The Front Reviews

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½ February 19, 2015
This really is a wonderfully written script. I feel that the third act could have been slightly better crafted but the journey offered up to that point is so rich in content, laughs and brutal honesty that it's easy to forget a minor annoyance. Also, this has to be one Woody's better roles.
February 14, 2015
I'm a big fan of Allen's earlier work. Very well-acted & intelligent rebuke of the McCarthy era & its overreach. What started out as a serious agenda against Communism went overboard like almost all social movements & agendas. The film is very smart & highly entertaining at the same time. This is probably Allen's best film out of what I have seen & his best satire. People who are concerned about history should see this.
May 14, 2014
'The Front' is basically a statement on how ratting out someone can change the course of their life and those around them, in an era where conspiracy and paranoia thrived. A combination of comedy and drama, the delivery unfortunately felt unenergetic.
Super Reviewer
½ March 13, 2014
The Front stars Woody Allen (not written or directed by) as a front for blacklisted writers. I didn't find much funny with this movie, and often the story is bland. Woody Allens characters moral transitions, while important for the film, happened to quickly. He does have great chemistry with screen partner Zero Mostel though. The film really did win me over with the ending, and the charming credits. Shows the issues with blacklisting, and the industry during the red scare.
February 14, 2014
Interesting exploration of one of the darkest periods of 20th century US history: the McCarthy communist witch-hunts of the 1950s, and the resulting blacklisting of members of the movie and TV industries. Gives a good feel for the oppressive, paranoid, farcical and destructive nature of the witch-hunts and blacklists.

However, the movie pulls its punches. For much of its duration, the movie is a comedy. The fact that Woody Allen stars in the lead role doesn't lend itself to the drama of the situation. A full-on drama was what was required.

The final scene should have been a powerful indictment of the oppressiveness of the system. Other than the final line, it is very mild and unfocused.

As mentioned, Woody Allen's presence doesn't help the drama. However, as far as comedic roles go, it was fine. Zero Mostel gives the stand-out performance - a mixture of pathos, comedy and helplessness that perfectly encapsulated the plight of the average TV/movie star.

Worth watching as an indication of how stupid politicians can be (though we are reminded on a daily basis).
½ December 8, 2013
Formulaic, maybe, but also full of heart. Felt more like a Mel Brooks pic than one of Woody Allen's.
½ September 25, 2013
Okay comedy/drama for which a cashier named Howard Prince (Woody Allen) tries to break into showbiz. He finds a way through a television writer (Michael Murphy), who has been blacklisted from all networks, by replacing him in the writing division. There he pairs up with an idiotic comic (Zero Mostel) and their interests begin to clash. This film tries, but for me, it only has marginal success. It doesn't out like a competitor from the same year "Network" which dives much deeper and more effectively into corrupt television topics. This film is passable, but not great.
January 30, 2008
I'm not a red though.
October 7, 2012
A funny take on the McCarthy era. But it manages to touch on the most brutal aspects of the trials while keeping us interested in Allen's average IQ character working with writing geniuses. Mostel was also good.
September 24, 2012
UGH. I can't tell if I liked this movie or I just flat out hated it because god, Woody Allen's character is so fucking annoying. Does he always act this way? He has these super annoying acting mannerisms like the head bobbing thing he does, or waving his hands around like a nervous idiot. And ugh, his character is not sympathetic at all!! He's ignorant, foolish and just a dumb idiot who's also a selfish man who tries to get the woman he likes to cheat on her boyfriend! And when this girlfriend quits her job for "the greater good" he undermines her and tells her to go back to her job and apologize. Okay okay, so that might be the 1950s way of things but good gosh, Woody Allen was so annoying in this movie. "Here" becomes "hee-ah" and "fair" becomes "fay-ah". HIS ACCENT IS ANNOYING. Woody Allen sir, you may be a decent director ("Midnight in Paris" and "Match Point") but I hope you're not like this in any of your other movies. Hope this is just your character and not your acting style.
June 21, 2012
"the front" is an amusing film, mainly because it's lead character is played wonderfully and hilariously by woody allen. other than that, the film really isn't a comedy, but a very well written drama that chooses to not take itself too seriously.
½ April 16, 2012
Not Allen's best, even remotely. But the line "And furthermore, you can all go fuck yourselves" is still just as awesome as ever.
½ April 12, 2012
It's entertaining, but the drama works much better than the comedy on this one. A very bittersweet experience.
½ February 22, 2012
Not the best McCarthy-era critique it manages to work mainly because of its supporting cast, namely Zero Mostel and Andrea Marcovicci.
Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2012
An effective dramedy that works as an indictment of McCarthyism and the use of blacklisting during the Red Scare. I wish the film had opted to focus more on the nuances of blacklisting, such as exploring the political motives of the committees, but instead it decided to focus more on Allen's character, which worked well, it just didn't help the film make the large statement it intended to make. At the same time, it did do a good job of showing the effects on those targeted, as well as the great ironies involved.

3.5/5 Stars
December 31, 2007
Pretty good, but could have been much better.
December 21, 2011
awesome allen in a not allen directed movie
Super Reviewer
½ December 5, 2011
The Front is a worthwhile but flat film that combines a Woody Allen comic persona with an earnest desire to educate modern audiences (this was 76, it really feels like distant history now) with the Mcarthy Era witchhunts as they affected the enterainment world.Martin Ritt, himself having been blacklisted, assembled a strong cast who are up to the challenge, including Zero Mostel -also blacklisted-, in his most serious and touching (and almost last) screen appearance. However, this film feels weak and except for the last scene is not dramatic or high stakes enough to care. Woody Allen is a 'front' for some outcast Communist sympathizing writers. Until the last very effective scene, the movie wastes potentially dramatic betrayals by having eveyone be too nice and noble. The film would have been much more interesting, if, as the situation seems to lead to, someone would betray someone. Nobody does and the film doesn't live up to its promise. In any case, it's worth a rental if you can find it and are interested in the subject matter. George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck is a much more effective and dramatic movie about the same historical event, but if you want a bigger viewing list., give this one a look.
November 9, 2011
May not be one of Woody's more well known movies, but it is still a thought provoking and funny film. Zero Mostel turns in a terrific performance in a film on blacklisting made by people who were once blacklisted.
October 13, 2011

"Fellas, I don't recognize the right of this committe to ask me these kinds of questions. And furthermore, you can all go fuck yourselves."-Howard Prince (Woody Allen)

I liked the subject matter and the fact that the writer, director and some of the actors were actually blacklisted.
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