"Child of God" fascinates like a song sung just out of tune but rhythmically sturdy enough to keep you listening in the hopes it'll right itself.
Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 2014-08-01
Surprisingly pretty good.
David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture, 2014-08-01
Franco keeps you in your seat, mainly by harnessing the power of Haze ...
Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 2014-07-31
Make no mistake: There is nothing pleasant about "Child of God," James Franco's very fine adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's short, pitiless novel.
Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 2014-07-31
This is ambitious, challenging filmmaking, elevated by John Franco's compassion and Scott Haze's revelatory acting.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, 2014-07-31
[Franco] should get credit for ... possessing the willpower to make a movie that virtually no one is going to see.
Joe McGovern, Entertainment Weekly, 2014-07-30
Beautifully shot, well acted, and the score is lovely, but the film has nothing to say about the human degradation in which it wallows. If you're gonna make me smell dung for two hours, at least fertilize my lawn.
Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, 2014-08-03
There's no denying Franco's ambition, and in "Child of God" you can see evidence (almost for the first time) that he's reaching for something he may one day attain.
Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, 2014-08-01
This wrong-headed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's taut 1973 novel, as interpreted by director James Franco, spends too much time trying to create an element of compassion for this devilishly aberrant killer.
Claudia Puig, USA Today, 2014-07-31
Too bad all this grungy intimacy renders him neither knowable nor fascinating as he hunkers down in a shack and then in a cavern that doubles as a crypt.
Michael Sragow, Orange County Register, 2014-07-31
It's hard to see past the lurid details of the Tennessee tale, adapted from Cormac McCarthy's 1973 exercise in backwoods noir.
Mark Jenkins, NPR, 2014-07-31
It's McCarthy's complex use of language, rather than the plot's grueling imagery, that elevate the book. There's simply not enough insight here to make the punishment worthwhile.
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News, 2014-07-31
Child Of God is a lurid backwoods exploitation cheapie that just happens to be based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club, 2014-07-31
"Child of God'' is, like the source novel, loosely inspired by the notorious real-life cannibal murderer Ed Gein. So was Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho.'' Nobody left that classic bored - but they sure will be by Franco's film.
Lou Lumenick, New York Post, 2014-07-30
Franco is determined to humanize Ballard in a misguided quest to make him likable, as if likability were a conduit to credibility and not just a pandering to audience members.
William Giraldi, The New Republic, 2014-07-30
What did we do to deserve James Franco?
Rex Reed, New York Observer, 2014-07-30
It could have been so much worse; we wish it was a lot better.
David Fear, Time Out New York, 2014-07-30
Child of God is brazenly, outstandingly bad, as vague, pretentious, and pointless as its sorry title.
Sam Weisberg, Village Voice, 2014-07-29
So, did all that industry pay off? With Child of God (pictured), from Cormac McCarthy's 1973 novel, the answer has to be: Eh.
Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine, 2013-09-13
Time and again I found myself looking at a wobbly shot of somebody's slouched shoulder, or a not-very-interesting left ear, wondering what information, exactly, these visuals were intended to convey.
Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice, 2013-09-13