield and the splendid Scottish actor Mullan, Crowley brings great tact to this bruising saga of atonement and moral regeneration. Though a bad seed can bring forth good fruit, will others want to pick it? Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Mullen and Garfield fit well together -- both have faces you like on first sight, both have charm, both have warmth. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Ambitious both as to structure and theme, and riveting in mood. Read more

Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle: In tandem, the director and screenwriter build up a palpable suspense. Boy A will rivet you while raising issues about forgiveness and just who deserves it. Read more

Christy DeSmith, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Director John Crowley, a veteran Irish theater director now working in film, is deliberate with every last element of his film. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Kamal Al-Solaylee, Globe and Mail: Even its structurally weaker moments give Garfield an opportunity to expand on Jack's physical and mental dislocation. Given Boy A's final floating reel, it's an anchoring performance in every sense of the word. Read more

David Fear, Time Out: Read more

Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic: Crowley gets a remarkable performance from Andrew Garfield: his Jack is a person who carries guilt with him even when he is trying to override it. Read more

Joe Leydon, Variety: Inspires respect for its first-rate performances, artful construction and meticulous understatement. Read more