Howl is invigoratingly fresh. It has compelling filmmaking, a great script and tremendous acting from all involved.
| Original Score: 9/10
Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman attracted Hollywood talent, had an epic poem and a classic culture clash as their subject and still produced a corpse from it.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
To its immense credit, Howl the movie makes a huge success of this potentially problematic mish-mash.
| Original Score: 4/5
A docu-drama which has 'aren't we a clever little art house production' tattooed through every frame.
| Original Score: 2/5
Any movies that introduce new audiences to real-life moments when the world was moved forward a little bit by books are nothing to take for granted.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
It is the trial itself - which Ginsberg did not attend - that is the real payoff here as Howl's defenders and detractors get their day in court.
| Original Score: 3/5
The film's jigsaw construction initially lends an air of freshness and unpredictability, but as the film moves forward the lack of any overarching thematic structure or emotional dynamism becomes a problem.
Fittingly unconventional in narrative and driven by James Franco's inspired performance, this is a fascinating and thought-provoking tribute to an epic work.
Both poetic as film and insightful as dramatised documentary, an inspired piece of cinema.
Sadly, I found it only moderately enjoyable and rather smug, much like an average edition of the BBC's Arena.
Expertly brings to life the poem and a defining moment in the cultural life of America.
A beautifully shot, softly nostalgic look into an artist's imaginative, intense and troubled life.
What the hell is going on with James Franco? The erstwhile Spider-Man star is rapidly turning into cinema's Renaissance man.
The animated sections are entirely unnecessary and rather terrible, but there's no denying the power of Franco's eerily spot-on incarnation of the prophetic free thinker.
There are ways to put poetry on the screen, but this drama-documentary about the Beat versifier Allen Ginsberg fails to find them.
Howl's biggest triumph, however, is that it never forces the viewer to revere the titular poem beyond its eminent value in testing the limits of society's tolerance.
A shade of Ginsberg, but a refreshing and solid film.
More like a laborious 84-minute trailer.
Howl is the American version of The King's Speech.
Franco is outstanding as the gay, insecure poet, whose worship and love for fellow Beats Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady informed his urgent, passionate early work.