San Francisco Chronicle

By Ruthe Stein
One of very few films to accurately portray the experience of growing up male.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Although the talent of a kid with the last name of Culkin may not, at this point, register as such a novelty -- Rory follows brothers Macaulay and Kieran -- there is something precociously mature but natural about the work of this youngest Culkin sibling that stands apart.
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The Hollywood Reporter

Intelligent, universal tale.
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Boston Globe

By Janice Page
Adults should find its simmering drama at least as compelling as teens will, even if parental figures are only slightly more present here than in a " Peanuts" comic strip.
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By James Berardinelli
By entering such fertile, intellectually stimulating and psychologically rich territory, Estes provides us with a freshman feature that is far beyond the generic coming-of-age tale Mean Creek initially seems to be.
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New York Daily News

By Jami Bernard
A welcome departure from typical movies about teens, wherein their problems are external (the prom, status). Mean Creek is an adult movie that just happens to star young actors.
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Philadelphia Inquirer

By Steven Rea
Has a jumpy, reality-TV kind of feel that adds to the story's sense of unsettling authenticity.
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
The final act of the film is extraordinary. How unusual it is to see kids this age in the movies seriously debating moral rights and wrongs and considering the consequences of their actions.
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USA Today

By Mike Clark
A promising debut by young writer/director Jacob Estes, this story of a botched revenge plot still isn't likely to break out even in multiplex August dog days.
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Wall Street Journal

As in most movies of this sort from "Rebel Without a Cause" to "West Side Story" to last year's "Thirteen," adults are marginalized, clueless or absent. I'm with them.
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74 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.