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Jack Goes Boating (2010)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 103
Fresh: 70 | Rotten: 33

It's made the journey from stage to screen somewhat worse for wear, but Jack Goes Boating remains a sensitive, well-acted character study.


Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 6

It's made the journey from stage to screen somewhat worse for wear, but Jack Goes Boating remains a sensitive, well-acted character study.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 3,926

My Rating

Movie Info

Adapted from Bob Glaudini's play of the same name, Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating, tells the simple tale of Jack (Hoffman), a shy, fortyish limo driver with a fondness for pot and reggae music -- he likes it because it sounds happy -- who meets Connie (Amy Ryan) for a blind date set up by Connie's co-worker Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega), who is married to Jack's best friend and fellow limo driver, Clyde (John Ortiz). As the young couple tentatively come together,


Comedy, Romance

Jan 18, 2011


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All Critics (104) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (70) | Rotten (33) | DVD (7)

The magnitude of the acting overshadows the modest reach of the material.

October 7, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hoffman the director can't compete with Hoffman the film's star. And he can pretty much just stand in wonder at the layers co-star Amy Ryan brings to the party. The woman is a natural wonder.

October 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's heart and story, both bleeding and mending, and its quartet of characters are hard to abandon -- and easy to care about.

October 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The best thing about Philip Seymour Hoffman's directing debut: It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman.

September 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It belatedly reveals itself to be a meditation on the different kinds of loneliness, presenting isolation as a form of social stage fright.

September 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Making his feature directing debut, Hoffman shows considerable generosity toward the other players, which was probably a good idea given his own listless performance as the mumbling title character.

September 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Refreshingly optimistic without idealization, Jack Goes Boating gives us a fantastic cast and manages to be charming and witty without sacrificing integrity.

November 11, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

JACK GOES BOATING is a poignant story about how love can be (often at the same time) awkward, funny, and important.

August 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Gordon and the Whale
Gordon and the Whale

A low-energy/moments of heat romance that rewards the patient filmgoer and bores the impatient one.

January 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Nation
Movie Nation

We do see New York from some interestingly different angles and Jack goes on a voyage which might inspire others like him.

January 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Hoffman has an intimate feel for the drama, yet he strives to open it out for the big screen with too many lyrical montages, and this occasionally blunts the more intense exchanges.

November 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The characters feel a little too condescendingly conceived as "ordinary people" to make this meaningful.

November 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Scotsman

The movie is a quirky updating of the 1955 Oscar-winner Marty, but less hard-edged.

November 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Seymour Hoffman's 'Fisher King' is far more edgy and risqué than fantastical, with some clumsy sexual explorative scenes ... It also has the wonderful one-on-one bromance moments ...

November 6, 2011 Full Review Source:

There's an improvisatory air, overlaid with quirky charm but never any bite. Hoffman's performance needs tougher, more focused direction.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

A plaintive, sensitively-handled tale reminiscent of vintage Hollywood dramas such as Marty that knew how to tell such stories without seeming quite so self-conscious.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Hoffman's directing debut delivers a film so weak I could barely remember what it was about as I left the cinema.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

In places it has the airless feel of an over-workshopped piece, but is rescued by excellent performances: in particular Amy Ryan as Connie, Jack's shy would-be girlfriend.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian

With fine and affecting performances all round, this is an enjoyably old-fashioned ensemble piece and a solid start to a career behind the camera.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Take Jack's lead and give this one a miss.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Despite strong performances, this is ultimately a disappointing drama thanks to its emotionally closed-off characters, and a plodding script that can't quite escape its stagebound origins and never quite sparks to life.

November 2, 2011 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Philip Seymour Hoffman puts his oar in with a tender, thoughtful adaption of Robert Glaudini's stage play. A little too measured to deliver an emotional punch, it's nevertheless beautifully acted and at times rather lovely.

October 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Mesmo não sendo um grande filme, é suficientemente sensível para reconhecer que, às vezes, até mesmo a vaga promessa de um passeio de barco é o bastante para que enxerguemos a possibilidade de felicidade.

July 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

It's all a tad schematic, and the direction is workmanlike but cautious.

June 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

It's a clever look at how we struggle to do our best in life and relationships. Although sometimes the drama feels rather too wilfully "normal".

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Hoffman, the unofficial king of indie films, gets a bit too precious with his directorial debut.

February 3, 2011 Full Review Source: What Would Toto Watch?
What Would Toto Watch?

