The Phenom Reviews

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September 17, 2017
Ethan Hawke is making a habit of playing flawed fathers, but his feckless dads in Boyhood and Ten Thousand Saints appear positively benign in comparison with the toxic parent he plays in [this] psychological sporting drama.
January 1, 2017
Buschel is clearly on the right track to fully embracing the limitations of conventional structures in storytelling. When he does, it could lead to a minor masterpiece, which at times The Phenom flirts with.
January 1, 2017
When Buschel narrows his focus and has a handle on these characters' essences, there are flashes of greatness. All he needs is a tighter grip.
July 11, 2016
A thoughtful, introspective sports drama that suggests Noah Buschel, like Hopper, may have greatness in him.
July 7, 2016
A cold, hard look at how the scars of our youth follow us into adulthood and what attempting to make peace with one's demons actually feels like
July 1, 2016
Simmons is generally convincing but it's difficult for him to combine this with holding centre stage, especially in scenes alongside Ethan Hawke, who is cast against type as a low rent Tyler Durden and clearly enjoying every minute of it.
July 1, 2016
This "love me daddy" baseball pic that earns points for spending less than 5 percent of its time on the diamond and refusing to end in open competition...so far as the playing field is concerned.
July 1, 2016
The cast is...perfect, especially Giamatti, whose soothing tones and reassuring demeanor nevertheless hint at closely held heartbreak.
July 1, 2016
Expertly lensed, tautly directed (by writer Noah Buschel), and peerlessly acted, "The Phenom" requires patience, but the reward is there. Call it a little film therapy.
June 30, 2016
Oddly a sports movie about baseball for eggheads and equally baseball for dummies. Which has as much on its mind literally as what's going down on the playing field - and may go a long way towards engaging both competitive sports couch potato audiences.
June 29, 2016
Deceptively quiet, unexpectedly still, Noah Buschel's The Phenom beckons with a firm power.
June 29, 2016
#1 pitching prospect consults shrink over inexplicable control issues in compelling character-driven drama.
June 24, 2016
It's Hawke who gives the film its dramatic urgency.
June 24, 2016
Buschel really is turning out to be a solid indie craftsman, and The Phenom is a nice example of his evolving style. I'm eager to see what he does next.
Top Critic
June 24, 2016
Not everything here works... But it's an interesting, great-looking film, and Simmons is just dynamite in it.
June 24, 2016
Noah Buschel might be one of indies' most interesting filmmakers, all the moreso because he doesn't belong to any easily-promotable group or even genre.
June 24, 2016
... a minor triumph ... compact, impeccably performed ... Ethan Hawke's Great Santini-like father deserves a close look by Oscar ... the gutsy ending left us gasping.
June 24, 2016
A welcome surprise for sports cinema, "The Phenom" handles itself like Robert Redford's "Ordinary People" when exploring the psychology of a Lebron James or Johnny Manziel-like sports sensation.
June 24, 2016
Instead of big fireworks, "The Phenom" offers low-key character moments. It's a small film with a lot of insight.
June 23, 2016
A small gem filled with unexpected insight and performances of exceptional precision and intelligence
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