El Bola
El Bola (2000)

A boy from an abusive home finds a new lease on life through friendship in this drama from Spain. Pablo (Juan Jose Ballesta) is a 12-year-old boy growing up in an underprivileged neighborhood in Madrid. Pablo doesn't have many friends,… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: January 1, 2005
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Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
91%
Flixster
User Score
90%

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Critic Score: 91% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Robert K. Elder
Chicago Tribune

Mana gives us compelling, damaged characters who we want to help -- or hurt.

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Stephen Holden
New York Times

As blunt as it is in depicting child abuse, El Bola is a movie steeped in an ambiguity that lends its conflicts a symbolic resonance.

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Maria Garcia
Film Journal International

An exceptional film.

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V.A. Musetto
New York Post

Never [sinks] into exploitation.

Arthur Lazere
culturevulture.net

Deliberately and skillfully uses ambiguity to suggest possibilities which imbue the theme with added depth and resonance.

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Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Though uniformly well acted, especially by young Ballesta and Galan (a first-time actor), writer/director Achero Manas's film is schematic and obvious.

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Leslie Camhi
Village Voice

At once subtle and visceral, the film never succumbs to the trap of the maudlin or tearful, offering instead with its unflinching gaze a measure of faith in the future.

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Josh Ralske
All Movie Guide

A simple, but gritty and well-acted ensemble drama that encompasses a potent metaphor for a country still dealing with its fascist past.

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John A. Nesbit
Old School Reviews

Although largely a heavy-handed indictment of parental failings ... the film retains ambiguities that make it well worth watching

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More reviews for El Bola

Flixster Audience Score: 90% Flixster User Reviews
Randy Tippy
Reminiscent of <i>The 400 Blows</i>, this is a powerful story about child abuse and the positive impact of friendship. Achero Mañas coaxes… More
Daisy Maduro
Children abuse was never an easy topic to get into when telling a story due to the fact its a very sensitive issue to show on screen.Spanish director Achero… More