Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The intimate, home video footage -- which has never been shown -- feels poignant, a throwback to Basquiat's early days on the New York scene when he got by on his good looks, an elusive inner confidence, and the generosity of others.
Dallas Morning News:
While it is wonderful to see so many Basquiat paintings, at the film's end the viewer is left feeling complicit in the exploitation.
Los Angeles Times:
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child is a remarkably rich documentary possessing depth, range, insight and compassion.
New York Times:
If The Radiant Child embellishes the legend in a hundred small ways, its cleverest maneuver is to keep its subject at enough of a remove to enhance his mystique.
San Francisco Chronicle:
[Davis] underplays the place of drugs in the downtown club scene, treating the artist's heroin use as a nearly unaccountable late affliction.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
In the end the art must speak for the artist; Davis wisely stands aside and lets the magical images tell their tales.
Globe and Mail:
Tamra Davis's documentary does serve as a worthy companion to Julian Schnabel's 1996 biopic.
The legend of the artist's meteoric rise and fall (to heroin) is so widely known -- and already dramatized via Julian Schnabel's fine biopic, Basquiat -- that Davis is smart to go as personal as she can.
Tamra Davis' labor of love... is a tender ode from one friend to another, but it's also another wheel in the hype machine that persists around the late, famed painter who blew apart the art scene in the 1980s.
[Davis'] homage -- tender, never hagiographic -- also contains some biting analysis of the racism, both overt and insidious, that the artist was up against.