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Bad Hair(Pelo malo)

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Venezuela, Peru, Argentina · 2013
1h 33m
Director Mariana Rondón
Starring Beto Benitez, Samantha Castillo, Samuel Lange Zambrano, Nelly Ramos
Genre Drama

A nine-year old boy’s preening obsession with straightening his hair to be like the rockstars he adores elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother. This stunningly honest coming of age story focuses on how one boy and his mother navigate growing up in a world that is overcrowded, loud, and poor.

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What are critics saying?


Slant Magazine by Carson Lund

The narrative works through the many contradictions brewing inside its main character in the wake of his personal actualization without ever feeling like a dramatic checklist.


Variety by Jay Weissberg

While Rondon’s focus is the struggle of wills between a boy awakening to homosexual feelings and his embittered mother, the helmer invests their collision with a powerful specificity.


The A.V. Club by Mike D'Angelo

Bad Hair can best be described as expertly depressing—a subcategory of art cinema that seems worth the punishment only when the gloom is counterbalanced by at least a few transcendent moments. No such moments ever surface here, however, apart from a brief fantasy during the closing credits.


The Playlist by Nikola Grozdanovic

With her underdeveloped, dismissive, screenplay and myopic direction, Rondòn is as delicate with her theme as Michael Bay is with his American flag shots or Tim Burton with his kitschy quirkiness. That hers is a serious context makes it that much more disappointing.


The Dissolve by Scott Tobias

Rondón treats her characters with toughness and empathy, without devising easy outs or slipping into sentimentality.

75 by Sheila O'Malley

Populated with totally naturalistic performances, and a stunningly observed relationship between mother and son (their scenes together are phenomenal), Bad Hair works by keeping its focus on the small details of everyday life and its rhythms.


Village Voice by Stephanie Zacharek

There’s plenty of prickly tenderness, for both mother and son, at the heart of Bad Hair. All children yearn for things beyond their reach, and if they’re honest about it, adults do too. It’s a feeling you never outgrow.


The New York Times by Stephen Holden

Bad Hair is an uncomfortably accurate depiction of a poignant mother-son power struggle in a fatherless family in which each knows how to get under the other’s skin.

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