Best Reviewed New Movies This Week: ‘Little Men’ and Netflix’s ‘The Little Prince’

Both are in limited release in theaters, but anyone with a Netflix account can enjoy “Little Prince” from home

Last Updated: August 5, 2016 @ 10:49 AM

Wide theatrical releases “Suicide Squad” and “Nine Lives” are tanking with critics, but animation fans can simply turn on their TV to watch one of the most critically acclaimed new movies of the week.

“The Little Prince,” which started streaming on Netflix Friday and is also playing in a very limited amount of theaters, has accumulated a 93 percent approval rating from the 59 critics counted on Rotten Tomatoes, with only four reviews being classified as “rotten.” On Metacritic, the animated adaptation of author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s popular book of the same name is sitting pretty with a Metascore of 69.

Although TheWrap’s Claudia Puig described the family friendly film as “visually stunning,” she only declared it “half of a good movie.”

“With its charming, but thin, narrative, heartfelt spirituality and mythical elements, the Saint-Exupery book doesn’t lend itself to easy adaptation,” Puig wrote in her review. “Impressively, this latest undertaking, specifically the stop motion portions, comes close at times to capturing that ineffable magic. And it’s those exquisitely rendered moments of synchronicity that make the formulaic turns of this big-screen ‘The Little Prince’ all the more disheartening.”

The Wall Street Journal‘s Joe Morgenstern had a similar take on the modernized tale of a pilot crashing into a desert and encountering a little boy who claims to be an extraterrestrial prince.

“For almost an hour, by contrast, this animated version piles pleasure on pleasure, surprise on surprise,” he wrote. “It’s almost always bad news when someone tries to expand a classic with new material. But the early stretches of “The Little Prince” are less an expansion than an investigation–the Little Girl is refreshingly skeptical when the Aviator spins his stories of the Little Prince–and the material succeeds brilliantly. It’s a paradox, then, as well as a pity, that the film loses its way at precisely the point when the new story starts to merge with the old one.”

Mark Osborne (“Kung Fu Panda”) directed the movie, which features the voices of Jeff BridgesJames Franco, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Benicio Del Toro, and Paul Giamatti.

Those in the mood for critically acclaimed live action will have to hunt down a theater playing another small release called “Little Men,” which currently holds a 95 percent approval rating from the 40 critics counted on Rotten Tomatoes, with only two of the reviews being negative. It has a Metascore of 86.

Director Ira Sachs‘ coming-of-age drama, starring Greg Kinnear, explores how a feud between adults can affect two young boys growing up in Brooklyn. TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde praised the talented ensemble cast in his review.

“‘Little Men’s’ 85 minutes go by in a flash, but Sachs plays games with time, stretching out incidental moments and then leaping weeks or months ahead. For all its dramatic inevitabilities, you never quite know what’s coming next, and though the adults pretend to be prepared, they’re not much quicker on their feet than their teenage sons,” he wrote.

Globe and Mail critic Johanna Schneller thought the drama was “as nail-biting (in its quiet way) as any thriller.”

“By the end, Sachs has raised urgent questions about immigration, classism, gentrification, loyalty, family and nascent sexuality – but he’s done so utterly organically, via 10 square feet of city. Lovely,” Schneller concluded.

Playboy critic Stephen Rebello was impressed by just about every aspect of the movie that will “kick you right in the feels,” according the headline of his review.

“There isn’t an off performance in the whole 85-minute movie,” Rebello wrote. “Sachs directs with finesse, subtlety and humor, and Dickon Hinchliffe’s score is a little beauty. ‘Little Men’ needs no explosions, no CGI, no dramatic pyrotechnics. It just sneaks up and wallops you.”