You have your basic family psychodrama, except there's no real heat either downstairs or up.
| Original Score: C-
Standout Olivia Harris and Parker are heart-wrenching as the vitriolic mother and neglected teen daughter.
| Original Score: 3/4
Modest in scale, it's the kind of American independent film that brings some honor to that shopworn descriptor.
| Original Score: B+
The film uses the upper-middle-class setting effectively, even as it resorts to heavy-handed symbolism and melodrama in its dour, mostly unforgiving portrait of parental dysfunction.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
A detailed, and depressing portrait of grim, forced independence. Lightened only by the sense that if these kids are learning anything, it is how to survive.
This imitation "Ice Storm" is as refreshing as a step into a puddle of slush.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Between the loaded conversations and metaphors, and the phony overlay of a children's fairy tale, The Playroom can't stop telegraphing themes and interpreting itself. There's nothing left for the audience to do.
"The Playroom" captures the malaise of mid-'70s suburbia with a merciless accuracy not seen since Ang Lee's 1997 film, "The Ice Storm."
| Original Score: 4/5
What little story there is has no sense of real life, no matter much the film pretends to be about children learning hard truths.
The Playroom jettisons all things cute, but still takes flight by portraying the characters, adult and juvenile, under direct lighting, and asking you if you care about them.
[An] open-ended affair and slightly unsatisfying for it.
| Original Score: 3/5
Sensitively wrought family drama told from the children's perspective.
Covers its own ground with tender, sympathetic honesty that is refreshing and invigorating to watch.