The Talent Given Us Reviews

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Time Out
November 17, 2011
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Time Out
June 24, 2006
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Damon Smith
Time Out
October 13, 2005
Faux documentary, home movie or unexpurgated family therapy? The Talent Given Us, a funny, surprising ride with a mercurial New York clan, is all three.
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Christopher Kelly
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
October 13, 2005
[A] one-of-a-kind movie that sends the family road-trip genre happily spinning into these self-obsessed, overanalytical times; it's National Lampoon's Vacation as re-imagined by Dr. Phil.
| Original Score: B+
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Shauna Lyon
New Yorker
October 13, 2005
The notion that there is no escape from one's family is elevated-and ameliorated-by the inkling that the Wagners' story is, in fact, real.
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Tom Long
Detroit News
October 7, 2005
Ultimately, the movie isn't as strong as the idea behind the movie, or the people inside that idea.
| Original Score: C+
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
October 7, 2005
What initially seems hard to watch, even excruciating at times, becomes hard not to, a fascinating fiction that seems to be more real than just about any actual documentary you can imagine.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Jessica Reaves
Chicago Tribune
September 29, 2005
If you enjoy HBO's cult hit Curb Your Enthusiasm, you're almost guaranteed to enjoy this bawdy, heartbreaking, deeply discomfiting mockumentary.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 29, 2005
A brave, funny, affecting film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
September 23, 2005
A work of inspired, embarrassingly hilarious, uncomfortable fiction.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Houston Chronicle
September 10, 2005
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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
August 26, 2005
We're encouraged to believe that at least some of what we're hearing is a reflection of 'real' family concerns, but the film makes it impossible to tell what's genuine and what's pretend in all the soul-baring.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
August 12, 2005
Most of us really, really don't want to be a fly on the wall while somebody else's family works out its issues in interstate therapy sessions.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
July 29, 2005
It's fiction -- but it's fiction with the cutting edge of truth. It's so funny, it hurts.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
July 12, 2005
Ultimately the film's insights and observations seem not so much universal as self-absorbed and solipsistic.
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Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
July 1, 2005
It's difficult to see how this picture -- essentially chronicling a long car trip -- could mean much to anyone but the Wagners and their friends and relatives.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
June 30, 2005
The Talent Given Us appalls as much as it entertains.
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
June 29, 2005
A film of uncommon originality.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
June 20, 2005
I think it's an interesting experiment, but it was very difficult for me to make it all the way to the end.
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Scott Foundas
Variety
June 18, 2005
Brutally truthful, funny and touching in nearly equal measure, this semi-autobiographical, micro-budget road movie lacks any of the obvious bells and whistles that even indie features seem to need nowadays.
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Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
June 17, 2005
Weird and wonderful.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
June 17, 2005
Its remarkable candor is like spending a memorably hilarious, harrowing and unforgettable weekend with your wacky in-laws.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
June 16, 2005
Andrew Wagner's strange and delightful movie shouldn't work but does rather remarkably.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Dennis Lim
Village Voice
June 14, 2005
This raw, fascinating, often unpleasant film is not in the least coy about its queasy mix of exploitation and therapeutic exhibitionism.