Bombay Beach (2011)
Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 8
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 3
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 328
True to her roots as a photographer, video artist, and music video director, Alma Har'el crafts an adamantly atypical and artistically innovative film telling the story of of three protagonists: Benny Parrish, a young boy diagnosed with bipolar disorder whose troubled soul and vivid imagination create both suffering and joy for him and his complex and loving family. CeeJay Thompson, a black teenager and aspiring football player who has taken refuge in Bombay Beach hoping to avoid the same fate
Oct 14, 2011 Limited
Jan 16, 2012
Focus World - Official Site
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Har'el's film is at times bizarrely uplifting, at others crushingly sad...
That it documents rural poverty in the American West without exploiting or sanctifying its subjects would be cause enough for praise. But this doesn't begin to approach what Alma Har'el pulls off with her hybrid doc knockout Bombay Beach.
You either like this kind of ambitious, brave, borderless experiment or you don't, and I think it's absolutely magical and tragic.
While stand-alone scenes leave strong impressions, the recurring strands simply aren't compelling
Off the deep end of poverty porn, there seems little good to be had from this gritty tour of a destitute corner of America.
A compelling, highly self-conscious documentary, it's involving, mystifying, unpatronising and carefully orchestrated.
Har'el seems to tell us that nobody can be completely defeated, even by the most unfortunate circumstances.
Director Alma Har'el has fused the small-town documentary with a music video sensibility to create something breathtakingly original and genuinely beautiful.
Drifts in and out of reality and leaves your head somewhere in between.
While candidly exploring the hard lives of the characters and their families, the film earns an extra star from some inspired moments of magical realism, with one scene involving a child, a fire engine and a Bob Dylan tune that'll make your spine tingle.
It's a rich slice of Americana, and there's a great soundtrack from musicians including Bob Dylan.
This startling documentary explores a part of America few even want to admit exists: a place designed as a paradise that has instead become an almost apocalyptic wasteland populated by people who have fallen out of society.
The story tells itself, making plenty of room for an artistic flair and injection of sound that elevate the film from a simple documentary to an artistic exploration.
The fact that Alma Har'el is still stuck in music video director mode makes for an interesting new breed of documentary.
Quirky, moving and unique, it's a haunting bedside view of the place the American Dream went to die.
Alma Har'el magical and poetical film Bombay Beach is an enchanting documentary hybrid, beautifully capturing the realities and the dreams of those intriguingly oddball folk who live in the faded and rather surreal California community by the Salton Sea.
[T]he moody film is a compassionate portrait, [but] wanders around the mostly downtrodden too much, even with brief flashes of optimism.
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