Despair is not quiet for a broken father (Aaron Paul) and his troublemaker sons in Kat Candler's brisk, transfixing drama, which takes place in blue-collar southeast Texas.
Lindsey Bahr, Entertainment Weekly, 2014-12-03
The acting overall is strong, but Paul, still testing the waters after "Breaking Bad," is extraordinarily controlled.
Tom Long, Detroit News, 2014-07-10
The hellion of "Hellion" is Jacob Wilson, a 13-year-old Texas rebel with a cause. As played by a real teenager, Josh Wiggins, he's a force of nature.
John Hartl, Seattle Times, 2014-07-03
Though it may seem as if it's heading in the direction of being a feel-good movie Hellion doesn't go down that predictable road. It is more authentic than that, and that is indeed something to feel good about.
Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com, 2014-06-26
"Hellion" offers a startling and memorable portrait of adolescent life in downscale East Texas suburbia, along with a white-hot breakthrough performance from teenage actor Josh Wiggins.
Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, 2014-06-13
Though some characters go underdeveloped, Hellion marks one of Hollywood's most realistic examinations of rural high school angst since Friday Night Lights, another teen drama set in Texas.
Scott Bowles, USA Today, 2014-06-12
A glimpse into rural American childhood that's both tense and melancholy.
Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News, 2014-06-12
Hellion offers Paul his most adult screen role so far, and he's very fine, but the movie belongs to Wiggins, a newcomer whose innate gifts are a perfect echo of Paul's.
Chuck Wilson, Village Voice, 2014-06-10
Texas-based helmer Kat Candler unpacks the inner turmoil behind acts of trespassing, vandalism and spontaneous aggression that threaten to send young Jacob down the wrong path in life.
Peter Debruge, Variety, 2014-06-09
"Hellion" pads its slender, commonplace, but potentially rewarding premise with contrivances, cliches, repetitiousness, and, when all else fails, implausible, arbitrary melodrama.
Peter Keough, Boston Globe, 2014-07-24
Wiggins gives the boy's struggles a raw realism, but it's not enough to shore up this slackly paced slice of sunbaked Texas miserabilism.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2014-07-17
Not that inarticulate characters can't be compelling if they are written with subtlety, acted with insight and, most of all, framed by a directorial vision, but "Hellion," despite a promising debut from Wiggins, falls short in at least two of the above.
Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic, 2014-07-17
If only Candler had trusted her characters enough to carry the story without the need for the requisite Act One gun and Act Three firing of same, Hellion would stand out more amidst an ever-growing pack of similar films.
Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, 2014-06-13
Candler insistently tightens her focus on the hardships of growing up in a broken family, an approach that eventually feels over-determined.
Tomas Hachard, NPR, 2014-06-12
Features a fair share of forced drama ...
Keith Uhlich, Time Out, 2014-06-11
While the film is absorbing and not without pathos, there's insufficient insight or shape to the screenplay, which drifts between Hollis and Jacob without building momentum.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter, 2014-06-09