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Rocket Science (2007)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 110
Fresh: 92 | Rotten: 18

Though Rocket Science appears to be a typically quirky indie, the well-rounded performances and director Jeffrey Blitz's clear affection for his characters gives the film its proper human spark.


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 39
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 6

Though Rocket Science appears to be a typically quirky indie, the well-rounded performances and director Jeffrey Blitz's clear affection for his characters gives the film its proper human spark.



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Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 20,536


My Rating

Movie Info

Jeffrey Blitz's seriocomedy Rocket Science proves that many a handicap can be overcome, no matter how daunting the obstacle at hand may initially seem. Newcomer Reece Thompson plays Hal Hefner, a 15-year-old high-school student with a minor yet socially alienating (and painful) disability: he stutters uncontrollably. Determined to work through the problem, Hal opts for an extreme route -- he joins the school debating team, which sends him on a headfirst plunge into breakneck speech competitions


Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Jeffrey Blitz

Jan 29, 2008


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Latest News on Rocket Science

November 28, 2007:
Spirit Award Nominees Announced
The nominations for this year's Spirit Awards are in -- and Todd Haynes might want to clear some...
August 26, 2007:
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All Critics (113) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (92) | Rotten (18) | DVD (2)

Writer-director Jeffrey Blitz brings wit and pathos to the story of a compulsive stutterer.

February 27, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a lovely, fragile movie here; if only Blitz had had the faith to let it stand on its own two feet.

September 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Blitz continues to make a case for himself as a filmmaker with rich, realistic stories to tell.

September 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The most complicated and original teenage characters we've seen in a movie in a very long time.

September 10, 2007
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The merits of Rocket Science are endlessly debatable, and this is nothing to sneeze at.

August 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Quietly written and convincingly played, this coming-of-age story mines its rueful laughs from a thick vein of performance anxiety, in both senses of the term.

August 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Well worth the wait, Rocket Science is a winning coming of age comedy with a difference.

June 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine Australasia
Empire Magazine Australasia

It's intelligent, it doesn't go for the emotional jugular, it has an honesty about it that's refreshing.

June 16, 2010 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

Here's a twist -- an American high-school movie that has a brain.

June 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Each character has his or her own lovable peculiarity--from the friend's parents who play Violent Femmes duets on the cello to the speech therapist who gives too many details about his personal life--small details that don't threaten to overshadow Hal's s

August 26, 2008 Full Review Source:

This indie-minded effort suggests a filmmaker too enamored by his influences and struggling to establish a cogent vision of his own.

July 23, 2008 Full Review Source: Screendaily

Please, enough with Napoleon Dynamite Syndrome already.

March 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington City Paper
Washington City Paper

Rocket Science is a story smothered by its own eccentricities.

February 13, 2008 Full Review Source:

Rocket Science brings the squirm-inducing comedy genre to new heights

February 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Times
Washington Times

...eventually comes off as an engaging and surprisingly affecting little drama...

January 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Debate-team teen comedy is clever, unpredictable.

October 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A witty, touching and offbeat spin on the coming-of-age genre that also offers an amusing look into the surprisingly cut-throat world of high school debating.

September 29, 2007 Full Review Source: thelondonpaper

Enjoyably offbeat comedy drama with likeable characters and a terrific script, though its relentlessly unconventional nature is ultimately frustrating.

September 29, 2007 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Lovely performances all round create small-town competitiveness, frustrations and aspirations.

September 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Blitz let the story tell itself in Spellbound; this time, he's trying too hard.

September 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Needlessly cruel comedy.

September 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

It isn't funny; it isn't touching; there's a screamingly annoying and supercilious voiceover-narration, and all its dramatic ideas are bafflingly unfinished and unresolved.

September 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian | Comments (2)

There are few directors in recent years who've captured the goofy yearning of adolescence as tenderly as Blitz.

September 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

Compared to the likes of Election and Rushmore, Blitz's film is hardly top-of-the-class, but nonetheless in Hal Hefner - partly thanks to Thompson's fine work - he has crafted an enduring cult figure who deserves a sequel all of his own.

September 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

Backed by a fine cast (including sardonic narrator Alec Baldwin), there's no argument: Blitz is a confident new voice.

September 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Audience Reviews for Rocket Science

I spent the vast majority of this movie trying to decide whether, or not, I liked it. The characters were definitely interesting, but overall I don't think that this film hit on the point that it was trying to make. Not a bad movie, just not that special.
November 8, 2011

Super Reviewer

A stutterer joins his high school debate team at the behest of a woman with whom he quickly falls in love.
Anna Kendrick, whose performance in Up in the Air showed her to be a strong if somewhat stilted actress, is nearly perfect as the debater/femme fatale in this quirky independent dramedy. And though Reece Daniel Thompson doesn't achieve a Colin Firth level of tortured stuttering, he is nonetheless compelling.
There are also some really funny and touching moments. I particularly laughed out loud at "There's now a cello in your house."
However, the narration is overbearing. There is a constant musical score dominated by quickly strummed guitar chords that make me think these were added because they're required in independent films, not because the score accentuated the storytelling. Finally, there were several moments of over-editing. Contrast Rocket Science with A King's Speech, in which the camera stayed fixed on the King as he tried to spit out his words; in Rocket Science there are needless cross cuts to reaction shots that show little reaction.
Overall, like many independent films, Rocket Science is one to watch for the performances and occasionally clever script, not for its direction.
September 9, 2011
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

I had high hopes for this one, (and even bought the damn thing before seeing it based on a good review. Grrr). Didn't do a lot for me at all. It was kind of dull and didn't find the main character particularly interesting. Disappointing.
July 20, 2010

Super Reviewer

I am a total, total sucker for these types of movies. With that in mind, I suppose it is a bit biased to say that I loved absolutely everything about this movie. It is just perfect, the script, presentation, story, everything. I really like the fact that Hal is by no means the only messed up character. Everybody is broken. It is just that his 'problem' is so visible, sets him up as an outsider. I also love the ending, and lack there of. The film ends when Hal is ready to move on. It is his own choice and realization, not the result of a big win or intense compatition. Love the soundtrack, it fitted the tone nicely. The core of the film is not wholly original. There are some basic concepts every coming of age tale needs. But overall, it seemed really fresh, it has a unique perspective and is not afraid of being light and playful. I really have no complaints or degrations to give. All around, it is maybe not rocket science, but a sweet, charming, heatbreaking film from begining to end.
June 8, 2010
Jake ....

Super Reviewer

    1. Ben Wekselbaum: You threw a cello through her window?
    2. Hal Hafner: Yeah.
    3. Ben Wekselbaum: How big was it?
    4. Hal Hafner: I think it was standard symphony size.
    – Submitted by Joey S (15 months ago)
    1. Hal Hafner: It's one of those two, love or revenge, I'm not really sure which one. But it's one of those two that made me throw a cello through somebody's window, so you figure it out.
    – Submitted by Joey S (15 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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