Critics Consensus

Despite some sharp performances, Sleepwalking suffers from a grimness of tone and sluggish pacing.



Total Count: 60


Audience Score

User Ratings: 42,566
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Movie Info

Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Hopper, Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb, and Deborra-Lee Furness star in a family drama detailing the efforts made by an 12-year-old girl to come to terms with her mother's abandonment. Tara's (Robb) mother, Joleen (Theron), just can't seem to get her life together. Her boyfriend has recently been arrested for growing marijuana, and rather than attempting to create a stable living environment for her daughter, Joleen instead places Tara in foster care before vanishing without a trace. Joleen's brother, James (Stahl), isn't exactly the picture of equilibrium, yet he does feel sympathetic toward his niece and obligated to help her though such difficult times. After breaking Tara out of foster care, James and his newly freed niece set out on the open road together. Destination: nowhere. But every road has an end, and before long James and Tara find themselves at James and Joleen's father's farm. James has always avoided thinking about his violent childhood, though he realizes that in order to break the vicious cycle of dysfunction that the family has fallen into he must finally confront the demons of his past. Now, as Tara begins to understand why her missing mother has lived such a tumultuous life, James prepares for the confrontation that could bring his family closer together than ever before, if it doesn't destroy them first. William Maher, who served as visual effects supervisor for the 2005 Sundance film The Chumscrubber, makes his feature directorial debut with a film based on an original screenplay by that film's scribe, Zac Stanford. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for Sleepwalking

All Critics (60) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (50)

  • Each bend in the road positively screeches with the urgency of impending catharsis, but the film never earns its resolution.

    Aug 8, 2009 | Full Review…
  • The movie seems unusually honest in portraying the no-option existence of the working poor, but the story slips into melodrama in the last reel.

    Dec 8, 2008 | Full Review…
  • It's a film of mood -- and the mood is perfectly captured.

    Mar 24, 2008
  • Sleepwalking provides character arcs for its two protagonists but neither is as interesting or memorable as the performances warrant.

    Mar 21, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Zac Stanford's screenplay works only as a theorem proving Murphy's Law.

    Mar 15, 2008 | Rating: D | Full Review…
  • Portentous and dull, the film features one of the worst over-the-top performances by Dennis Hopper, who plays an abusive father. His role upends what could have been a mildly interesting family drama.

    Mar 14, 2008 | Rating: 2/4

    Claudia Puig

    USA Today
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Sleepwalking

  • Oct 17, 2009
    Not bad at all.Definitely worth watching
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2009
    Tara's mother is trash, and when she's forced from her home, she bunks in with her younger brother, then deserts her brother (James) and daughter (Tara). James does his best trying to care for Tara, but it isn't easy - he lands up losing his job, and Tara is put into foster care. James and Tara land up at James' father's farm, which is where the movie becomes unrealistic. All in all, it is worth watching the movie. Not cute, more scary actually.
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • Jul 26, 2009
    Cast: Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb, Charlize Theron, Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Deborra-Lee Furness, Callum Keith Rennie, Amy Matysio, Shannon Jardine, Simon Chin, Ken Mitchell, Jean Freeman, Troy Skog, George Grassick, Mike Ennis, Alexandra Fox Director: Bill Maher Summary: When James's (Nick Stahl) sister, Joleen (Charlize Theron), shows up with her 11-year-old daughter, Tara (AnnaSophia Robb), he doesn't think twice about welcoming them into his home. But when Joleen skips town without her daughter, James is thrust into a role he's grossly unprepared for. At risk of losing Tara to foster care, James hits the road with his niece. Along the way, the pair develop a genuine bond and discover a true sense of family. My Thoughts: "Although I liked the film, it had many potholes. It really didn't fill in some of the blanks for me. But for what it was, it still a good film. Nick Stahl and AnnaSophia were really good in this. Dennis Hopper, was good in this as well. His character is a controlling, hateful man. Its so easy to hate him in this film. As many probably have, or will say, this movie is quite depressing. It really never lightens up. It's a bit slow in some spots and could have ran a little shorter in time. But all in all a good enough flick with a sad and disturbing story."
  • Jun 20, 2009
    I think this was a well picked cast, a very emotional and moving story. However the movie is slow paced, a little boring at times. I wanted to see this family actually do something right for a change, just kept making one bad decision after another. But like like I first mentioned I loved the cast, really want to see more work from Annasophia Robb and Nick Stahl. Overall the film was good, but you're not really missing much if you don't see it.
    m h Super Reviewer

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