Chelsea Walls (2001)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: The meandering Chelsea Walls is more pretentious than poetic.


Movie Info

Actor Ethan Hawke takes the director's chair for a test drive with this independent feature, based on a play by Nicole Burdette, in which a number of creative types living in New York's famed bohemian enclave the Chelsea Hotel struggle with their muses as well as their personal concerns. Middle-aged novelist Bud (Kris Kristofferson) is having problems with his latest project, as well as his appetite for alcohol, while he juggles two relationships -- with his wife Greta (Tuesday Weld) and his … More

Rating: R (for language)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Nicole Burdette
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 6, 2002
Runtime:
Lions Gate Films - Official Site

Cast


as Ross

as Skinny Bones

as Lorna Dune

as High School Girl

as Rookie Cop

as Bud's Agent

as Ballerina

as Man in Elevator

as Journalist
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Critic Reviews for Chelsea Walls

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (20)

Pretension, in its own way, is a form of bravery. For this reason and this reason only -- the power of its own steadfast, hoity-toity convictions -- Chelsea Walls deserves a medal.

Full Review… | August 5, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

It is dead on the inside, never quite achieving the movements and emotional solidity the material demands.

Full Review… | July 20, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Hawke's actors are a talented troupe, and even when things get self-indulgent and fuzzy-headed (and boy, do they!), interesting stuff is going on.

June 13, 2002
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Movies like this do not grab you by the throat. You have to be receptive.

Full Review… | June 7, 2002
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Were Dylan Thomas alive to witness first-time director Ethan Hawke's strained Chelsea Walls, he might have been tempted to change his landmark poem to, 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Theatre.'

Full Review… | May 24, 2002
Boston Globe
Top Critic

The movie is essentially a series of fleetingly interesting actors' moments.

Full Review… | May 17, 2002
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Chelsea Walls

½

Ethan Hawke's passionate directorial debut paints a mosaic of love, dreams, regrets and plenty of other things that we all experience as people. Hawke's unorthodox approach not only to storytelling, but also to film as a narrative medium, is refreshing and suitably out of the box. Aiding the effectiveness of this unique picture's beauty is a highly talented and convincing cast of actors. This is not a film that everyone will enjoy, but it's something I loved watching and it definitely appealed to me on a personal level.

michaelcorleone
Mike T.

Super Reviewer

½

I want to contradict myself by accident, and for you to know what I mean... This film, which really isn't a movie as such, more a feeling of mood with snatches of conversation, is definitely going to be something of an acquired taste. Directed by Ethan Hawke, the film shifts focus between the various occupants of the Chelsea Hotel in New York (which in the past has been inhabited by various famous poets, authors and artists, from Tennessee Williams to Bob Dylan). There's very little in the way of narrative or story, we just catch glimpses of peoples feelings, thoughts, hopes and doubts. There isn't a sudden understanding at the end of the film, and the various peoples lives don't suddenly connect or clash. The way it's filmed stops everything from feeling pretentious, or too much like a vanity project (which it undoubtedly is). In fact the way it's filmed (on digital video) - the dreamy, 'hypnoticness' of it - was what sucked me in and made me feel a part of it. The photography from Tom Richmond is beautiful in places. Ethan Hawke has managed to assemble a sprawling cast, some of whom are very talented indeed, presumably all working for scale. Among them are Vincent D'Onofrio, Rosario Dawson, Steve Zahn and Uma Thurman, but the two best performances come from Robert Sean Leonard and Kris Kristofferson. I watched this late at night when I was slightly sleepy, which is probably the best way to see this film. Cautiously recommended.

danieljparsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

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