Byrd and Jenkins earn the film its critical points, but the screenplay has too many moments that feel network-TV-bland.
- Joel Brown, Boston Globe, October 25, 2011
There's something sweet about Jonathan Segal's modest high school drama, "Norman," despite the contrivances of its protagonist's predicament and its stacking of the emotional deck.
- Andy Webster, New York Times, October 21, 2011
There's a winning emotional truth in the father-son scenes in this Spokane-shot sleeper, directed with skill and sensitivity by Jonathan Segal.
- Lou Lumenick, New York Post, October 21, 2011
For first-time screenwriter Wingate and Segal, in only his second feature (2004's "The Last Run), it's impressive work - they never overplay the pity card, opting for insight into the complexities of growing up instead.
- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2011
For me, Richard Jenkins is the heart of "Norman." How often I've admired him; even in unworthy roles, he has such strength, he never seems the need to try.
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, October 20, 2011
Although Norman succeeds in fleshing out its troubled main character, the actions of his peers are consistently harder to accept.
- Benjamin Mercer, Village Voice, October 18, 2011
Jonathan Segal's polished sophomore feature effectively grows more serious as it confronts the already grieving hero with the imminent loss of a second parent.
- Dennis Harvey, Variety, September 29, 2011
Coming-of-age tales have been done and done again, but Jonathan Segal's Norman delivers a bracing twist on the genre.
- Jon Frosch, Hollywood Reporter, September 29, 2011
The director, Jonathan Segal, skillfully builds on the tension that this situation creates, though he can't quite make Wingate's ending click. Still, Segal is so good with his actors that you may not mind.
- John Hartl, Seattle Times, October 20, 2011
Perhaps there was a disjuncture between director Jonathan Segal and screenwriter Talton Wingate, or the two first-timers didn't realize how difficult their movie-world premise makes it to take anything else in the film seriously.
- Sam Adams, AV Club, October 20, 2011
A would-be dark, self-congratulatory dramedy that lacks both transgressive laughter and honest engagement with its themes of death and teen depression.
- Bill Weber, Slant Magazine, October 19, 2011