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Dubbed "the King Kong of oral obsessives" by his hippie dentist, Justin Cobb is a 16-year-old desperate to find a way to break this embarrassing habit he has retained since infancy. His father, a former football star, tries to help by providing an antidotal cayenne-pepper cream and a healthy dose of fly-fishing. His mother, who works as a nurse helping the rich and famous sober up, seems more concerned with a fantasy romantic relationship with TV-star Don Johnson than with her son's problems. Hypnosis seems to work, but the problem surfaces in other forms from drug addiction to… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Unlike so many movies in which a character changes in order to propel the plot forward, this one stops to follow up on the consequences of those changes."
‑ Ken Tucker, New York Magazine/Vulture
"Mills, a former music video director, writes and directs with subtle clarity, bringing a refreshing sensibility to the archetypical tale in which a displaced teen comes of age in a confusing and banal environment."
‑ Luke Goodsell, Empire Magazine Australasia
"Everything. Came. Together. Beautifully."
‑ Brandon Fibbs,
"The result is sensitive, intelligent and deeply affecting."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"Like Justin, Mills struggles to make his point, but even so, this is a tender portrait of teenhood."
‑ Stella Papamichael,
"A tender but glib coming-of-age journey."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"Many films portray teens as Frankenstein monsters bolted together by peer pressure and prescription drugs. "Thumbsucker" bests most of them by avoiding fingers wagged in caution and addressing the opportunity costs of adolescence and adulthood."
‑ Nick Rogers,
"Here, adolescence is a pandemic condition, a metaphor for the endless human struggle to become comfortable in one's own skin, blemishes and all."
‑ Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
"Mills delivers here a rather original first feature, even though it follows the steps of other tales of teenage alienation."
‑ Kevin N. Laforest, Montreal Film Journal
"[Pucci] has an extremely unusual face, which, in addition to bearing a strong resemblance to Tilda Swinton, allows him to carry off both deadpan comedy and serious moments with equal aplomb."
‑ Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
"So no one would argue that Thumbsucker sucks. But the thing does seem just so indie-movie familiar."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"So unexciting that it almost made me want to suck my thumb or whatever to get over sitting through such a heavy going and dull film."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Bonus points are awarded for the soundtrack by Tim Delaughter and many of his compatriots from the Polyphonic Spree."
‑ Jason Gorber, Film Scouts
"Picking pages from a novel and expecting the selection to make up an engaging and involving screenplay is highly optimistic. It is possibly exciting for actors and the director, but it doesn't work for the audience."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"Its great strength lies in its characters, all of whom are constantly surprising the viewer by not being what they seem."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for Thumbsucker on Rotten Tomatoes

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