Jonathan White’s review published on Letterboxd:
The quality of the performances by Brie Larson and her young co-star, Jacob Trembley is undeniable. Despite Lenny Abrahamson’s copious use of strings, they kept their renderings honest and true.
Yet I felt disconnected and distant.
Not only that, but I was starting to feel annoyed. We’d started watching right from the beginning, and there was no ‘based on a true story’, and neither during the end credits. There wasn’t even an affectation of ‘dedicated to …’. This made me feel like the writer and filmmaker were exploiting the pain that real women and children who went through this horror.
I then starting thinking about if Michael Cimino needed to credit or dedicate to Vietnam soldiers who were psychologically and physically tortured. But I’m pretty sure Spielberg did for Shindlers List, and Lynch's acknowledgement of Merrick for The Elephant Man was implicit.
I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because I’m watching a bit too much Hollywood back to back on the run up to the Oscars that’s leaving me disassociated with what are, to most, touching, lovely stories. Or perhaps I’m just getting to be an even crankier old git.
I don’t think it would have hurt if director Lenny Abrahamson and novelist and screenwriter Emma Donoghue would have acknowledged that she was inspired to write the novel when she heard about the Fritzl case, and maybe acknowledge the shockingly many cases discovered since.