Critics Consensus

Critics find Ratcatcher to be hauntingly beautiful, though its story is somewhat hard to stomach.



Total Count: 38


Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,165
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Movie Info

James' family lives in a poor neighborhood of Glasgow in the late 1970s. While they wait for relocation to a nicer part of town, James makes do with playing by the canal with Margaret Anne and Kenny. Margaret Anne is older, and willing to sleep with the local boys for a bit of affection, while Kenny loves animals, but is slow-witted. As the garbage piles up during a prolonged strike by the garbage collectors, James dreams of a better life and tries to escape the realities of his family and personal tragedies. As his family's dream of moving to a new home slowly fades, James also finds himself increasingly estranged from his loved ones and surroundings. The only place where he can find any solace is in a half-constructed housing subdivision in the pastoral suburbs--a bus journey away--for it is here where James feels he truly belongs.


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Critic Reviews for Ratcatcher

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (12)

Audience Reviews for Ratcatcher

  • Nov 14, 2011
    Eventful sample of art imitating life through a hardcore representation of the hearts of young ones in infested contemporary settings thanks to one of the strongest modern heroines of the industry. The diverse allegories of rats were excellent. 97/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • May 16, 2011
    In the garbage strewn and rat infested streets of 70's Glasglow, there lies the rudimentary cinematic climax: that of poverty. For the young and still slightly innocent James, his downward spiral into depression starts with the death of a friend, possibly at his own hand. As the film progresses, the gritty reality of living in a slum, smellier than usual thanks to a garbage strike, becomes all too hard for him, and he frequently escapes to a model home in the country. Though he is tormented by a group of spiteful teenage boys, he does meet and fall for a girl who's glasses reside in the canal James fears to enter. The historical context and the ramifications of the many character's actions never fall under plausible. only possible. James' family is awaiting a transfer into a new house as the tenements they live in are being bought and demolished. Hope glides beneath the surface,as they battle each other with hate filled words and violence. The worst horror is the manifestation of bile within James' friend, once a member of the RSPCA, and now he himself kills the rats that infest the garbage piles surrounded them on all sides. Very bleak and dreary, you always wish for something better for James, a protaganist that may be the only unsullied person left.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2011
    One of the best British films of the nineties, Ratcatcher is a powerful evocation of the uncertainty and surreal nature of childhood. The film also has something to say about family relationships, death, and the toll poverty takes on people (in this case, in the Glasgow of the seventies). Although the film could be criticised for being fairly slow-paced, I think this is entirely missing the point. The film is more about atmosphere than a linear plot, and the lingering, intriguing glimpses it offers of the young character's life will stay in your memory like a particularly vivid dream. I expect great things of Lynne Ramsay in the future.
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 14, 2010
    This movie is very tricky to rate, because the subject matter is so real and human, which automatically gives it a edge over a large number of films. The acting is superb, by adults and youngsters alike. The film technique fits the mood and hard times of the characters very well, and it grabs your attention. Nevertheless, the downfall is found in the speed of the film, which has you wondering at times when action will resume. Apart from that, this was one really well done film that absolutely required subtitles.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer

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