Guy Lodge (In Contention): "Kidman, relishing the chance to allow most of the character to the surface for a change, is more sexually strident and earthily funny than she’s been since “To Die For,” but in her subtly brokered exchanges with Efron, smartly avoids patronizing Charlotte as a gone-to-seed Lolita. Gray, meanwhile, adds another spacily timed, implication-heavy, hazily sad character sketch to her growing gallery of striking miniatures – you’d say it’s a performance in search of a more coolly accommodating movie, but the ballsy, bonkers, sporadically dreadful but obnoxiously alive one Daniels has made thrives on all the conflicting textures it can get."
Todd McCarthy (Hollywood Reporter): "Instead of getting all prestigious after the success of Precious, Lee Daniels has gone even more down and dirty with The Paperboy, a tasty wallow in sordid goings-on down South in 1969. Basking in a funky, disreputable feel despite its prestigious source material and classy cast, the film has been crafted to resemble a grungy exploitation melodrama made in the period it depicts, which might mystify the uninitiated but gives Paperboy an appealingly rough and rasty texture. There is no release date set yet, but Millennium probably would be well advised to jump straight into wide release rather than go the specialized route, as many upscale urban types likely will look down their noses at the trashy milieu and behavior."
Robbie Collins (The Telegraph): "No criticism can be levelled against the cast, who all enthusiastically do what is asked of them; particularly Kidman, whose commitment to the role’s dafter angles is wholly commendable. The entire film is just a dismally bad job, full of unfinished plot arcs, pointless visual gimmickry and spell-it-out narration. The 65th Cannes Film Festival has just delivered its definitive "what on earth was that" moment."