Flawless (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

Flawless (1999)



Critic Consensus: Uneven performances, formulaic.

Movie Info

Can a homophobic former rent-a-cop find happiness learning to sing with a man in a dress? That's the big question in this comedy-drama. A retired security guard (Robert De Niro), deeply conservative and set in his ways, falls victim to a debilitating stroke. His doctors prescribe an extensive program of physical therapy once he's released from the hospital, including singing lessons to help him regain his full powers of speech. As it turns out, there's a vocal instructor living next door to the guard, so he signs up only to discover that his new teacher is a flamboyant drag queen awaiting a sex-change operation (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Written and directed by Joel Schumacher, Flawless also stars Wilson Jermaine Heredia and Daphne Rubin-Vega, both of whom first gained notice in the Broadway musical +Rent, as well as Rory Cochran and Barry Miller.more
Rating: R (for pervasive language and strong violence)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Joel Schumacher
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 14, 2001


Robert De Niro
as Walt Koontz
Philip Seymour Hoffm...
as Rusty Zimmerman
Barry Miller
as Leonard Wilcox
Nashom Benjamin
as Amazing Grace
Vincent Laresca
as Raymond Camacho
Jude Ciccolella
as Det. Noonan
Mina Bern
as Mrs. Spivak
Madhur Jaffrey
as Dr. Nirmala
Kyle Rivers
as LeShaun
Sammy Rhee
as Mr. Pim
Hyunsoo Lee
as Mrs. Pin
Raven O
as Notorious F.A.G.
Joey Arias
as Stormy
John Doumanian
as Mr. Terzola
Hamilton De Oliveira
as Hotel Janitor
John Polce
as Walt Stand-In
Logan McCall
as EMS Technician
John E. Mack
as EMS Technician
John R. Corcoran
as Physical Therapist
Matt Merchant
as Man in Crowd
Al Marz
as Cristal's Boyfriend
Larry Marx
as Bar Patron
Mitchell Lichtenstei...
as Gay Republican Spoke...
John Fink
as Gay Republican Lawye...
Bret Kropp
as Drag Queen
as Cop
Al Thompson
as Paramedic
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Flawless

Critic Reviews for Flawless

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (11)

Outdated and schematic, this two-character melodrama belongs to the 1970s, when transsexuals were "novel" dramatic persona; even the gifted Philip Seymour Hoffman is defeated by the writing and direction.

Full Review… | July 3, 2006
Top Critic

For what it's worth, this could be Schumacher's best film.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Its weary clichés and flat comic bits are apparently supposed to be fresh and insightful.

Full Review… | February 21, 2004
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

"Flawless" is contrived and overly schematic, but De Niro and Hoffman are such good actors that it never slips into pat sentiment.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

So awful it just might put an end to Hollywood's hypocritical infatuation with men in drag as symbols of its own supposedly liberated sexual attitudes.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

Any humanity in the script is diluted to the point of nonexistence by Schumacher's refusal to allow any of his characters to develop beyond the stereotype stage.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Flawless


Philip Seymour Hoffman's master-class performance as troubled drag queen Rusty sadly goes to waste in this laughable film. "Rusty" stands as the lone well-written character in this pathetic "drama".

FLAWLESS's terrible directing, editing and writing, as well as its inappropriate soundtrack (a peppy samba for chase scenes/gunfights, really?) and a forgettable turn by Robert De Niro are no match for Hoffman's insane talent as a character actor.

Another great film from Joel Schumacher, with a great performance from De Niro (as always) who very convincingly played a Stroke patient, but even more impressive was the performance given by Philip Seynour Hoffman, who delivered (in my opinion) his best performance to date. I love the way this unlikely friendship develops and is a very enjoyable film.

Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

I cannot believe that this film is so underrated... I found the story of Walter Koontz (Robert De Niro) - highly decorated "local hero" police officer - amazing! Well developed and done with warmness - warmness missing from most of the movies today! The real story starts when one night, Walter hears gunshots upstairs, and while ascending to help he suffers a stroke. Awakening with the right side of his body paralysed is something he is not used to, and his poor speech and posture gives a massive blow to his ego... so much that Walter becomes ashamed to be seen in public. Rusty (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is one of Walter's drag queen neighbours and the two are at-odds constantly due to their differing lifestyles. Rusty has a desire to undergo a transsexual operation, but lacks the money to do so. When Walter comes to Rusty to use his musical talents for voice lessons to overcome his impediment, the pair while at first argumentative and uncomfortable with the other begin to become friends.

Good acting from two real stars, but nothing spectacular. The screenplay is sometimes very rough around the edges... but it is real as it can be... Joel Schumacher did well in that part, but the directing was too formulaic, and that is the reason for the lower rating! This film could be so much better if he was a little bit braver!

Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

Flawless Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (17 months ago)
– Submitted by Frances H (17 months ago)
– Submitted by Frances H (17 months ago)

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