Blue Car (2003)



Critic Consensus: A cautionary tale that rings true.

Blue Car Videos

Blue Car Photos

Movie Info

A young woman uses art to make sense of her anxieties in life, only to find that doesn't mean she can leave them behind, in this emotional drama. Meg (Agnes Bruckner) is a bright but troubled teenager who has essentially been forced into the position of head of the household; her father has abandoned the family, and her mother (Margaret Colin), struggling to support two children, has emotionally shut herself off from her daughters, leaving Meg to raise her younger sister Lily (Regan Arnold). Meg has a talent for writing and a desire to become a novelist; one of her teachers, Mr. Auster (David Strathairn) senses Meg has talent as a poet, and encourages her to write verse. With her dysfunctional family providing inspiration for her work, Meg finds that poetry gives her a voice to communicate her unhappiness at home, and Auster urges her to continue with her work, helping to enter her work in a competition for young poets. Meg's work is accepted into the finals, but her situation at home grows steadily worse; Meg's mother has become openly combative with her, and Lily is beginning to collapse from the strain. Forbidden by her mother to attend the final readings for the poetry competition, Meg sneaks off and travels to Florida with Auster, only to discover he carries a full load of emotional baggage himself. Blue Car was the debut feature from writer and director Karen Moncrieff; it won an enthusiastic reception in its screenings at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.
R (for sexual content and language)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

Watch it now


Sarah Beuhler
as Georgia
Sarah Buehler
as Georgia
Aftab Pureval
as Boy in Class
Wendy Lardin
as Georgia's Mom
Jenn O'nofrio
as Blonde Girl
Michael Raysses
as Mr. Kastran
Amy Benedict
as Diner Waitress
Jaime Scheingross
as Girl in the Yellow Dress
Julie Schuster
as Bank Teller
Jane Mowder
as Nurse
David Carroll
as Department Store Manager
Jacqueline Childs
as Pharmacist
Jeff Gage
as Pawn Shop Owner
Kristan Andrews
as Florida Oasis Cocktail Waitress
Peer J. Oppenheimer
as Diner Customer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Blue Car

Critic Reviews for Blue Car

All Critics (85) | Top Critics (35)

Worth watching for the coming-out party of Agnes Bruckner, a relative newcomer who shows her mettle with an extraordinary performance in this very ordinary tear-jerker.

June 12, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

An impressive first effort from Ms. Moncrieff, but the eternal Aristotelian in me finds it depressing to watch characters always walking around in moral quicksand.

Full Review… | June 11, 2003
New York Observer
Top Critic

A well-intentioned coming-of-age film anchored by two indelible performances but weakened by an overabundance of drama.

Full Review… | May 30, 2003
Miami Herald
Top Critic

The film is strengthened by the two leading performances.

May 28, 2003
The New Republic
Top Critic

We've seen this unhappy scenario played out many times before, but seldom with a better eye for detail.

May 23, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Certainly no feel-good flick of the summer. But it's always tough and honest.

Full Review… | May 23, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Blue Car


This melancholy, insightfully scripted coming-of-age drama is moving without being manipulative and makes an assured calling card for writer-director Karen Moncrieff.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

Karen Moncrieff is the best American filmmaker you've never heard of. It's ridiculous that her work is so little talked about. "Blue Car," her first film, at times borders on greatness. It drifts into pretentiousness and preciousness one too many times, but for a filmmaker to get close to greatness her first time out is nothing short of amazing. (Moncrieff, I should point out, got even closer to greatness with her second film, the bizarrely under-rated "The Dead Girl," which I consider the second-best film of 2006, after Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain.") "Blue Car" tells a delicate story of an exceptionally bright teenage girl cast adrift by a self-absorbed mother who barely notices when she's in the room. The girl retreats into herself, explores sad memories of being abandoned by her father, and ends up penning poetry that dazzles and frightens her intelligent but lonely English teacher (played beautifully by David Strathairn.) He volunteers to coach her after school to develop her poetry even further, and so begins a journey that sometimes is too beautiful and too painful for both of them. The film gets sidetracked into a separate drama concerning the girl's younger sister, which weakens the film and makes its sadness a bit over-thick. But the journey of discovery that the girl and man go on is at times the stuff of great literature. Actress Agnes Bruckner gives a breakthrough performance as the girl, and it is beyond belief that she wasn't nominated for an Oscar. Her work is so good that I venture to say that hers is the best teenage acting performance of the decade. "Blue Car" helps to remind us how life-changing and essential friendships between teenagers and adults can be -- but also how overwhelming and destabilizing they can be. As tough as these relationships are -- for both parties -- they are often the crucible in which new life, and new art, is born.

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

Incredible, powerful, and extremely sad, one only hopes that the strength that Meg (Agnes Bruckner) finds at the end is enough to carry her through. My heart broke for her. A child of divorced parents who don't get along, Meg is ignored by her father and taken for granted by her mother. Meanwhile, her sister is losing touch with reality and the mother is oblivious to the warning signs until it is too late. All of this makes Meg easily susceptible to the attentions of her AP English teacher (David Strathairn), whose intentions may have been honorable at first, but who ultimately takes advantage of her vulnerability and betrays her trust. All of this however inspires her to a new honesty in her art and forces her to take stock of her life and hopefully begin again. Ms Bruckner gave her character just enough Lolita to make the May-December thing believable. Her need to be taken seriously and for acceptance blinded her to the dishonesty of others and made her susceptible to numerous betrayals. Don't believe the marketing hype. This is no teen sexploitation film. It is a tender, well done, coming of age film about a young poet finding her voice through layers upon layers of tragedy.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

Blue Car Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Blue Car on our Movie forum!

News & Features