Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child Reviews

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Amy Taubin
Artforum
June 2, 2015
Tamra Davis's documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child might make you weep (it did me) and might help you better appreciate a painter whose work matters enormously in the history of late-twentieth-century art.
Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
November 18, 2010
What may convince viewers of the quality of the art and the genius of its creator is the barrage of so many paintings, flashing each briefly before the eyes.
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
November 12, 2010
Basquiat appears to be a slippery subject, not unlike Bob Dylan, who is very difficult to decipher.
Sean Means
Salt Lake Tribune
October 8, 2010
[Director Tamra Davis] uses [a rare] interview as the foundation for an eye-opening look at Basquiat?s meteoric career ? and how art, fame, drugs and media collided in this one young man?s life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
October 8, 2010
Tamra Davis's documentary does serve as a worthy companion to Julian Schnabel's 1996 biopic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
September 17, 2010
When you see J-M's works next to Da Vinci, Picasso and Grey's Anatomy, you can see their influence, but their ideas take on new tone, texture and style under Basquiat's brush.
| Original Score: B
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
September 17, 2010
It's not an easy thing to actually give a sense of a person in a documentary, but Radiant Child pulls it off.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
James Verniere
Boston Herald
September 16, 2010
Finally, a film about an artist acknowledges that the art is what's important.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
September 16, 2010
In the end the art must speak for the artist; Davis wisely stands aside and lets the magical images tell their tales.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 16, 2010
A touching portrait that may not be the last word on the painter, but has facts and context to burn.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Sebastian Smee
Boston Globe
September 16, 2010
The intimate, home video footage -- which has never been shown -- feels poignant, a throwback to Basquiat's early days on the New York scene when he got by on his good looks, an elusive inner confidence, and the generosity of others.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Laura Clifford
Reeling Reviews
September 10, 2010
...may not be a well-rounded portrait of the man, but it's a powerful look at the artist.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express
September 8, 2010
Fame ultimately wore him down, but we can see Basquiat's influence all around us, on factory walls, in museums, and in Ms. Davis' adoring doc.
Top Critic
Kenneth Baker
San Francisco Chronicle
September 2, 2010
[Davis] underplays the place of drugs in the downtown club scene, treating the artist's heroin use as a nearly unaccountable late affliction.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Shawn Levy
Oregonian
August 27, 2010
A lively and persuasive look at the artist's life, oeuvre, and impact.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Brent Simon
Shared Darkness
August 26, 2010
An absorbing but fawning documentary about doomed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, built around an old, never-before-seen interview with him.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Gale Robinson
Dallas Morning News
August 20, 2010
While it is wonderful to see so many Basquiat paintings, at the film's end the viewer is left feeling complicit in the exploitation.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Fr. Chris Carpenter
Movie Dearest
August 20, 2010
Will likely go down as the definitive account of a too-brief career and life...(The film) is fast-moving without sacrificing depth or detail.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
August 19, 2010
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child is a remarkably rich documentary possessing depth, range, insight and compassion.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Gabe Leibowitz
Film and Felt
August 4, 2010
What really sets this superb documentary apart is its filmic vibrance: it practically pulsates with a captivating energy that's lacking in the genre all too frequently.
Full Review | Original Score: 78/100
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