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Hounddog Review Critics


Dave White Profile

...the most laugh-filled rotten movie of 2008. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 2.0

    out of 100

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

  • 0

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Fanning is remarkably collected and even dignified. As for the rest of the gang, they ought to be returned to sender.

    Read Full Review

  • 38

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    A failure on pretty much every level, Hounddog would never have been known beyond Park City had it not been for the notoriety surrounding the rape scene.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Assembled from the debris of countless worn-out images of the Deep South and is indeed beautifully photographed. But the writer-director, Deborah Kampmeier, has become inflamed by the imagery and trusts it as the material for a story, which seems grotesque and lurid.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    The film is responsible, earnest, well-intentioned and, as it was in Sundance, maddeningly inconsistent.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter James Greenberg

    In spite of a few missteps, the cumulative impact of the film is undeniable.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Hounddog reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Notorious Dakota Fanning indie too adult for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this controversial independent drama has been discussed for more than a year as "the film where Dakota Fanning gets raped." Although the scene in question is far less graphic than the hype suggests, a heavy coming-of-age drama that deals with rape, racism, and family dysfunction isn't likely to appeal to teens (or, thankfully, Fanning's many even younger fans). In addition to the notorious rape scene, someone uses the "N" word against an African-American man, a woman is bitten by a rattlesnake, a man is struck by lightning, and a dog is shot. There's also some underage drinking and smoking and mild sexuality.

  • Families can talk about why this film is considered controversial. Is it because a young girl is assaulted or because Dakota Fanning is assaulted? Why do you think Fanning chose to take a role like this? Do child stars "owe" their younger fans anything in terms of making family-friendly movies? Families can also discuss Lewellen's love for Elvis' music. Critics have said that the filmmaker used Elvis as a symbol for how art can help people transcend/escape their troubles. Is that the movie's message? What about Lewellen's behavior -- was it risky? And how is race dealt with in the film? Why is it important to keep the setting and time period in mind?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: A girl who loves singing Elvis songs above all else loses her passion for music and life after getting raped. An African-American man is portrayed as wise and comforting; he teaches a girl about the blues. A brutal father is struck by lightning.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: A young girl is raped after agreeing to take off her clothes for a teen boy. Viewers hear her scream and moan, but the camera focuses on her face and hands rather than showing the act taking place. Other disturbing images include a man being struck by lightning, a dog being shot, and a woman being bitten by a snake.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A young girl dances, swims, and hangs around in her tank top and underwear. Later she takes off her clothes in exchange for the promise of a concert ticket.

  • language false2

    Language: Language includes "idiot," "bastard," and the "N" word used as a racial slur (the film is set in the 1950s South).

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Just Elvis Presley music.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several characters, including youngsters Lewellen and Buddy, smoke cigarettes. Scenes take place in a bar, where both adults and teens drink/get drunk.