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Blue Velvet Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Village Voice

    The last real earthquake to hit cinema was David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" -- I'm sure directors throughout the film world felt the earth move beneath their feet and couldn't sleep the night of their first encounter with it back in 1986. (Review of 20th Anniversary Re-Release)

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  • 100

    out of 100

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    As fascinating as it is freakish. It confirms Mr. Lynch's stature as an innovator, a superb technician, and someone best not encountered in a dak alley. [19 September 1986]

  • 100

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Blue Velvet is David Lynch in peak form, and represents (to date) his most accomplished motion picture. It is a work of fascinating scope and power that rivals any of the most subversive films to reach the screens during the '80s.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times Sheila Benson

    The most brilliantly disturbing film ever to have its roots in small-town American life. [19 September 1986, Calendar, p.6-1]

  • 25

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    So strong, so shocking and yet so audacious that people walk out shaking their heads; they don't know quite what to make of it.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    One powerful, mesmerizing thriller, a masterful exercise in controlling an audience's attention. [19 September 1986, Friday, p.A]

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Surreal, graphic shocker of small-town sin.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this thriller portraying human corruption and aberrant sex features full female and nearly full male nudity, violent death, profanity, and alcohol/drug abuse. A seductive female character (a wife and mother) is abused and raped; though we learn little of her back story, all indications are that she has learned to accept and enjoy this mistreatment. While the young-man hero and his allies react with horror and shock, some critics have complained that this film exploits the twisted elements of darkness and evil.

  • Families can talk about the meaning of the movie. What are the close-ups of insects supposed to symbolize about this spiffy-clean looking community? Since the good guys look almost as bland and Boy-Scoutish as the villains are demonic, some critics have found the overall movie distasteful and exploitative -- like something the terrible Frank Booth would find "entertainment."  Do you agree? Do you think David Lynch has a little too much fun with the violence and weirdness? How do the director's G-rated The Straight Story and sinister TV series Twin Peaks compare? What traits do they share with this movie?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Lines between boyish goodness and depraved, sadistic evil seem clearly drawn with Jeffrey vs. Frank. Yet the young hero (a college guy who drinks beer) is not entirely innocent himself. He has sex with the victimized -- and married -- Dorothy and seems both fascinated as well as appalled that the exotic beauty equates passion with being abused and degraded. In the end, though, Jeffrey turns away from his "dark side" and winds up with the almost impossibly wholesome (and blonde) Sandy.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Gunfire at close range, punchings and beatings, dead (and nearly dead) bloody bodies at a murder scene. Reckless and menacing driving. A cut-off human ear is found. A woman gets raped (by a fully-clothed man).

  • sex false4

    Sex: Full nudity of the leading lady, near full nudity of the leading man, and the two have (adulterous) sex, though we don't actually see the act.

  • language false4

    Language: Psycho bad guy Frank uses the f-word (and occasionally the s-word and the b-word) at least once in about every sentence.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Mentions of Heineken and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer hard to miss.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Drinking of beer representing innocence, and bourbon for the demented bad guy, who also pops pills and infamously inhales intoxicating gas (presumably nitrous oxide). Mention of drug deals.