Tiger Eyes

2013

Tiger Eyes

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

66%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 29

53%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 720
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Movie Info

Tiger Eyes marks the first major motion picture adaptation from the work of iconic author Judy Blume, whose books have sold more than 82 million copies in 41 countries. Davey is a 17 year-old girl abruptly relocated by her grieving mother to the strange "atom bomb" town of Los Alamos, New Mexico. With the sudden and violent death of her father, the displaced Davey no longer knows who to be or how to fit in. Everything that once mattered suddenly seems insignificant. But when she meets Wolf, a mysterious young Native-American, while exploring the surrounding canyons, she feels he is able to see past her pain and into her true self. The connection they make brings Davey back from the edge and sets her on a journey from heartbreak and confusion to life and love after tragedy.

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Critic Reviews for Tiger Eyes

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (14)

Audience Reviews for Tiger Eyes

  • Jun 21, 2017
    It always upsets me when a great film is released, only to be not promoted enough or have the budget to really place itself in many theatres. Sometimes, even when a film wins best picture at a film festival, even that isn't enough to bring it into the spotlight. Not to say that Tiger Eyes was Oscar worthy by any means, but I haven't heard a single person talking about this film in the way that I believe it should be remembered by. This is a very self-contained film that only has a few locations to it, but it's all about grieving characters, so that's really all you need. While this is far from a perfect movie, here is why Tiger Eyes deserves some recognition after being left in the dust over five years ago. Although I use word journey fairly loosely here, this film is all about the journey that young Davey Wexler goes on. After the death of her father, she joins her mother and younger brother on a trip to her aunts house, where they are to grieve a bit easier. Along the way, she meets a boy who opens up her outlook on life and many other characters pop in and out in order to make her fully discover that her life isn't quite as bad as she thought hers had become. There's much more to this movie than what the premise suggests and I loved taking this "journey" with these characters. Where the film fumbles some of these positives however, is in its dialogue. If there's one thing a film can do to make its audience chuckle, it's deliver bad dialogue. Not to say this film had horrible dialogue, but there are several instances where characters seem to be talking completely out of character or just seem to be overdoing it. Some viewers may not see this at all, but I was taken out of this movie on multiple occasions, and not to mention the family they are staying with, which are either just completely rude or the writers were thinking of a different tone for them on paper. It's strange, because I quite enjoyed most of these characters, I just didn't always buy into what they were saying. I may be starting to nitpick here, but the backstory to this film is truly what makes the current journey its following them on worth it. Each and every time the film flashes back to show the tragic backstory of its central family, the colourization and overly dramatic sequences that occur, felt like something out of a television film. It felt very cheap, even though the material itself still kept me engaged. Aside from some strange dialogue and overly exaggerated flashbacks, this is a very effective story as a whole. Within each of my complaints about this movie, I'm able to pull a positive out as well, while already liking the movie as a whole. To reiterate what I mentioned in the beginning of my review, I think Tiger Eyes is a film that slipped under the radar and remained there for the past five years. I'm just discovering it now, and yes there are issues with it, but the overall film is really quite powerful and touching. There are some very well-done moments that string their way through this film and have great payoffs in the end, making this a worthwhile 90 minute journey to take. Some people may not buy into everything that these characters decide to do, but the end result is still wonderful to experience. Tiger Eyes is a very small movie that may bore some people, but I thought it was directed with care by writer/director Lawrence Blume, and I left this movie feeling moved, regardless of the few hiccups sprinkled throughout. If you are a fan of the drama genre, I highly recommend checking this little film out. Tiger Eyes is a far from perfect pleasure to watch.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2015
    One of the few Judy Blume books I didn't read growing up. I found an ex rental for $4, so it was a nostalgic purchase. Actually it wasn't thrilling. I think I understand how I missed it. Though the movie looks nice and the cast are good, I wasn't all that disappointed when the disc froze halfway through and couldn't be played any further. Maybe it didn't translate well from the novel or maybe i am just too old now...
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2013
