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Grassroots (2012)



Average Rating: 5.2/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 5

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 1,367

My Rating

Movie Info

A short-tempered, unemployed music critic who likes to dress as a polar bear thinks he can harness the power of the people to ride the monorail to political victory in Seattle. And he's right. Almost. It's before Twitter, before the flash mob, before Obama. It's 2001, and political unknown Grant Cogswell decides he must take down Seattle City Councilman Richard McIver. Grant has only one dream, but it's a big one: an elegant monorail gliding silently above the city's wet streets. Grassroots is a


Drama, Comedy, Special Interest

Stephen Gyllenhaal

Oct 2, 2012


Samuel Goldwyn Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (30) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (13)

An enjoyable, fitfully engaging but ever-so-slightly forgettable minor-key political comedy.

November 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Grassroots is a movie where bad ideas, because they're the ones championed by the "correct" side, are king. It never acknowledges that sometimes idealism is just another kind of manipulation.

July 19, 2012 Full Review Source: NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At first glance, "Grassroots" doesn't seem like much of an idea for a movie. Nor at second, third or fourth glance.

July 13, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although it only glosses the mechanics of local politics, it exudes an endearingly scruffy charm.

July 12, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is one film as misguided as the business-as-usual subject it aims to critique.

July 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Grassroots disingenuously has it both ways, reducing politics first to a David-versus-Goliath adventure, and then to an everyone-is-cool bowl of mush.

July 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A movie populated by dislikeable characters and written/directed with no aplomb whatsoever ...

November 13, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

[A] refreshing real-life political story ...

November 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

There's a terrific sense of righteous anger in this scruffy comedy about disenfranchised people shaking American politics to its core.

November 9, 2012 Full Review Source:

Proves very likable, if a little Sorkin-lite.

November 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian

You'll root for the giant all the way.

November 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Engaging, enjoyable and extremely well timed political comedy/drama with a strong script and a pair of terrific performances from Jason Biggs and Joel David Moore.

November 7, 2012 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

With Avatar's Moore on inspiring form, and Biggs the best he's been since early Pie, this is still worth your vote.

October 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Grassroots is so in love with its titular spirit that an underlying note of cynicism is never fully embraced... With results at the ballot so close to the line, though, one might reasonably expect a bit of a mixed message to emerge.

October 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

For what it's worth, Grassroots features Cedric the Entertainer's best performance to date.

October 11, 2012 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

You don't have to look too far these days to notice films abounding with jobless and financially struggling characters, in stark contrast to the recession-proof movies they inhabit. Top that off with emerging election year movies, and enter Grassroots.

July 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Long Island Press
Long Island Press

A smarter movie than you expect...It's probably na´ve, but it's also enjoyable and even a little thought-provoking.

July 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Hollywood & Fine
Hollywood & Fine

A call to citizen participation [through a] portrait of shoe leather political organizing pre-social media is lively, but seems more enjoyably quaint than inspiring.

July 13, 2012 Full Review Source:

Tale of a Seattle race for city council is strident and ultimately tiresome.

July 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

The funny adventures of two little guys who enter the tricky world of politics with nothing but passion and a dream.

July 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Grassroots

Gyllenhaal's film is based on the true story of Grant Cogswell, an out of work music critic who ran for city council in Seattle's 2001 campaign, his ticket a promise to extend the city's monorail in an attempt to make the city more accessible for it's working classes. As portrayed by Moore, he's an unlikable but enthusiastic presence with limited social skills. Running his anarchic campaign is Biggs, an impressive performance as a journalist recently fired from The Stranger for being too political. For the most part the film relies on the usual cliches of the campaign trail with our protagonists setting out with the best intentions but resorting to more and more dirty tricks as their success grows. Cogswell's incumbent opponent is a conservative African-American with ties to big business and the issue of liberal hypocrisy is raised in a way we rarely see with many white liberals preferring to vote for a right-wing black politician than the left-wing Cogswell who best represents their views.
November 5, 2012
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

    1. Phil Campbell: What happens if we do win?
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Grant Cogswell: You are going to do it with me. It's the reason you got fired!
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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