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Circo (2011)


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 26
Fresh: 24
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

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

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 740



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 … More

Documentary , Drama , Art House & International , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
Mark Becker , Aaron Schock
In Theaters:
Sep 20, 2011
Box Office:
First Run Features - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Circo

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.

Full Review… | July 22, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

"Circo" is an amazing feat.

Full Review… | June 3, 2011
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 19, 2011
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 21, 2011
Seattle Times
Top Critic

"Circo'' offers a fascinating mix of backstage drama and family dynamics.

Full Review… | April 21, 2011
Boston Globe
Top 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.

Full Review… | April 14, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2011
St. Paul Pioneer Press

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

Full Review… | May 6, 2011
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.

Full Review… | April 29, 2011
Austin Chronicle

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

Full Review… | April 28, 2011
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.

Full Review… | April 20, 2011
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.

Full Review… | April 14, 2011
Reeling Reviews

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

Full Review… | April 13, 2011
Reeling Reviews

Captivating, unflinchingly honest and poignant.

Full Review… | April 5, 2011
NYC Movie Guru

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

Full Review… | April 4, 2011
Slant Magazine

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

Full Review… | April 2, 2011
Boxoffice Magazine

Undeniably beautiful and undeniably sad.

Full Review… | April 1, 2011

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.

Glenn Gaylord
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer

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