Nobel Son (2008)



Critic Consensus: Despite the best efforts of a strong cast, Nobel Son is over-plotted and self-consciously odd.

Nobel Son Videos

Nobel Son Photos

Movie Info

A young man's moment of triumph is spoiled when he gets kidnapped before he can impress his father in this black comedy. Eli Michaelson (Alan Rickman), a well-respected scientist, has learned that he's won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, which is a mixed blessing for his friends and family; while Eli's ego is a bit strong under the best of circumstances, this affirmation of his talent and intelligence has made him insufferable. Eli's wife, Sarah (Mary Steenburgen), a talented forensic psychiatrist, is more than annoyed by Eli's fondness for extramarital affairs (and lack of concern about hiding them), while his son, Barkley (Bryan Greenberg), has spent much of his life struggling to live up to his dad's expectations, with little success. Barkley is about to receive his Ph.D, just in time for his father's prize ceremony, when he's abducted by a pair of hapless crooks. The kidnappers demand Eli's two-million-dollar Nobel honorarium in exchange for Barkley's safe return. Also starring Bill Pullman, Danny DeVito, Eliza Dushku, and Shawn Hatosy, Nobel Son received its world premiere at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
PG-13 (for violence, language, some sexuality and nudity)
Comedy , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Box Office:

Watch it now


Alan Rickman
as Eli Michaelson
Bill Pullman
as Max Mariner
Bryan Greenberg
as Barkley Michaelson
Mary Steenburgen
as Sarah Michaelson
Shawn Hatosy
as Thaddeus James
Eliza Dushku
as City Hall
Danny DeVito
as Gastner
Ted Danson
as Harvey Parrish
Ernie Hudson
as Lasasso
Tracey Walter
as Simon Ahrens
Kevin West
as Jaundice
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Nobel Son

Critic Reviews for Nobel Son

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (27)

Is it a thriller? Is it a heist movie? Is it a comedy?

Full Review… | December 8, 2008
At the Movies
Top Critic

I had high hopes for Nobel Son at the halfway point, but it ultimately really completely collapses under the weight of its clever twists.

December 8, 2008
At the Movies
Top Critic

The plot twists are mostly predicated on the characters' improbably shifting loyalties, the sort of thing you can get away with only when the people in your movie are drained of all compassion.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's one of those films stuffed with odd characters in overblown situations. Unfortunately, you don't care about any of them.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Detroit News
Top Critic

Even if you can summon some admiration for Nobel Son's editing or snippets of clever dialogue, the movie is so relentlessly self-congratulatory, you can't help becoming thoroughly sick of it.

December 5, 2008
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Only when Nobel Son stops trying so hard does it have any appeal at all.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Nobel Son


Nobel Son is a well thought black comedy with a great cast and directing. I really enjoyed the film because it offers up a good idea for a movie, and with a fine lead performance from Alan Rickman, who always is best as playing characters that are arrogant. This is a smart film with a great cast, a clever script and great directing. The plot is well structured and it is an entertaining film that is smart and funny, something that is rare to see in comedies because everyone wants the same old tiresome humor. Nobel Son is a film that will certainly appeal to viewers looking for a different type of comedy, and with a cast like this, you can be thoroughly engaged into the story, its characters and what is going on on-screen. This is one of those rare films that succeed at creating something really original and combining it with a well layered plot. I really loved the film, and it is a fine independent production due to Rickman's performance which really stands out. I wish more films like this would get a wider release because in today's comedy genre, nearly every comedy tends to recycle the same dull material, which ends up falling flat. Nobel Son has its imperfections, but it is worth seeing if you enjoy these types of Black comedies. With a great cast at hand, this is a highly entertaining film that combines serious elements with the not so serious to create one of the better films in the genre. This film is really a treat for film fans that enjoy independent productions such as this.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

This movie, gets three stars purely for Rickman as he is awesome! Like everything that Alan Rickman is in he also proves to be a phenomenal actor even if the script and plot of the movie isnt up to scratch! Being a huge Alan Rickman fan i absolutely loved this movie, i was wishing that he was my professor that i could have an affair with however that aside the story itself is a bit over-ambitious! Your given a straight forward plot that gives you laughs and enjoyment but then the story goes somewhere completely else and gets a little bit harder to keep up as the plot delves into sub plots and a whole new direction in the last half of the movie! Although its a movie you can understand and follow you are left bewildered as to why they took that direction towards the end, and possibly there could have been a more satisfying ending! Its a good cast Alan Rickman is awesome and i love the American Accent hes putting on it makes him even more sexy! He's great and the supporting cast have their moments but the movie as a whole is a little disappointing. Rickman fans will enjoy this movie though!

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

"There is more barbarity in eating a man alive than in eating him dead." Barkley Michaelson is in a deep life rut. He's struggling to finish his PhD thesis when his father, the learned Eli Michaelson, wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

This is a perfect indie film with a bizarre script with endless twists and turns, excellent actors in quirky, often off-putting roles, a loud, funky soundtrack, and a pace that's so quick you'll need to see the movie twice to absorb it all. The ensemble cast is headed by Alan Rickman at his sarcastic best, wallowing happily in his role as a heartless husband and father. He's wonderful. Steenburgen's role is never fully explained; why would she stay married to such a beast? Bill Pullman is great as the cop who investigates the kidnapping. He's sympathetic, professional, and ultra-creepy all at the same time. Bryan Greenberg is good as the kidnap victim. Danny de Vito and Ted Danson round out the cast in small parts. The exciting script will keep you guessing and the acting is top-notch. Recommended.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

Nobel Son Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Nobel Son on our Movie forum!

News & Features