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Beauty Is Embarrassing (2012)

tomatometer

92

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 722

My Rating

Movie Info

Raised in the mountains of Tennessee, Wayne White started his career as a cartoonist in New York City. He quickly found success as one of the creators of the TV show, Pee-wee's Playhouse, which led to more work designing some of the most arresting and iconic images in pop culture. The film chronicles the vaulted highs and the crushing lows of a commercial artist struggling to find peace and balance between his work and his art. -- (C) Official Site

Jan 21, 2013

Independent Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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September 7, 2012:
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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (3)

"Beauty Is Embarrassing" is an undeniably likable film, mainly because White is a likable guy who believes comedy is at least as important as tragedy.

January 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Neil Berkeley's infectiously affectionate portrait of artist, puppeteer and genially profane provocateur Wayne White.

October 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An amiable if not especially urgent celebration of the life and work of Wayne White.

October 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It remains a story at all times - there's a moment at a book signing that will give you a big smile and goosebumps - and it keeps throwing great things to look at up on the screen.

October 15, 2012 Full Review Source: NPR
NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

His art is a force that can't be contained: No wonder he felt so at home in the warped environs of Pee-wee's Playhouse.

September 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The doc meanders occasionally, but we're grateful when it comes back to White and his creations.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is certainly not to suggest that White's work is worthless or unimpressive, but the way it is sold to us is predictable and unclever.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Judging from this documentary, his character is as exuberant as his work, and he seems to be one of those lucky people who simply can't stop creating...

January 25, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

If for no other reason, the film should at least be seen for its visuals -- or, rather, for White's visuals.

October 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Using animation, CGI and stop-motion, and mixing analog and digital video, director Berkeley transforms 'Beauty Is Embarrassing' into a White-inspired but Berkeley made work of pop-folk art

October 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

It's ... indulgent, not admitting that White's new gimmick wears out its welcome, and never making the case that White deserves his own documentary.

October 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

This isn't necessarily a life-altering work, but there's no denying that the fun White gets out of his work is pretty irresistible.

October 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Beauty is Embarrassing is a funny, enormously entertaining film, built around an autobiographical show White performs for a theater audience.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Leonard Maltin's Picks
Leonard Maltin's Picks

These moments elevate Beauty Is Embarrassing beyond mere tribute to an undersung artist into a far rarer thing: a glimpse into the galvanizing effect art -- good art, bad art, fine art, folk art, or 5th-grader art -- can have.

October 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

An embraceable tale of childhood mischief, teenage rebellion, award-winning creativity and enduring imagination.

September 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

Audience Reviews for Beauty Is Embarrassing

Although this documentary wouldn't look out of place as an episode of Sundance's Iconoclast series, this look at Wayne White, the warped mind behind the look of PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE, has so much heart that I'm not mad about seeing it in a theater. A simultaneous celebration of individualism and family, the film looks at the lifelong journey of a singular artist who is forever in pursuit of his own voice. From his distinctive Southern roots to his boho NYC existence to his accidentally falling into puppeteering, Wayne White is the best kind of outcast - a man who takes "found art" to new levels, who finds beauty in sticks, cardboard, and assorted junk. He finds joy in the simplest things, and like a true artist, he is forever in discovery mode. The father in a family of artists, we experience the loveliness of a wife who is strong support yet is on her own artistic adventure. His two children, also artists, help complete the perfect colony. You can't help but root for this thrilling team.

The film is oddball, almost impressionistic - much like its subject. It becomes deeply moving, however, when he journeys back to his hometown to start a project with a lifelong friend who experienced a much-different artistic life. They work on a project together which almost feels like the statement of their lives. They engage an entire school's art department to build a larger-than-life puppet and prance it around town. To see the looks on the eyes of the children as they gape at this creation is to truly know how much art can mean to people in their lives. It is pure magic and so is this film.
August 30, 2012
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer

A wonderful documentary on the creative genius that is Wayne White. I would have loved to have heard more about the Pee Wee's Playhouse era but to do so would have harmed us in learning more about Wayne. An amusing tale.
November 21, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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