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Based on 21 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 75
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    The film belongs to Phoenix ("To Die For"), who is terrific. He has the gift, shared with his late brother, River, of conveying emotions without pushing them at you. The delicacy of his scenes with Tyler lets you enjoy the film for what it truly is: a heartbreaker. show more

  • 50
    Peter Stack San Francisco Chronicle

    An awkward script, a mannered style and the selection of hill-and-dale Petaluma as a stand-in for an Illinois small town all undermine the film. show more

  • 38
    Mike Clark USA Today

    Inventing the Abbotts would be a lot more fun were it a trashy Troy Donahue-Diane McBain vehicle ground out by Warner Bros. in 1960, the year this hormonally motivated high school-college romance mercifully concludes. [4 April 1997, p. 4D] show more

  • 75
    Walter Addiego San Francisco Examiner

    The veteran Baker anchors the proceedings, and you would like to see more of her character. show more

  • 75
    James Berardinelli ReelViews

    Inventing the Abbotts has the cast and characters to be something special; the script just isn't ambitious enough. show more

  • 50
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    The picture is haunted by a story problem: It isn't about anything but itself. There's no sense of life going on in the corners of the frame. show more

  • 50
    David Sterritt Christian Science Monitor

    The drama is long on 1950s atmosphere and complicated feelings, short on emotional depth and real psychological insight. show more

  • 50
    Rick Groen The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    This thing can take pride of place in a long tradition of Hollywood howlers. show more

  • 60
    Angie Errigo Empire

    What lifts this at key moments is the outstanding Phoenix's simpatico performance and we can add to the credit side happy casting that for once has assembled actresses and actors who really do resemble each other and present plausible siblings. show more

  • 40
    Ken Fox TV Guide

    A pastel-pretty and oh-so-dull coming of age tale. show more

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