Audience Reviews for Jack Goes Boating

Jack goes Boating is subtle and heartfelt. It's the gentle, real and awkward love story amongst the deluge of brash not-particularly-funny rom-coms that are in abundance. Visually, it's a triumph for Philip Seymour Hoffman in his directional debut, his supporting cast are also brilliant, Ortiz, Ryan and Rubin-Vega pretty much carry the film. My only criticism, and it's quite an important and harsh one I'm afraid, is that it is very boring. I realise the importance of the subtlety of this film, but it's Seymour Hoffman's nothing performance that really suffocates this film that is desperately trying to come up for air. It's a shame, I really did like this film, I liked the story and I liked the characters, it just didn't have that spark it should have - Jack himself being the major issue.
July 9, 2014

Super Reviewer

A film about ordinary people - perhaps they get a bit angrier about their lot in life than some of us do. The characters are struggling with their relationships, and we follow them as they move forward.
November 10, 2013

Super Reviewer

Throughout the years - either in leading roles like "Love Liza" "Capote" and "Doubt" or supporting roles such as "Boogie Nights" or "The Big Lebowski" - Philip Seymour Hoffman has always delivered consistency. As a result of this, he has become one of my favourite actors and like many respected performers he now takes his first step into directing. For his material, he chooses a play that he's familiar with (and one that he performed off-broadway). Wisely, Hoffman behind the camera doesn't go for anything flashy but instead, delivers a solid low-key character study.
Jack (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a lonely chauffeur to Manhattan's upper middle classes. He takes comfort in his reggae and secretly wants to a Rastafarian. He also possesses a shyness which leaves him with very few friends. The one's that he does have, are his neighbours Clyde (John Ortiz) and Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega). Playing match-maker, Lucy introduces him to another of life's shy souls; Connie (Amy Ryan). As they awkwardly attempt to make a connection, they find that life doesn't always have to be a struggle.
It's because of the range and high level of Hoffman's performances that I was so eager to see how he faired behind the camera. Now, this isn't a film that will instantly have you singing his praises from the rooftops but what it is, is a slow moving but deeply involving drama that pays attention to it's characters and their subtleties. This film is in no rush whatsoever but it's all the better for it. It allows us to completely get inside the minds and the hearts of the characters and allows the actors (in this case, four of them) to take centre stage and provide the goods. In keeping with playwright Robert Glaudini's off-broadway show, Hoffman casts the same actors; John Ortiz, Daphne Ruben-Vega and himself all reprise their roles. They all seem on very comfortable ground and new arrival Amy Ryan, no less so. Ultimately, this is a film about performances and they are all uniformly brilliant. They deliver vulnerable characters at odds with themselves and the world, showing extensive ranges of loneliness and weary outlooks.
An emotive and pragmatic slice-of-life that's strictly for lovers of slow moving cinema. Some may find it tentative or cloying but I found it showed an awareness from a welcome new director.
July 12, 2012

Super Reviewer

Directed and starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Goes Boating tells an interesting tale of love found and lost - using the parallel tales of Jack (Hoffman), a rather simple minded guy who is courting a damaged woman (terrific portrayal by Amy Ryan), and the couple who play matchmakers, while their own marriage dissolves, due to infidelities real and perceived.

Jack is an interesting character study, the kind of quirky dude that Hoffman plays so very well. He appears to be a fish out of water, and yet there's a certain nobility in his steadfast desire to learn and better himself - if nothing more than because he perceives that Ryan is requiring it of him. For example, the title of the film - after meeting in mid-winter, Ryan says that she'd like to go boating some time. This refers to the romantic image of man and woman in a row boat, drifting on a tranquil lake on a warm summer's day. Jack tells her he'd like to take her, but when it gets warmer. Unfortunately he can't swim, so the concept of being in the middle of a lake in a small craft scares him. The solution: he enlists his buddy and fellow limo driver Clyde (another wonderful performance by John Ortiz), to teach him how to swim.

Clyde is a true friend, who revels in Jack's courting, even while revealing to Jack that long term relationships aren't all they're cracked up to be. His attempts to wipe the mutual deeds of the past away concerning both he and his wife Lucy (an uneven performance by Daphne Rubin-Vega) are almost heartbreaking - he has forgiven her, but she can't do the same for him.

Hoffman's directing debut of this stage adaptation is a mixed bag. He shows glimpses of imagery, but remains too tied down to the linear presentation of the story while lingering too long on silent shots meant to convey deep meaning. Conversely he plays too fast and loose with some of the scenes, like cutting into the bedroom where Jack and Ryan have just had their first, aborted attempt at sex. It is revealed that Ryan is psychologically damaged (which the film infers earlier, yet never delves into why) - and yet the entire scene plays as a quirky mess, having no prior setup to ground it.

This is the type of film adaptation where I was wondering just how it would be presented on stage. Sure, it's a small, indie type film, but the action seems so over drawn and drawn out that you wonder how it would present over two or three acts.
December 13, 2011
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

    1. Connie: In a bathtub, I imagined I was with you.
    2. Jack: You took a bath?
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Jack: Don't worry, I'm a good swimmer.
    2. Connie: I knew you'd be good.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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