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The Center of the World (2001)

tomatometer

34

Average Rating: 4.8/10
Reviews Counted: 80
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 53

For all its tease, the movie doesn't have more to say than money can't buy you love.

13

Average Rating: 3.6/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 21

For all its tease, the movie doesn't have more to say than money can't buy you love.

audience

41

liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 2,505

My Rating

Movie Info

In this digitally shot feature from acclaimed director Wayne Wang) (The Joy Luck Club), the boundaries of sexual relations are put to the test by two individuals. Richard (Peter Sarsgaard) is a dot-com entrepreneur who, despite earning millions of dollars, feels little connection to the outside world. After frequenting a strip club, he offers Florence (Molly Parker), a sometime-stripper who also works as a drummer, $10,000 dollars to accompany him to Las Vegas for a short stay. She makes him a

Dec 18, 2001

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All Critics (91) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (53) | DVD (14)

There's something numbingly predictable about Wang's whole approach.

May 24, 2001
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Enough to send you running from the theater, yawning.

May 14, 2001
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wang is working on your mind, not your body.

May 11, 2001 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Way off-center in any world.

May 11, 2001 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The characters aren't very interesting, caught in a cycle of sex and rejection that while explicit, gets a little tiring.

May 4, 2001 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We leave the theater thinking less about how the film made us feel or think than the mechanics of how it was put together.

May 4, 2001 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...rings with a perfectly hollow pitch that's a digital video punch to the solar plexus.

July 20, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

Utilizando o sexo como ponte para estudar seus personagens, o diretor Wayne Wang cria um filme interessante, mas não totalmente satisfatório.

November 18, 2003
Cinema em Cena

Retains the dreaded essence of voyeurism dressed as art.

February 13, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

The dramatic push and pull of the budding relationship is not terribly original in and of itself -but in its ambiguities the movie soars.

May 30, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Experience
Film Experience

Peter Sarsgaard and Molly Parker bare just about everything, without really bringing the characters to life.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Molly Parker is a terrific actress, who tries to make something out of nothing.

January 11, 2002 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Wayne Wang's The Center of the World plays like a Mike Figgis film (and that's not always a good thing).

November 16, 2001 Full Review Source: Movie Boeuf
Movie Boeuf

A sexually frank tale of urban isolation and emotional need out of the dotcom revolution.

October 23, 2001 Full Review Source: BBC.com
BBC.com

THE CENTER OF THE WORLD is a lot like its subject, strippers; it looks great, but leaves you oddly unfulfilled.

October 12, 2001
Matt's Movie Reviews

Thanks to Wang's tidy, knowing direction, we are subject to some fresh, unsettling insights.

September 4, 2001 Full Review Source: Premiere Magazine
Premiere Magazine

Parker ... enters the role with a naked abandon that fulfils the promise she showed in Kissed and Wonderland.

July 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa Citizen

The film doesn't really explore technology, sex, or anything else that deeply.

June 23, 2001 Full Review Source: Lawrence Journal-World
Lawrence Journal-World

Never gets past its own investment in arty pretense.

June 11, 2001 Full Review Source: Nitrate Online
Nitrate Online

It fails to bring fresh perspective to a variation on the oldest story in the world.

May 31, 2001
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Why is it that "prestige" sex films, made by name directors and featuring estimable players, are usually so boring?

May 25, 2001 Full Review Source: Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

The results seem not to have been written and rehearsed but to have erupted spontaneously while the camera was running.

May 25, 2001 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

...a topical idea, yet Wang alienates his audience with the shallow characterization Ellen Benjamin Wong's script provides his two leads.

May 23, 2001 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Feels like a rehash of ideas already so stale in cinema that it feels dated and even hypocritical in its obvious assurance of being an 'art picture.'

May 21, 2001 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Turgid and dim.

May 21, 2001 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

Audience Reviews for The Center of the World

A rich computer nerd brings a stripper to Vegas and tries to get her to fall in love with him.
I'm surprised by this film's weak story and slowly moving plot. At the helm is Wayne Wang, and among the film's four writers are Paul Auster and Miranda July. These are all strong talents; perhaps there were too many cooks in the kitchen.
What's troubling about the film is that we get such a concentration on character, but none of the real questions are answered. Why does Richard become so obsessive? Why does Florence break the rules? Where is the line between sexual obsession and love for these characters, and how do they determine it? These aren't minor issues; rather, they're at the heart of whatever the hell the film is saying. Additionally, Jerri wanders into the story on her way to another film.
Overall, despite the wealth of talent that went into the film, it's unfortunate that the result is not a sum of its parts.
December 3, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Depressing as hell and rather self-contained, The Center of the World is a dull, dreary story, shot on the cheap with an ugly, hyper-real aesthetic but a somewhat unbelievable starting point. Richard, a successful but socially inadequate computer engineer, meets Molly, a drummer in an aspiring rock group, iand decides to talk to her. Molly (very) soon tells him that for money, she works in a strip club, and one night he goes there to meet her and gets a lap dance. Apparently under pressure from his friends to 'get laid' (well, there's one scene anyway), he offers Molly a substantial amount of money if she spends a three-day weekend with him in Las Vegas. Of course, eventually she agrees, though inevitably there are conditions: she's only 'his' from 10 PM until 2 AM, there's no kissing on the mouth, and definitely no penetration. Guess what happens? The bleak ending is a bit disrespectful to one of the characters, but is certainly powerful, and the strong sex scenes are far more effective than say, those in 9 Songs. Though there's really no new ground covered here, writer Ellen Benjamin Wong and director Wayn Wang clearly have good intentions, and what elevates this into watchable, sometimes perceptive territory is the stunning lead performance from Peter Sarsgaard (and to a lesser extent, the performance by Molly Parker). Whenever films are shot on hand-held camcorders/home-video equipment, something about the way it looks highlights that people are acting. It all looks too 'fake' and static, mannerisms become exaggerated and it becomes quickly obvious that the whole thing is, well, fictitious. But Sarsgaard is never anything less than utterly believable; he is supernaturally talented here - there's no artifice, and though the entire film is really quite underwritten, his is the only character here who feels like he has lived before the film starts and will continue to live after it is over.
September 14, 2008
danieljparsons

Super Reviewer

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