The Basketball Diaries Reviews

Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
March 26, 2009
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
March 24, 2008
For those few soul-freezing moments, you get a glimpse of the great actor Leonardo DiCaprio is going to be.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
March 24, 2008
Significantly, the movie keeps the hero's reformation offscreen as well as unexplained; it's more interested in shock effects than in candor or elucidation.
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Time Out
January 26, 2006
The angel-faced DiCaprio is a gifted actor, but he lacks the authority and physical presence to keep us with him.
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Janet Maslin
New York Times
August 30, 2004
The star shines, but the movie is hard to watch.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 12, 2001
You leave The Basketball Diaries believing that Leonardo DiCaprio can do anything.
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
February 13, 2001
Although it masquerades as a cautionary tale about the horrors of heroin, this epic of teen-age angst is more accurately seen as a reverential wallow in the gutter of self-absorption.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 1, 2000
Facile escapes are rejected, and the resolution is acceptable because we can believe it. In fact, that's the reason this film works as well as it does: credibility.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Hal Hinson
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
DiCaprio goes as far into the hell of drug abuse as any actor ever has -- and comes out a star.
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Joe Brown
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
A movie for masochists, an unrelentingly ugly 'Just Say No' propaganda movie, it might have been bankrolled by Nancy Reagan.
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Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
January 1, 2000
Amazingly, though, even with Kalvert's lack of style and vision, the greatness of DiCaprio's performance is undiminished.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
Will there ever be a market for a movie about a character who hurries past his drug phase because he can't wait to tell you what he did after he pulled his act together? Probably not.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Mike Clark
USA Today
January 1, 2000
DiCaprio has so much presence that he almost saves the day, but this is a movie that'll make you want to opt for Jim Carrey's The Basketball Diaries.
| Original Score: 2/4