Rocket Science


Rocket Science

Critics Consensus

Though Rocket Science appears to be a typically quirky indie, the well-rounded performances and director Jeffrey Blitz's clear affection for his characters gives the film its proper human spark.



Total Count: 111


Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,909
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Movie Info

Jeffrey Blitz's seriocomedy Rocket Science proves that many a handicap can be overcome, no matter how daunting the obstacle at hand may initially seem. Newcomer Reece Thompson plays Hal Hefner, a 15-year-old high-school student with a minor yet socially alienating (and painful) disability: he stutters uncontrollably. Determined to work through the problem, Hal opts for an extreme route -- he joins the school debating team, which sends him on a headfirst plunge into breakneck speech competitions -- and offers a much-needed boost toward correcting the problem. Blitz, like his onscreen alter ego, struggled with a stammer as a young man -- a disability he eventually surmounted -- which imparted him with a lifelong interest in speech and storytelling.


Nick D'Agosto
as Ben Wekselbaum
Anna Kendrick
as Ginny Ryerson
David DeBoy
as Frank Ryerson
Susan Duvall
as Hazlet Lunch Lady
Elisabeth Noone
as Hazlet Coach
Judy Jean Berns
as Townsend Prep Bad Girl
Betsy Hogg
as Crystal Hamish-Steinberg
Jonah Hill
as Junior Philosopher
Jane Beard
as Fern Garrles
John Patrick Barry
as Gym Teacher
Candace Burr Scholz
as Townsend Prep Debater
Dan DeLuca
as Stephen Douglas
Marilyn Yoblick
as Plainsboro Luch Lady
Virginia Frank
as English Teacher
Dionne Audain
as Abraham Lincoln
Lisbeth Bartlett
as Juliet Hefner
Denis O'Hare
as Doyle Hefner
Stephen Park
as Judge Pete
Herb Merrick
as Lewis' Dad
Josh Kay
as Lewis Garrles
Aaron Yoo
as Heston
Carol Florence
as Connie Ryerson
Margo Martindale
as Coach Lumbly
Vincent Piazza
as Earl Hefner
Zack Arrington
as Plainsboro Debate Team Member
Jaime Chicas
as Plainsboro Debate Team Member
Katrina Hargrave
as Plainsboro Debate Team Member
Erin Loube
as Plainsboro Debate Team Member
Natasha Sattler
as Plainsboro Debate Team Member
Will Shaw
as Plainsboro Debate Team Member
Jeffrey Wei
as Plainsboro Debate Team Member
Andrew Collie
as Hazlet Timer
Huong Huyah
as Lewinsky's Girlfriend
Katherine Ross Wolfe
as Glen Rock Debater
Susan "Tootsie" Duvall
as Hazlet Lunch Lady
Noah Mazaika
as Trophy Presenter 1
Will Parquette
as Trophy Presenter 2
Jeanette Brox
as Townsend Prep Bad Girl
Lee Sellars
as New Jersey Debate Official
Dan Cashman
as Narrator
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Critic Reviews for Rocket Science

All Critics (111) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (93) | Rotten (18)

Audience Reviews for Rocket Science

  • Jan 18, 2013
    I had written a review for this a few weeks ago, but it magically disappeared so unfortunately I can't write as much as I'd like because I don't remember all the specifics about the movie. Regardless, Rocket Science is a wonderful little indie coming-of-age movie with a lot of heart and some very funny moments. It's about a high school student named Hal Hefner (Reece Thompson) who has a stuttering problem and is eager to overcome it. After falling for one of the strongest speakers on his school's debate team (played by Anna Kendrick), Hal does the most logical thing a headstrong teenage boy can do and joins the debate team to be with her. Reece Thompson is great in the lead role and he makes Hal a very sympathetic and endlessly relatable character. He has one spectacular scene in the middle-ish of the movie in which Hal lets out all of his pent-up frustrations by smashing the windows of a certain character's house in a creative way. He delivers all of his best lines in a fantastic deadpan way, and his character is pretty much the only normal one in the movie. Not to say that's a bad thing at all, it's just that every other character is eccentric or strange in some way, including a mother and father who argue by playing Violent Femmes songs on cellos. Speaking of Violent Femmes, their music makes up almost all of the soundtrack, and the soundtrack genuinely rocks. It acts as the perfect backdrop to a few select scenes and makes them that much better. Rocket Science does fall prey to a couple of coming-of-age and indie movie cliches, but for the most part it's a very unique and likable comedy that is well worth seeing.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 19, 2012
    Rocket Science is a quirky gem packed with brilliant indie charm carried along by a great narrative and an amazing soundtrack. Rocket Science follows the story of a timid high school boy with a speech impediment who decides to join his high school debate team to chase love. First of all anyone who doesn't like Indie films (specifically quirky romantic indie films) may not like the movie due to the pacing, storyline etc but it was perfect for me. When I saw this film I only expected a good performance from Anna Kendrick and that's it but after watching it I was speechless with my mouth wide. It really left me speechless because it ends on such a great note leaving the viewer with an amazing message and moral. The acting was brilliant from Reece Daniel Thompson doing a great speech impediment and he played his role very well and was thoroughly believable. Anna Kendrick was amazing but often her character can be hard to keep up with. And like films including Drive, the soundtrack is EXCELLENT and one of the best parts as all the songs fit the right tone bang on. Sometimes we hear a Narrator monologuing and his dialogue was so good as he WAS the true voice of Hal. The characters are brilliant and you get more than mere high school stereotypes and instead you get a main character some could relate to and empathise with while being highly engrossing at the same time. And side characters who never really felt unnecessary. Maybe this is because it is loosely based on the director of the film's childhood (Jeffrey Blitz). Like previously mentioned the ending is fantastic and like endings reminiscent of The Mist, it will not be for everyone and at first most will feel robbed but once you truly understand the deeper meaning and what has truly happened; you appreciate it and can't believe it's excellence. This does have that kind of cliched quirky indie formula but it feels original, always heartfelt and natural. I hate to wrap it up so soon because I don't know if I have done it enough justice but overall Rocket Science is an amazing, relatable, touching, moving and breathtaking indie romantic coming of age story that comes full circle with an amazing lesson at the end that will definitely leave you speechless.
    Luke C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2011
    I spent the vast majority of this movie trying to decide whether, or not, I liked it. The characters were definitely interesting, but overall I don't think that this film hit on the point that it was trying to make. Not a bad movie, just not that special.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 09, 2011
    A stutterer joins his high school debate team at the behest of a woman with whom he quickly falls in love. Anna Kendrick, whose performance in <i>Up in the Air</i> showed her to be a strong if somewhat stilted actress, is nearly perfect as the debater/femme fatale in this quirky independent dramedy. And though Reece Daniel Thompson doesn't achieve a Colin Firth level of tortured stuttering, he is nonetheless compelling. There are also some really funny and touching moments. I particularly laughed out loud at "There's now a cello in your house." However, the narration is overbearing. There is a constant musical score dominated by quickly strummed guitar chords that make me think these were added because they're required in independent films, not because the score accentuated the storytelling. Finally, there were several moments of over-editing. Contrast <i>Rocket Science</i> with <i>A King's Speech</i>, in which the camera stayed fixed on the King as he tried to spit out his words; in <i>Rocket Science</i> there are needless cross cuts to reaction shots that show little reaction. Overall, like many independent films, <i>Rocket Science</i> is one to watch for the performances and occasionally clever script, not for its direction.
    Jim H Super Reviewer

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