They Call Us Monsters (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

They Call Us Monsters (2017)

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In California, violent juveniles between 14-17 years old can be tried as adults. Typically, they are accused of heinous crimes--murders and attempted murders--that leave their victims' families shattered. And yet, they are still kids, with a greater capacity to change and one day return to society. What is our responsibility to these kids? And to their victims? Do they deserve a second chance? These are the questions legislators are grappling with across the country as they attempt to reform our juvenile justice system. Meanwhile, behind the walls of the Compound, three violent juvenile offenders are writing a movie as they await their trials. It's the story of their childhoods with the ending rewritten.

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Critic Reviews for They Call Us Monsters

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (11)

Tighter editing might have made this a great movie, rather than just a good one. The material is there. But They Call Us Monsters nevertheless helps us better understand the eternal conundrum of family-loving teens who turn into violent threats ...

February 2, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Even if you agree with the film's argument that teenagers shouldn't be locked up for life when there are other ways to save them, "Monsters" doesn't offer a convincing argument that a screenwriting class is that lifeline.

February 2, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

There's little doubt prison reform needs to address the severe effects of locking up kids for life, but "They Call Us Monsters" feels like a well-meaning skim rather than an impassioned, expertly reasoned plea for mercy.

January 26, 2017 | Full Review…

No matter which side of the issue you come down on, and no matter how engaging these young fellows can seem, the truth is they are where they need to be.

January 25, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

There's a considerable amount of catharsis in They Call Us Monsters, but it is bittersweet at best.

January 21, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

While Ben Lear's documentary is reasonably clear about its own position on the issue, the film's material is so thin that it provides few reasons to believe the conclusion it's selling.

January 20, 2017 | Full Review…
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