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Chelsea Walls (2001)

tomatometer

26

Average Rating: 4/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 35

The meandering Chelsea Walls is more pretentious than poetic.

29

Average Rating: 4.4/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 12

The meandering Chelsea Walls is more pretentious than poetic.

audience

41

liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 1,531

My Rating

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

R,

Art House & International, Drama

Nicole Burdette

Aug 6, 2002

Lions Gate Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (54) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (35) | DVD (9)

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.

August 5, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop 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 IconTop Critic

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

June 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.'

May 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Linklater fans, or pretentious types who want to appear avant-garde will suck up to this

October 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

...a disastrously ill-conceived drama...

May 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Pretentious navel-gazing hoo-hah.

April 17, 2005
eFilmCritic.com

As you may know, this film is directed by Ethan Hawke. Nicely shot, well acted, fine direction, well-organized (for what it is), but short on both impact and message.

June 15, 2004 Full Review Source: Hollywood Report Card
Hollywood Report Card

The film apparently takes place in a fantasy world where people in hotel hallways recite poetry in voice-over instead of speaking to each other.

February 2, 2003 Full Review Source: All Movie Guide
All Movie Guide

This is a very ambitious project for a fairly inexperienced filmmaker, but good actors, good poetry and good music help sustain it.

January 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A free-for-all of half-baked thoughts, clumsily used visual tricks and self-indulgent actor moments.

October 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

It's a beautifully accomplished lyrical meditation on a bunch of despondent and vulnerable characters living in the renown Chelsea Hotel ...

October 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This thing is virtually unwatchable.

September 17, 2002
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

A complete waste of time.

June 17, 2002 Full Review Source: FilmJerk.com
FilmJerk.com

Hawke's film, a boring, pretentious waste of nearly two hours, doesn't tell you anything except that the Chelsea Hotel today is populated by whiny, pathetic, starving and untalented artistes.

June 6, 2002 Full Review
Des Moines Register

A dreary, incoherent, self-indulgent mess of a movie in which a bunch of pompous windbags drone on inanely for two hours...a cacophony of pretentious, meaningless prattle.

May 20, 2002 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

It is a film in which body language and unspoken human intercourse play a much more important role than dialogue.

May 13, 2002 Full Review Source: SPLICEDWire
SPLICEDWire

Reeks with phony posturing and lot of talking without really saying anything.

May 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for Chelsea Walls

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.
January 10, 2009
michaelcorleone

Super Reviewer

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.
April 29, 2007
danieljparsons

Super Reviewer

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