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Cutie And The Boxer (2013)



Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 72
Fresh: 69 | Rotten: 3

A beautifully-made documentary that explores the challenges and richness of both marriage and art through the lens of a fascinating and complex couple.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 2

A beautifully-made documentary that explores the challenges and richness of both marriage and art through the lens of a fascinating and complex couple.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 3,839

My Rating

Movie Info

Once a rising star in the '70's New York art scene, 80-year-old "boxing" painter Ushio Shinohara is prepping for his latest show, hoping to reinvigorate his career. His wife and de facto assistant, Noriko, seeks her own recognition through her "Cutie" illustrations, which depict their chaotic 40-year marriage. CUTIE AND THE BOXER captures two lives united by a dedication to art-making for a touching meditation on the eternal themes of love and sacrifice. (c) Radius-TWC


Documentary, Special Interest

Feb 4, 2014


Radius - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (72) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (69) | Rotten (3)

It's a touching film and a fascinating glimpse into one of those couples you can't quite believe are still together.

October 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A painful, powerful portrait of the struggle and sacrifice required to create, and the cost that it can demand.

October 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story of an extraordinary marriage between two people bound together by their artistic impulse.

September 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A lively double portrait of Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, two Brooklyn-based artists who, after 40 years of marriage, are still creating side by side, and tormenting each other.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

More than anything, the film expresses - at an almost subconscious level - the difficulties of discerning not only what real art is, but also what true love is all about.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Intriguing as their present lives may be, without enough background to appreciate, for instance, Ushio's associations with Rauschenberg and Warhol, we can't gauge the full extent of the couple's regrets and losses.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cutie and the Boxer is an often quiet, almost fragile piece of cinema that presents us with a spiky and unglamorous relationship, still full of love. It's a beautiful and humane documentary.

May 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Quickflix

An unexpected but fully welcome treat. It's a great look at how both relationships and the creative instinct evolve over a long time.

April 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

[Heinzerling's] languorous explorations of the couple's chaotic home find the details of their sexual and intellectual intimacy in the debris of their relationship, the collected treasures and half finished, discarded fragments of ideas.

March 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

A sly, subversive portrait of an artist finally finding her voice... and the 'genius' husband in whose shadow she has long lingered.

February 26, 2014 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

The film (cough) paints a compelling portrait of a true eccentric with a vast gulf between his dreams and his powers.

February 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Daily Record [UK]
Daily Record [UK]

Noticed by Oscar voters, this offbeat documentary explores the life of two colourful artists who have an unusual marriage.

February 7, 2014 Full Review Source:

Bifurcated biopic about a long-suffering wife who, against her better judgment, put her own career aspirations on hold for decades for the sake of an abusive, alcoholic artist who took her for granted.

January 19, 2014
Baret News

The resulting portrait, of a marriage enduring through change, is funny and touching.

December 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

The only way you'll get a more intimate view of a marriage than the one in Cutie and the Boxer is if you're in it and maybe not even then.

December 30, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

There are plenty of eccentric couples in the art world, but few compare to Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, the fascinating pair at the centre of Cutie And The Boxer.

December 30, 2013 Full Review Source: NOW Toronto
NOW Toronto

It's a deeply affecting yet keen-eyed portrait of the struggles of art, love and life.

December 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Willamette Week
Willamette Week

Focused on the nitty-gritty reality of the creative life, as well as the people it holds captive and tortures, Cutie and the Boxer offers unprecedented insight into what makes an artist an artist.

December 30, 2013 Full Review Source:

This charming feature doc offers an anatomy of a marriage.

December 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Independent

The viewer begins to wonder if this is a love story or a hate story -- or if there's a difference

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

This works best as a portrait of a marriage, as Ushio and nimble wife Noriko rattle around their dank flat trying to keep the love strong as the water drips and the bailiffs thump.

November 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

For all its miseries, Cutie and the Boxer - interweaving archive footage with contemporary discontents - ends up arguing strongly for the power of love.

November 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

Alternating between intimacy and intrusion, this is a revealing, affectionate and occasionally charming insight into a creative partnership.

November 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The couple are thriving, but, given what we learn about Alex, the up-beat ending jars.

November 1, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

An equally heartwarming and heartbreaking film about art, marriage and old age.

November 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

Engaging, fly-on-the-wall documentary that paints an intriguing portrait of the artistic process and offers a fascinating glimpse into the workings of a 40 year old marriage, with all its attendant ups and downs.

October 31, 2013 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Audience Reviews for Cutie And The Boxer

Cutie and the Boxer is quite a unique 'portrait of an artist' documentary in that it is a portrait of two artists, both married to one another. It's quite a personal insight to a small closed off family, Ushio Shinohara often coming off as the villein (which he is in many ways) and Noriko Shinohara coming off as a the naive victim (who is now fighting back), which is hard to comprehend or find sympathy for after 40 years of life together. I do wonder if they realised how their only son would come off after the film was released, seeing as they pretty much show him as a ghostly alcoholic whose alcoholism is acknowledged by themselves as their fault but shrugged off as just 'one of those things'. I like the art and can see its appeal, the film highlights the fleeting success an artist can experience in their lifetime and the repercussions it can have on their lives, although this is very much about the Shinohara's rather than artists in general. You can take it all with a pinch of salt too, seeing as the conclusion is a financially successful New York gallery show. We all have tough months, I'm not sure why we would think artists, celebrities or those who were once more successful than they are now would be immune but this is an entertaining enough example of just that. Don't expect an art lesson though.
March 13, 2014

Super Reviewer

What first seems like a simple documentary turns out to be a complex and deeply sad portrait of an old couple of artists whose creative force derives from their many differences and conflicts together, with their art revealing a lot about their resentment and unhappiness.
February 27, 2014

Super Reviewer

This film is so well-made that it hardly even feels like a documentary. This couple acts as if the camera is not even following them around. Following the life of two struggling artists who are a questionable couple from the beginning, is one of the strongest romances I have seen in a really long time. I know it is a documentary so the emotions are genuine, but that makes no difference to me, because watching two people with this much devotion, hatred, and love for their passions and each other was breathtaking. This picture gave me a whole new perspective on life. I highly recommend this film to any aspiring artists of any sort. Whether it be paintings, drawings, filmmaking, etc. "Cutie and the Boxer" is brilliant in it's show-don't-tell aspect. Portions of the film is told through her drawings and old footage of their lives has been archived into this film. I loved every second of this film. One of the best of 2013!
February 26, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Opening with the striking image of an 80 year old Asian man putting on comically large boxing gloves, dipping them into black paint and proceeding to aggressively pummel a white canvas, which stands twice his size, it would be easy to say this is a doc which contains some imagery that commands attention. But more so, "Cutie and the Boxer" contains more intriguing nuances within its character analysis. Especially during the latter portions, where Heinzerling focuses more on Noriko and her hand drawn animations; animations which star a quite liberated female character, who goes by the name "Cutie". During this section of the film "Cutie and the Boxer" takes its purest and most developed form, as these character's true motivations become transparent.

Read the rest of my review at:

Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
February 16, 2014
Markus Emilio Robinson
Markus Robinson

Super Reviewer

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