• Released
  • October 12, 2012
  • (Limited)
  • NR , 1 hr 24 min
  • Documentary
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100

Christian Science Monitor

By Peter Rainer
Photographic Memory is about the permanence and impermanence of what we choose to preserve: on film and in our heads (which is often the same thing). I would like to think that one day Adrian might look at this documentary and see it as a supreme act of paternal love.
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91

The A.V. Club

By Noel Murray
Photographic Memory is less wry and more melancholy than McElwee's earlier documentaries; it's a lot like his superb 2003 film "Bright Leaves," which was also concerned with family history and the shifting meaning of images.
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88

Slant Magazine

By Joseph Jon Lanthier
Ross McElwee is less anxious of death itself than of finally comprehending the vast faultiness of the life he's lived.
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88

New York Post

By Lou Lumenick
Utterly delightful.
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80

Time Out New York

McElwee's quietly reassuring voice dominates the film, but that doesn't mean he can't craft a magnificently eloquent image when he wants to, as in the moment when he frames Adrian, seated in a coffee shop, inside his own reflection in the shop's front window.
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80

Village Voice

By Nick Schager
Alternating between time periods and geographic locations, all of it connected by McElwee's narrated thoughts, the film proves a bracing and sometimes uncomfortable peek into private fears and regrets about mortality and missed opportunities. It's also, in its portrait of wayward Adrian, further proof that there's nothing more difficult, frustrating, messy, and insufferable than teenagerdom.
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70

The Hollywood Reporter

By Frank Scheck
The resulting journey of self-discovery is not exactly profound in its revelations, but as usual with McElwee's efforts the proceedings are enlivened by his droll, witty narration, delivered in a sonorous tone.
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65

NPR

By Ian Buckwalter
For all its obsession with the past, Photographic Memory ends in a simple, genuinely moving interaction between father and son that illustrates McElwee's discovery that memories are nice, but can't be touched and embraced as we can the present.
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60

The New York Times

By Stephen Holden
The connections made in Photographic Memory are more tentative than those found in Mr. McElwee's earlier films, which also seek answers in roundabout ways while maintaining an acute eye for light, color, space and atmosphere.
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79 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.