Worth watching for the coming-out party of Agnes Bruckner, a relative newcomer who shows her mettle with an extraordinary performance in this very ordinary tear-jerker.
| Original Score: 3/5
An impressive first effort from Ms. Moncrieff, but the eternal Aristotelian in me finds it depressing to watch characters always walking around in moral quicksand.
A well-intentioned coming-of-age film anchored by two indelible performances but weakened by an overabundance of drama.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
The film is strengthened by the two leading performances.
We've seen this unhappy scenario played out many times before, but seldom with a better eye for detail.
Certainly no feel-good flick of the summer. But it's always tough and honest.
It's rare that a movie makes a viewer experience the psychodynamics of an encounter so profoundly -- usually theater is a better medium for that -- but Moncrieff has exceptional skills.
| Original Score: 3/4
The story is so well-acted and honestly written that after a while it stops bothering us that we know where it's going.
| Original Score: B
It's that central dance between teacher and student that makes the movie both hard to watch and worth your attention -- a subtle waltz of power in which it's difficult to tell who's leading until too late.
| Original Score: 3/4
It's a writer-director's important debut and a giant leap to leading roles for a brave actress.
| Original Score: B-
As bitterness piles upon disappointment piles upon loneliness, Blue Car stalls under the weight of its emotional baggage.
I didn't like Blue Car, and the only thing I found appalling is how blatantly predicable and pseudo-daring the supposedly appalling stuff is.
| Original Score: D+
A coming-of-age tale acted with such honesty, and directed with such quiet understanding of its troubled characters, that its nearly unrelenting grimness takes on a poetic quality.
From the rain-streaked windshield to the unaffected line readings from a stellar cast, there is not a shot in Blue Car that doesn't ring true.
Blue Car isn't an easy ride, but it's worth taking.
| Original Score: B
A valuable cautionary tale.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
A beautifully crafted and painfully sincere movie that makes most dramas about teenagers seem about as real and relevant as American Pie.
Thanks to Bruckner and Strathairn, who's queasy beyond the call of duty, this is one indie that resonates well beyond the end credits.
For the most part, Blue Car succeeds in fulfilling Meg's assignment to 'touch the hidden nerve.'
It's rare that a first-time director demonstrates such a sure hand, but Moncrieff is the real deal.
| Original Score: 4/5
The movie unfolds, wobbling between scenes that feel fresh and genuine and others that feel seriously overfreighted with ethical judgments.
... this film is so smart ...
A cozy, well-made vehicle without the capacity to carry everything that writer-director Karen Moncrieff piles into it.
A fine first film, and one you won't easily forget.
An unflinchingly honest coming-of-age portrait.
A most impressive writing and directing debut for Karen Moncrieff.
Has the feel of a novel in which the characters linger in one's memory well after the book has been read.
Even with its drawbacks, Blue Car remains an intimate, thoughtful drama, with a performance no one is likely to forget.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Intimate, honest, if occasionally contrived.
A quietly devastating song for our lonely age.
Ms. Moncrieff's mature direction distills nuanced performances from her actors to tell a well-balanced, compelling and enlightening story with refreshing candor.
Strathairn's portrayal of a flawed man is so moving and Bruckner's Meg so painfully true -- a breakthrough performance -- that thoughts of Lolita are left far behind.
| Original Score: A
A teacher-student tangle that uses its So-Called Lifeness as a beard for interactions that veer from everyday surreal to hauntingly injurious.
Strathairn works miracles by finding the humanity in a deeply flawed man. And Bruckner is an amazement, piercing the heart without begging for sympathy.
Handles a difficult subject with an admirable mixture of sensitivity and frankness.