The Poker House

2008

The Poker House

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

57%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 7

65%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 24,288
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Movie Info

Actress-turned-director Lori Petty makes her feature directorial debut with this period drama set in 1976 that explores a typical day in the life of a decidedly atypical teen named Agnes. Some folks have the luxury of living each day to the fullest, but for Agnes every day is a grueling struggle for survival; her mother is strung out on drugs, her home has been overrun by degenerates, and her only father figure is a pimp. For Agnes and her two younger sisters, this particular day will be marked by both tragedy and triumph, but which will resonate most in the days and weeks to follow? Selma Blair, Bokeem Woodbine, and David Alan Grier star. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Poker House

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (4)

  • While the film has strong moments and performances, it illustrates the dangers of overly personal filmmaking.

    Nov 17, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Overall, the pacing feels languid to the point of meandering, relying too heavily on old soul records (and a final eight-track sing-along) for momentum and energy.

    Nov 17, 2014 | Full Review…

    Peter Debruge

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Regardless of whether the film is all fiction or all true or a mix, it has a ring of truth about it strong enough to sustain a defy-all-odds finish.

    Jul 20, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The Poker House is one of the most personal, wounded films in years. That it is also one of the most confused reflects how deeply it springs from the psyche of its director.

    Jul 16, 2009 | Full Review…
  • The movie seemed to point a finger at its own audience and scold it for its ignorance of this problem and apparent unwillingness to help.

    Mar 2, 2011 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • One of those autobiographical films... like Running With Scissors... that shows how children can survive and even prosper emotionally, spiritually (eventually) despite a ghastly childhood

    Dec 12, 2009 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Poker House

  • Dec 20, 2012
    Lori Petty's autobiographical directorial debut is a moving one, told in a very intimate way. The film revolves around the tumultuous 'home' life of three sisters, who are forced to confront drugs, prostitution, pimps, alcoholism, and degenerate gambling on a daily basis. The story is told uniquely in that it follows each of the sisters interchangeably, from different narrative standpoints, and with different tones and styles. This works on some levels, as we see how each sister deals with her own situation, yet the film does occasionally feel disjointed from its other parts. The acting is quite strong all around, with an especially moving performance by Jennifer Lawrence. It is her character's struggle, underscored by her amazing portrayal, that really elevates the film to a solid dramatic piece. The one real issue with the film is the lack of concrete back-story. The plot is too confined with the current moment, and not enough attention is given to the overall big picture. We are left wanting to know more, how exactly did this situation come to be, and how did the people involved evolve to this point? While not perfect, it's definitely worth watching, with a moving story at it's center. 3.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 20, 2012
    The Poker House was a great movie. I thought it had some great potential for it to be nearly perfect movie. I remembered seeing this movie on Showtime in 2011, and I didn't knew Jennifer Lawrence was in it, until I checked on Netflix to see what other movies she starred in before The Hunger Games (Which is a great movie). This has got to be her best performance that I've ever experienced seeing from her. I wish I could go back in time and search this movie myself, so I could be a fan of her work as a teenager. Well after finishing this movie, it made me love her even more. The plot talks about a 14 year old girl living with her mother, who's a drug addict, and a pimp, who appears to be her "father figure." She struggle to get out of there, in order to live in a happy, fufilling live, and she plans to take her two sisters with her, so they can be happy too. The story, although there were a little bitty flaws within it, was pretty interesting. While it's a gritty film, some of the segments here makes you want to feel good about yourself. The dialogue were well-written, although there were some that either needed to be improved better, or it just needed more to flow better. Unless many of you agree with me, you don't have to take my word for it. Overall, I thought it had a great dialogue and monologues that get us to think. I recommed this to any fan of Jennifer Lawrence. Even if you're not into gritty movies, this is really a must see. It wouldn't hurt to give this a chance, just to see Lawrence's earlier role.
    Giovanni C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 15, 2012
    The script is pretty mediocre and the ending leaves a few questions unanswered, but this drama packs an emotional punch and a few very powerful scenes that make it a decent watch. It's not a great movie by any means, but it's good enough, and it's worth watching if only to hear Jennifer Lawrence and Chloe Moretz sing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" at the end.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 05, 2011
    It becomes apparent very early on that Jennifer Lawrence has the wear-with-all to stick around as an actress for a long time coming. Her poise and delivery at such a young, inexperienced age rivals most adult actresses that I have witnessed. Chloe Moretz also outshines all the adults in this film and though I feel many of her best moments are happy accidents coming from a child, her talent cannot be denied.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer

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