    "It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rival, and the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and he's watching us all with the eye... of the tiger!" ...Alright, there you go, I did it, and it could have been worse somehow, like, say, a spin on the lyrics to "Hungry Eyes" or something. There were enough complaints regarding "dirty dancing" surrounding this material when this film's source young adult novel was first released back in the 1981, if you know what I mean (Wink-wink-nudge-nudge). You probably don't know what I mean, because by now, I can't think of too many people who are still interested in Judy Blume's "Tiger Eyes", let alone controversies surrounding sexual material in the novel which is basically for kids... who are old enough to most likely be doing the same thing (Stupid marketers disregard the depravity of teenagers), so much so that Blume had to get her son to direct this adaptation over 30 years after the book's release (The book actually is older than the song "The Eye of the Tiger"). Even I, for one, am mostly here because Willa Holland looks awful pretty in the poster, and plus, I'm interested to see what she'll do without the CW, even if this film is as well-funded and, well, watched as "The Arrow". Eh, she's still too deep in her niche, and I knew it was coming when she got so far into the "Teen Media Zone" that she voiced a character in, not one, but two "Kingdom Hearts" game (It was the same character, but I get more depressed for Haley Joel Osment's career with every new release of a "Kingdom Hearts" game featuring him in the voice cast), and sure enough, she's somehow worked her way into an "independent" young adult drama. Young "adults" aren't going to see this, or even hear about it, and that's a shame, because this film is pretty decent, even though it's not without a deal of issues, much like teenagers who aren't decent (Seriously, marketers, there is no innocence in childhood when the teen years arrive). While this film is kind of like your more run-of-the-mill commercial teen drama in plenty of areas, in just as many areas, it's a less heavily produced and more thoughtful independent piece, and if you think that means that this film gets dull, then, well, yup, you're pretty much right, because when thoughtful storytelling gets carried away, atmosphere really dries up and pacing takes serious damage that it cannot afford to have if it hopes to keep you from noticing just how dragged out plotting is with repetitious excess material that gets to be so abundant that it ends up driving much of the film. Still, as bloated as the film is in some areas, it takes only so much time to flesh out what intrigue there is to this film's characters through extensive development, possibly because screenwriters Judy and Lawrence Blume know that you know these characters and situations, and not just because the book upon which this film is based was so popular for a while. Seeing as how Judy Blume is credited as an innovator in young adult novel writing, perhaps this film's subject matter was refreshing at the time of its source material's release, but at this point, we've seen what this film has to offer so much that this interpretation of an ostensibly once-unique story comes off as kind of embarrassingly generic, with highly distinct character types and familiar plot points that inspire predictability. In this day and age, this film offers you very little that you haven't already seen time and again, yet when I say that plotting is predictable, I kind of mean that loosely, seeing as how this film gets to be a bit aimless when all of the aforementioned dragging further thins out the focus of this film's paper-thin story. Okay, perhaps "paper-thin" is a relatively harsh adjective to describe this subject matter, as it has some weighty thematic depth, as well as a few worthy dramatic areas, but on the whole, there's something inconsequential about this aimless story about simply finding resolution through no real external conflict. There's not a whole lot to the story, and what limited bit there is may very well end up being anything from borderline trite to overblown, if not undercooked, and such a formula has meant disaster for other films of this distinct type, and certainly leaves this particular effort to run the risk of collapsing into mediocrity. Well, mediocrity doesn't quite claim this film, which is seriously flawed, but decent, and even inspired in certain areas, including the musical ones, at least up to an extent. Independent young adult fare or not, this film is still very much directed at youngsters, and let me tell you, we're not talking about the youngsters of the early '80s who were targeted by this film's source material, so when the song soundtrack kicked in with all of its poppish ditties for all of the 15-to-20-year-old to enjoy for some inexplicable reason, I found my patience challenged to no end, which, of course, helped me in appreciating Nathan Larson's original score, which is underused throughout this relatively quiet drama, and doesn't have all that much to it in the first place, but has a certain endearing tastefulness to it that is pretty pretty, though perhaps not as pretty as the film's visual style. A low-profile project with the tightest of budgets, this film certainly can't afford Seamus McGarvey as its cinematographer, so it has to settle with Seamus Tierney, who in turn has to settle with relatively cheap filming material that has only so much definition to it, yet where Tierney could have struggled to obscure the shortcomings in photography, he celebrates them near-ingeniously, combining in hauntingly inspired tastes in lighting with somewhat watered-down definition in order to give the film a very uniquely rugged visual style that is consistently attractive, and sometimes surprisingly gorgeous. If nothing else is unique about this film, it's its visual style, which isn't too outstanding, but inspired enough for you to see gorgeousness through its shortcomings, yet the inspiration hardly ends with style, because without inspired storytelling, this