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The Selfish Giant

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United Kingdom · 2013
Rated R · 1h 31m
Director Clio Barnard
Starring Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder, Lorraine Ashbourne
Genre Drama

A hyperactive boy and his best friend, a slow-witted youth with an affinity for horses, start collecting scrap metal for a shady dealer.

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What are critics saying?


Slant Magazine by

The ear for language is paired with an eye for the landscape, and the film finds beauty even in such a seemingly dreary, economically depressed community.


Empire by Damon Wise

A terrific human drama about two boys about to be consigned to the scrapheap, with standout performances from its young leads.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Though slow-going for much of its running time, Arbor's delicate tale culminates with a frighteningly choreographed tragedy, but tacks on a beautifully evocative and mostly wordless epilogue that carries the semblance of progress.


Variety by Guy Lodge

The film’s turn toward the tragic is hardly untelegraphed, but its emotional blows still land with crushing precision.


The Playlist by Jessica Kiang

The Selfish Giant preaches compassion by showing us in its very closing moments, the fathomless goodness that can lie beneath even the spittingest, snarlingest exterior.


The Hollywood Reporter by Neil Young

[A] solidly effective addition to Britain's social realism tradition, elevated by excellent performances by the young leads and some unexpectedly poetic touches.


Total Film by Paul Bradshaw

Carried aloft by the remarkable performances of her two young leads, Clio Barnard’s poignant, unflinching slice of hard-knock-life grips tight and lingers long. Britain’s definitely got talent.


The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

So hauntingly perfect is Barnard’s film, and so skin-pricklingly alive does it make you feel to watch it, that at first you can hardly believe the sum of what you have seen.

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