It's a toss-up as to which is more annoying: the scatter-shot screenplay by Eric Roth or the increasingly grating lead performance by newcomer Thomas Horn.
| Original Score: D
This adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's 9/11 novel is long, shallow and unconcealed in its efforts to make you cry.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
Dull and lifeless.
| Original Score: C
An irritating 130-minute dripathon.
| Original Score: 1/5
As Oskar opines about his father's casket: "It's just an empty box". The same charge the film's guilty of.
| Original Score: D-
Stephen Daldry abandons every lick of restraint in his efforts to play the audience like a syrup-greased harp.
| Original Score: 1/4
Terribly uneven, moving in places but very frustrating in others.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
It more resembles a spindly kid running around and screaming for two hours before a hastily applied Hollywood ending shuts him up.
It might not be quite as insulting a Best Picture nominee as The Blind Side, but it's incredibly close.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Even its failure lacks distinction. It's just a well-intentioned, mediocre film: extremely self-important and incredibly tiresome.
The situation is wrenching in too many ways at once. You sit there, first cringing, then fighting back, out of primitive self-respect.
It's all extraordinarily sentimental and manipulative, weighed down by Horn's mannered, grating performance and incessant voiceover narration.
Yes, Daldry extracts a few tears in the process, but the increasing number of precious touches leaves you feeling pandered to and clumsily manipulated.
| Original Score: 2/4
Feels like a Very Special Episode of a hopelessly lightweight kids TV show, misguidedly attempting to have its say on an issue it can barely comprehend, let alone interpret.
Horn's naturalistic performance is so unmannered, expressive, and spontaneous that it almost overcomes every self-consciously precocious personality tic Foer has constructed. Almost.
| Original Score: C+
No movie has ever been able to provide a catharsis for the Holocaust, and I suspect none will ever be able to provide one for 9/11.
Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock ... Max von Sydow, Zoe Caldwell, Viola Davis, Jeffrey Wright, John Goodman... thanks for your honest efforts in the service of a fundamentally dishonest weepie.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
The production's penchant for contrivance is insufferable -- not a single spontaneous moment from start to finish -- and the boy is so precocious you want to strangle him.
Just rather dull and a little bit long.
| Original Score: 2/5