drama could very well fall flat under the weight of its natural shortcomings. Judy Blume's classic story is thin in conflict, and this contemporary interpretation of it feels too celebratory of the tropes that its source material ironically helped in establishing just about thirty-two years ago, but really, it's still worthy in plenty of places, having a realist thematic and dramatic depth that has stood the test of time, and is brought to life in certain areas by the inspired direction by Blume's son Lawrence, whose efforts aren't too strong, but thoughtfully soak up a fair deal of the depth from his mother's very humanly tender story. Sure, the thoughtfulness in Blume's storytelling sometimes gets carried away in steadying pacing, while ambition stresses the film's other shortcomings, yet the heart that Blume puts into this drama carries certain effective moments quite a ways, while keeping the final product consistently endearing, much like the heart found within the inspired onscreen performances. Former Power Ranger Amy Jo Johnson is way too underused in the film to stand out all that much on a general standard, but when he has a moment to shine, she really steals the show with a powerful portrayal of a grieving widow, and when it comes to the other unknown, or at least forgotten talents within this cast, most everyone delivers as well as he or she can with such limited and familiar material, with our pretty leading lady Willa Holland carrying the film with a tender charisma and moments of subtle emotional strength which capture the quiet angst and subtle layers of a coming-of-age youth dealing with the loss of a parent and the process of embracing a new home which reveals new, life-altering peers and opportunities. Holland isn't outstanding, but she and her peers back their performances with an inspiration that is all too rarely seen in films of this nature, and joins just as inspired storytelling in doing a lot to carry the final product as decent, even if it can't carry things too terribly far. When it's all said and done, atmospheric dry spells reflect a repetitious, maybe even aimless dragging in plotting, while underdevelopment leaves you to meditate upon the genericism within the characters and story, and natural shortcomings within the thin story leave the final product to run the risk of collapsing into mediocrity, which is ultimately kept at bay by the lovely original score work, handsomely unique cinematography, heartfelt storytelling and inspired acting that make "Tiger Eyes" an often compelling and consistently endearing young adult drama, in spite of its flaws. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2013
    Lawrence Blume's "Tiger Eyes," opening in select theaters across the country tomorrow, is adapted from Judy Blume's bestselling young adult novel of the same name but it doesn't feel like something that would fill a slot on ABC Family's schedule. It's a thoughtful and affecting film that has some simple but profound things to say about the pains of adolescence. Davey (Willa Holland) and her mother and brother move across the country to live with her aunt and uncle, to recover after the murder of Davey's father. With a sudden tragedy at the film's core, it possesses a pervasive melancholy but it never descends into maudlin depression. Davey's trauma greatly impacts her young life but it doesn't destroy it. She still has to navigate life in a new high school, deal with her disapproving relatives and begin an enjoyable low-key romance with the laconic Wolf (Tatanka Means). The grounded and deeply felt way Davey works through her grief is refreshingly real in comparison to the screeching melodrama that powers most modern teen films. Though "Tiger Eyes'" has a pleasantly unassuming tone, it's doesn't sand down the sharp edges that made its source material one of the American Library Association's most challenged books. Davey's friend Jane's (Elise Eberle) dependence on alcohol isn't soft peddled and her increasingly volatile relationship with her uncle (Forrest Fyre) reaches to a particularly ugly climax. And Davey's mother (Amy Jo Johnson), devastated by the loss of her husband, falls into a harrowing prescription pill addiction. The elements aren't sensationalized but not underplayed either. The film's story is simply told but it's not simplistic. None of the adult characters are saddled with the one-dimensionality that defines most teen movie antagonists. Davey's aunt (Cynthia Stevenson) occasionally comes off as heavy-handed but she's rarely wrong and Stevenson has one great scene where she gets to express how a lifetime of disappointments has worn her down. Even Davey's dreamy new ethnic boyfriend is given an uncommon amount of depth. The only part of the film that felt lacking was the generally predictability of plot and its pre-title sequence. In it, Blume holds a tight close-up on Davey running through the night, bathed in perfect golden light. We hear her labored breathing and the gentle melody of Nathan Larson's score before Davey poetically ruminates on death. It's the best scene in the film and it sets expectations for an elegiac sublimity that it never reaches again. As the first adaptation of a Judy Blume novel, "Tiger Eyes" is an unqualified success. It's as sensitive a portrayal of youth in transition as I've seen this year and it's heartening to know that the Blumes were able to make a film like this outside of the studio system. It's not an overwrought saga or a bland morality play, it's a measured slice of life tale about those quiet moments in everyone's life where they let go of who they are and become who they're meant to be.
    Mario L M Super Reviewer

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