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Flawless (1999)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 6

Uneven performances, formulaic.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 7,562

My Rating

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


Drama, Comedy

Joel Schumacher

Aug 14, 2001

MGM - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (65) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (31) | DVD (8)

Outdated and schematic, this two-character melodrama belongs to the 1970s, when transsexuals were "novel" dramatic persona; even the gifted Philip Seymour Hoffman is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

July 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You need a pair of huge, hairy ones to make a picture this bad and call it "Flawless."

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop 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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a well-balance work that captures the often jaw dropping performances by the dancers.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

What's worse than a film directed by Joel Schumacher? How about a film written and directed by Joel Schumacher?

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

De Niro and Hoffman deliver the goods, but they are lost within a cockamamie, violent subplot that pulls down everything.

August 15, 2002 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

a piece of junk jewelry even Robert DeNiro and Philip Seymour Hoffman can't make sparkle. Heaven knows they try, though.

June 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Hoffman, who until now has played supporting roles in films such as "Boogie Nights" and "Happiness," proves a powerful peer for his macho co-star, even in stiletto heels.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Joel Schumacher has served up a big, steamy Butterball with all the trimmings.

September 27, 2001 Full Review Source:

The involvement of several real-life drag queens contributes to both the exhuberence, authenticity, and sheer panache to mark something of a return to form for the idiosyncratic director.

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source:

Flawless is a fractured picture, which is its most winning aspect.

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Oh. My. God. Who came up with the idea for this piece of junk?

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source:

There's a nice moment or two, and the two central performances are OK, but it's grindingly predictable, and, for all its good intentions and celebration of diversity, it finally just rings false as a human drama.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Proves that neither a respected great like Robert De Niro or an up-and-comer like Philip Seymour Hoffman can save a film as foolish and misguided as this one.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

Joel Schumacher has set himself up for the easy critical jab, so allow me to get it out of the way right here, right now: Flawless is anything but.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Seedy, grimy and unsightly as hell, even as it aspires to find the inner diva in us all, "Flawless" is what happens when a filmmaker has no sense of naturalism, no sense of realism and no real natural sense.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

Schumacher sets gay screen images back about three decades with this noisy inanity.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

While De Niro shows his usual skill, he takes a back seat to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who presents a stunning performance.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

"Flawless" could have been a quality character piece if only writer-director Schumacher had written deeper characters or exercised even a modicum of self-restraint.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: SPLICEDWire

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.
December 12, 2009
Contrived nonsense. Robert De Niro & Philip Seymour Hoffman are better than this. Joel Schumacher however, is not.
September 29, 2009

Super Reviewer

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.
January 9, 2009

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!
July 10, 2012
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

    1. Rusty Zimmerman: On her knees at church begging Jesus, Mary, Joseph and every goddamned saint in heaven to forgive her for giving birth to Cruella de Fag. And being a slave to my father before he died. You would have loved each other. He thought Archie Bunker was a flaming Liberal.
    – Submitted by Frances H (17 days ago)
    1. Rusty Zimmerman: You could never be as stupid as I think you are.
    – Submitted by Frances H (17 days ago)
    1. Rusty Zimmerman: What are you, channeling Jesse Helms?
    – Submitted by Frances H (17 days ago)
View all quotes (3)

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