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A precocious but troubled young girl living in 1950s-era Alabama seeks solace in the music of Elvis Presley in director Deborah Kampmeier's controversial tale of childhood trauma and musical healing. An air of repression lingers over the home of spirited youngster Lewellen (Dakota Fanning), who finds both comfort in the music of pop sensation Presley, as well as a place to store her pain and anger. In time Lewellen begins to find her own voice, a voice that will instill her with the strength to move beyond the pain of her past and into a more hopeful future. Piper Laurie, David Morse, and… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 15%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The whole distasteful mess is sunk up to its neck in a brew of Southern Gothic atmosphere and hocus-pocus sentimentality."
‑ Steven Winn, San Francisco Chronicle
"A slow procession of degradation and suffering, Hounddog is like a tall glass of bitter iced tea."
‑ David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Hounddog boasts a distinctive wood-and-emerald look and several crackerjack performances."
‑ Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun
"We're seeing Fanning in soaking wet white underwear playing in the river, gyrating like Elvis. That's worse that an exploitative rape scene. This is just the filmmakers deciding to depict salacious behavior."
‑ Fred Topel, Can Magazine
"A handsomely produced but unintentionally risible film that mistakes high grotesquerie for high gothic."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Only Fanning's emotional honesty makes Hounddog watchable."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"The latest wallow in regional cliche and stereotype."
‑ Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger
"...as discomfiting as you've heard, yet there is one moment near the end that nearly saves it."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"It's hard to take this wild mixture of sledgehammer symbolism, period Southern Gothic, race-conscious uplift and cautionary coming-of-age parable seriously, despite Fanning's remarkable poise."
‑ Frank Swietek, One Guy's Opinion
"Kampmeier takes everything from the Flannery O'Connor school of Southern Gothic, tosses in cringe-worthy dialogue, and throws in not one but two horrible archetypes for good measure."
‑ Jennifer Miller, Premiere Magazine
"If there's a Southern-gothic cliché (oh, those snakes!) that writer-director Deborah Kampmeier misses, I don't know it."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"The clichés are thick as the kudzu in 1956 Alabama."
‑ Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"Fanning resembles an acting robot: stick a quarter in her head and she'll dial up any reaction in the book, absent the needed gravitas."
‑ Brian Orndorf, BrianOrndorf.com
"The only lesson is that if you're a child of the south, you better get yourself adopted by Yankees."
‑ Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly
"Instead of embracing its pulpy nature, it aims for seriousness, then gives us cornpone performances, a lightning bolt that triggers a tractor's ejector seat, and a simple-minded view of saintly black folk who possess a dangerous blues."
‑ Robert Davis, Paste Magazine
More reviews for Hounddog on Rotten Tomatoes

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