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Young Adam (2004)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 119
Fresh: 74 | Rotten: 45

A grim mood piece with good performances from the leads.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 12

A grim mood piece with good performances from the leads.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 8,287

My Rating

Movie Info

The corpse of a young woman is found floating in a canal by a drifter working on a barge traveling between Glasgow and Edinburgh. His relationship with the dead woman gradually unfolds as claustrophobic tensions develop between him and the couple with whom he shares the cramped barge.

Sep 14, 2004


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Latest News on Young Adam

August 27, 2007:
RT talks to Hallam Foe helmer David Mackenzie
The Brit director introduces us to his "teen gothic fairytale."
August 26, 2007:
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All Critics (131) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (74) | Rotten (45) | DVD (15)

Whether you're talking about Young Adam the movie or young Adam the character, neither is very likable.

June 10, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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Young Adam haunts like a loyalty betrayed or a secret never revealed.

May 28, 2004 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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The narrative, with its provocative flashbacks, is just interesting enough to propel the movie forward.

May 28, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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A movie that seems to think it's more interesting than it really is.

May 28, 2004
Detroit News
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Mackenzie shoots the ensuing tryst with more fidelity than it deserves or needs.

May 28, 2004 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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Grimly arresting.

May 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Watching this film, one gets the sense of a once-arresting book that couldn't get arrested today.

March 27, 2014 Full Review Source: MetroActive

nudity is perhaps the only intriguing element in this ponderous and torpid story about Joe (McGregor), a young drifter who takes work on a barge operated by a husband and wife (Peter Mullan and Tilda Swinton) after the mysterious death of his ex-girlfrien

May 5, 2009 Full Review Source:

... a sepia-toned dirge of a film, pointedly sluggish and crabbed

January 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

I was much impressed with this superbly performed and tightly scripted noirish period drama.

September 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Where it's disturbing is in McGregor's challenging, defiant performance...

September 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

The story's drab, attention-span-testing pace makes it tough to keep wondering what dark secrets shuffle beneath the surface.

July 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

A humorless and dank display of ashcan angst that leaves you wishing theater restrooms had shower facilities.

June 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

A movie that delights in creating atmosphere at the expense of dialogue, and its effectiveness is testament to the genius of the performances.

June 25, 2004
Jam! Movies

Young Adam" is a study in contrasts. It's a movie full of explicit sex scenes and almost no passion, and it's a beautiful-looking film with a very ugly soul at its center.

June 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

An amoral and boring affair, beautifully filmed but empty at its core.

June 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Des Moines Register
Des Moines Register

The movie ladles out its atmosphere of quiet dread admirably, but atmosphere alone seldom makes a film watchable. This one is too sour in its attitude and vague in its ideas.

June 12, 2004 Full Review Source:

The filmgoing experience is just short of torture.

June 11, 2004 Full Review

A bleak, static portrait of stilted, stunted lives.

June 10, 2004
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A brooding, smoldering study of sexual intensity grittily realized by McGregor, Swinton, and Mullan who slip, almost unnoticed, into these roles and make them their own.

June 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Boeuf
Movie Boeuf

A brave film.

June 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

A rather sullen, somber, moody dramatic thriller that is insufferably dour, dark and depressing.

June 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

As potent as those [sex] scenes are, ... they add up to so very little, squandering their ferocity and the cast's talent.

June 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Naked bodies and raw emotions rub against each other with equally sad results...

May 31, 2004
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Audience Reviews for Young Adam

young adam does aim highly but it fails silently in a quite mediocre way. okay, so it's about a young bargeman who discovers some dead woman's body by the barge with the elder bargeman who rents him the little room on the barge...then next thing is he's shagging the bargeman's wife then he follows his dick over every female he encounters as long as she's got a puss. it turns out the dead woman is his ex-girlfriend who just falls off to the bay after having some reminscent sex with him under the trunk, and it was very dark, so dark that he couldn't find her. then he throws all her accessories away then escape the scene. what follows next is another man takes the blame for him, and he doesn't have the nerve to stand out and take the risk of being accused of murder. he writes some anonymous letter to the judge about the truth, which doesn't help. this coward tosses away the last piece of remains of his former-lover and walks away.

i watched it because of its notoriety of having notorious tagged as nc-17 due to the cunniligus scene and the frontal shot of ewan mcgregor's privacy (which has had its celluiod appearance in velvet goldmine and the pillow book)....and what's the point about young adam, who is a former writer-wanna-be, a bum who's been fed by his girlfriend but refuses to marry her, the guy who bestows his sex on every-woman who lay eyes on him as if it's some sort of gratuitous boy-scout services..maybe IF adam eventually goes to the police or the judge to reveal the truth...there might be some melodramatic tension added to redeem this picture. but he just sits there as a guilty bystander and let a man get hung.

the path of the movie runs also quite slow. and the sex scenes are plain depsite in one scene, ewan macgregor tries to do what marlon brando does in "last tango in paris" to showcase some brutish magnetism by throwing a custard over naked woman then performs the the fonication behind...but the result is just you see a man tries to pose as brando-ish sexpot and it's not stirring at all. the sexs are menchanical without passion or antagonism but abscent-minded easy virtues. just absurd, and no spark. definitely not sexy.

nc-17 is SO wasted on this film....even the trashy "show girl" has something more fun and watchable depsite its blatant cheesy stupidity.
July 13, 2010
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

A well appreciated film all around it seems, yet I found the story to be very slow moving. The interest no doubt, heightened with the nudity and bed-hopping of Ewan Mcgregor?s character, whilst the story itself is an interesting one, I feel this could have been condensed somewhat and was very underwhelmed by it?s ending.
December 22, 2009

Super Reviewer

I was disanointed by this film to be honest. It started out as an intriguing thriller but soon just turned into a disturbing sex film. Peter Mullan is a great actor and his talents are wasted in this film and the custard sex scene was just wrong!
September 17, 2009

Super Reviewer

    1. Joe Taylor: We run our course.
    – Submitted by Frances H (14 months ago)
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