NPR logo 'Joshua'

Arts & Life


Jacob Kogan's Joshua may look like a perfect angel — but he may well turn out to be a perfect devil. Jojo Whilden/Fox Searchlight hide caption

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Jojo Whilden/Fox Searchlight
  • Director: George Ratliff
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

A 9-year-old who never smiles but plays a mean piano, a newborn baby with glass-shattering vocal cords, a mom with postpartum depression, a Bible-thumping granny with boundary issues, a seriously overworked dad — all crammed into an Upper East Side apartment where the upstairs neighbors are noisily remodeling. Sound like a horror story?

Well, yes — and, uh, no. Not really. Which is what provides this initially intriguing psycho-thriller with a modicum of tension: You're not sure for the longest time whether Joshua is a bad seed — he clearly doesn't like the new baby, but what older sibling does? — or whether he's simply having a bad month or two.

Alas, this mystery becomes considerably less mysterious in the film's sluggish second half, and when the story finally tries to wrap itself up, it gets faster, but also gets silly.