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Circo (2011)

tomatometer

92

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

82

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 740

My Rating

Movie Info

Aaron Schock's acclaimed film, which has appeared at many world festivals and is the most recent winner of the Jury Award at the Hampton's International Film Festival, is one of the most compelling documentaries seen in years. Set in the cinematically rich milieu of a century-old traveling circus in rural Mexico, CIRCO follows the family-run "Circo Mexico" as they struggle to stay together despite mounting debt, dwindling audiences, and a simmering family conflict. The hardscrabble founders, the

Sep 20, 2011

$77.5k

First Run Features - Official Site External Icon

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March 31, 2011:
Critics Consensus: Source Code Is Certified Fresh
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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (2) | DVD (2)

Circo takes you to the edge of human experience on a path none of this summer's superhero daredevils would ever consider taking.

July 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Circo" is an amazing feat.

June 3, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It says as much about human nature as it shows about struggling entertainers.

May 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sort of a modern-day version of "Toby Tyler," only without a frisky, mischievous Mr. Stubbs as comic relief.

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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"Circo'' offers a fascinating mix of backstage drama and family dynamics.

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In "Circo," Aaron Schock documents the fearsome labor and intense willpower it takes to keep this shoestring show on the road, and the price paid by the family that runs it.

April 14, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The colors are vivid, the acrobats nimble, the animals impressive and the hard work of Ponce and his extended family has nobility and poignancy.

May 20, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Running off and joining the circus won't seem like such a fun idea after watching Circo.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington City Paper
Washington City Paper

Circo ends somewhat arbitrarily and could benefit from a stronger conclusion, but its portrait of a lifestyle that's at once shabby and glittery is finely etched.

April 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

The real life the camera catches is naturally more dramatic and unexpected than any written scenario.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Circo is touching as a personal family story, but extraordinary as a visual document of an eroding world, thanks to Schock's second job as an amazing cinematographer.

April 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Besides documenting the life of a rural traveling family circus, Schock looks at how traditions of the past are challenged in today's world.

April 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

...the kind of documentary that brings you to a different world and lifestyle.

April 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Captivating, unflinchingly honest and poignant.

April 5, 2011 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

Circo has the succinct haunting contradiction of a good Steinbeck story, perhaps something out of Tortilla Flat.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The film engages sporadically but mostly fails to take advantage of its under-documented milieu.

April 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Undeniably beautiful and undeniably sad.

April 1, 2011 Full Review Source: IFC.com
IFC.com

Audience Reviews for Circo

Two circus movies in a row! What's next? A revival of BERSERK starring Joan Crawford? Anyhow, this one is world's apart from WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.

This beautifully filmed yet dramatically hesitant documentary about a family struggling to run their traveling circus through the small towns of Mexico plays more like a melancholy tone poem. We are so used to DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA in our documentaries anymore, that it's easy to criticize this film for leaving a lot of it offscreen. Instead, we just watch as 3 generations of a family sacrifice education, running water, and all luxurious amenities to keep their business alive. There's a warmth at play here, especially in the vibrant colors and stunning photography, but I was left with some indelibly heartbreaking images, such as a little girl crying as she is forced by her grandparents to keep practicing backflips oryoung kids erecting the circus tents day in and day out.

I was left with many questions. Too many in fact. What are the child labor laws like in Mexico? How many people actually work at this circus? Is it just the family? Because we pretty much see them doing everything, but it just seems so impossible. Have the kids ever been injured by the animals? And the story does get repetitive, which is somewhat the point. Regardless, there's something really moving in this brief (75 min.) film about a lost culture struggling to continue its legacy.
May 8, 2011
Glenn Gaylord

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