Box art for Disconnect


drama, thrillers

Strangers, neighbors and colleagues and their stories collide in this riveting dramatic thriller about ordinary people struggling to connect in today's wired world.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
4 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5

Intense, powerful film explores joys and dangers of the Web.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Disconnect is a sobering and compelling drama that shows both adults and teens trying to find a way to express themselves -- and connect with each other -- online. Sometimes, it's for fun, but often, it's because they're lonely and sad and are looking for support. And other times, it's to hurt, bully, or belittle others, which can have very serious consequences. The Internet is also presented as a vehicle for exploiting young people, who may be trading their bodies for money. Expect scenes in which teens are baring body parts, either via webcam or pictures, and online sex workers are shown bare-breasted. There's also some frank talk about sexual acts, a confrontation with a gun, images of a suicide victim, and some drinking, pot smoking (an adult smokes with a teen), and swearing ("bitch," "s--t," "f--k," and more).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the role that the Internet plays both in Disconnect and in their lives. Is it mostly positive or negative? Or both?
  • Talk to your kids about smart online behavior and safety. How can bullying (both online and off) be prevented?
  • Does the film address the main concerns about the Internet in a realistic and approachable manner? Does it also depict the benefits/upside of the media?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Disconnect reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: What works is the uncomfortable intimacy of peering over the shoulders of, say, Patton when she watches YouTube videos of her dead son, and the shudder of recognition that our hard drives are our external consciences.

- Amy Nicholson, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fresh: Handsomely shot and judiciously edited, the film benefits from a superlative cast ...

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, April 19, 2013

Rotten: This dour would-be art movie posits that social media might be alienating people from each other rather than bringing them together. (Spoiler alert: the title is a metaphor.)

- Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, Thursday, April 11, 2013

Audience Reviews

4 stars

If this was merely another cautionary tale of the dangers of technology, it might not have been so successful. After all, that concept is nothing new. What makes this account so real is the depth of human sorrow explored. Disconnect does a brilliant job of presenting individuals and their human failings. Loneliness is a pervading theme. There's a lot of melodrama here and for the most part it presents these people with honesty and believability. In an equation where the sum of the individual vignettes must add up to the power of the overall experience, Disconnect scores very high. There are profound moments of despair. A daughter's sobbing realization she did nothing to support her younger brother is heartbreaking. A childless couple confronted with each other's online histories is discomforting. The online conversation between a teen bully and the victim's father is insightful. That father is ably played by Jason Bateman in a serious turn that showcases a dramatic talent seldom seen in his comedic roles. He's exceptional but so is everyone else in this reflection of converging lives. There isn't a false performance in the entire lot. There's genuine feeling on display. That's what makes this portrait so effective.

- hobster1, Tuesday, April 30, 2013

2 stars

Disconnect is a film that will soon be put into limited release all over the country. It has previously received some notoriety and buzz at various film festivals, as it has a story that would appear to be pertinent to today, while employing a talented cast to accomplish the goals of the film. The story is one that involves many interlocking plots and characters, connected by a universal theme: people struggling to connect based on the prevalence of modern technology. The story features different examples of this, including an up and coming reporter, who hopes her interview with an underage, erotic chatroom worker will be her big break; a teenager who faces the consequences of cyber bullying; and a couple, who recently lost their child, struggling after their identities are stolen online. The cast includes Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Andrea Riseborough, Paul Patton, Alexander Skarsgard, Max Thieriot, and Michael Nyqvist. Fittingly, the film's title describes my overall reaction to what this film has to offer - disconnected. I get what the film is going for and understand that it is well-meaning in what is supposed to be being portrayed on screen, but after a half hour, I basically got what the film was trying at and had to stick with it for another 90 minutes. I am more or less putting it bluntly, as I did think the film had a lot to offer for a certain audience and the performances were mostly solid; with Jason Bateman (not surprisingly, as I think he has lots of untapped dramatic talent) serving as a standout. I would also say the same about Frank Grillo, who continues to be on the rise and destined for more stardom in the near future, but there are issues I have with his character based more on the script by Andrew Stern than his performance. I guess my issue is that the film relies heavily on stacking up as much drama as possible, with little in the way of light at the end of the tunnel. A film like this certainly does not need to have humor injected into it, but the combination of so many characters all suffering in some way, with a message, and various stories that couldn't find a way to keep me heavily invested during its entire runtime seems like a film that that is not connecting with me the way it hopes to. Additionally, the direction by Henry Alex Rubin is very apparent in the way it emphasizes the characters' "disconnect" from each other, given a lot of very obvious framing and a climatic sequence fitted with some slo-mo photography and fancy editing. The film may not be as "wild and crazy" as Paul Haggis' "Racism Wow!" campaign that was Crash, but I really was not taken by how Disconnect was presented. Aside from some strong performances and having an opinion about a modern issue being put on display in a decently effective manner, Disconnect was not a film that kept me holding on for more. read more at

- DrZeek, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

4 stars

You really need to take a long shower after watching this one. Disconnect contains two basic messages...the Internet is certainly not your friend and you better start "connecting" with friends and family or plan on losing them. Exploitation of young adults for on-line sex sites, cyber-bullying and identity theft are the Trinity of what is essential peril of our Internet usage. Good acting and a tension filled narrative really drove this movie to a good place. Most of the characters in this you just wanted to haul off and hurt. Disconnect reminded me a lot of my reaction after seeing the 2002 movie Thirteen...dazed and scared in my ignorance of not knowing the sick reality in this big bad world of ours. (4-15-13)

- johncasey654, Monday, April 15, 2013