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Kill Your Darlings (2013)

tomatometer

76

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 123
Fresh: 94 | Rotten: 29

Bolstered by the tremendous chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan, Kill Your Darlings casts a vivid spotlight on an early chapter in the story of the Beat Generation.

66

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 11

Bolstered by the tremendous chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan, Kill Your Darlings casts a vivid spotlight on an early chapter in the story of the Beat Generation.

audience

63

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 14,862

My Rating

Movie Info

Daniel Radcliffe stars as Beat Generation icon Allen Ginsberg in this biopic set during the famed poet's early years at Columbia University, and centering on a murder investigation involving Ginsberg, his handsome classmate Lucien Carr, and fellow Beat author William Burroughs. The year is 1944. Ginsberg (Radcliffe) is a young student at Columbia University when he falls hopelessly under the spell of charismatic classmate Carr (Dane DeHaan). Alongside Carr, Ginsberg manages to strike up

R,

Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense

John Krokidas, Austin Bunn

Mar 18, 2014

$1.0M

Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (123) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (94) | Rotten (29) | DVD (1)

Daniel Radcliffe is back in a pair of nerdy specs as Allen Ginsberg in this sincere, heartfelt film about how the gay beat poet found his voice

December 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bursting with hipster attitude and New York atmosphere, the fact-based "Kill Your Darlings" is a coming-of-age chronicle that morphs into a crime story without missing a beat.

November 26, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You don't need to know the Beats to understand "Kill Your Darlings," you just need to know the twinkling promise, and dark turns, of life.

November 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Overall the movie seems to wander, like the worst excesses of free verse, needing a little structure to rein it in.

November 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Kill Your Darlings" is a true-crime murder mystery, a love letter to the wild-living artists of the Beat Generation, and a portrait of the artist as an adolescent.

November 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dramatizing a passion for the written word on film can be tricky, but in his feverish Kill Your Darlings, first-time director John Krokidas brings creative desire to life with vigor and emotion.

November 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A good showcase for some of our most talented working young male actors, but not much more.

April 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Hooked me from the first moment and kept me hooked all the way through.

February 28, 2014 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A strong and well observed fifties period piece, Kill Your Darlings brilliantly captures both the heady sense of privilege, and the decadent whiff of The Beat Generation's brief and blazing demimonde.

February 7, 2014 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

The film suffers from the same problems as last year's On The Road, namely an undue reverence towards its characters.

February 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Daily Record [UK]
Daily Record [UK]

A powerful and insightful film about two controversial young writers who were never satisfied with the status quo and sought to change it.

December 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

A Bracing Look at the Beats

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Illinois Times
Illinois Times

Kill Your Darlings weaved the mythical origins of the beat generation into a fiercely engaging drama about finding yourself amidst crises of identity, sexuality and art.

December 15, 2013 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

Daniel Radcliffe and star-the-making Dane DeHaan deliver superb performances that tap into their character's respective insecurities.

December 11, 2013 Full Review Source: ABC Radio Brisbane
ABC Radio Brisbane

It's less about the flesh and blood Carr than using his in-movie inner-conflict and alleged moral cowardice to underline the travails of an ascendent and newly liberated Ginsberg.

December 10, 2013 Full Review Source: The Ooh Tray
The Ooh Tray

Ultimately, it's oddly conservative fare; well played, handsomely mounted, but as inert as the books that its protagonists blithely hurl from the shelves.

December 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The period recreation is impressive, but the tone is non-descript, despite the strong efforts from an obviously dedicated cast. No question, though, that Beat fans will love it a lot more than they did Walter Salles' inert On The Road.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: 3AW

Sexy and self-aware, with a 1940s-style Brat Pack feel ...

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Foster is wonderful as the watchful, weak Burroughs, at ease only when drugged, with a mouth like a cat's bum. But DeHaan is even better.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

It's much better than other attempts to dramatise the lives of the Beat generation like the recent On The Road.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Even though it's slightly too mannered, this true drama takes a clever approach to the beat poets long before they were famous.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Contactmusic.com
Contactmusic.com

Krokidas unflinchingly shoots even the film's most dramatic moments with an unusually shallow depth of field.

December 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

Revealing about the role played by violence, shame and denial at the birth of beat and of Ginsberg's career.

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

A kaleidoscopic historic present of youthful horseplay, frenzied ambitions for revolutionising the world of art and ideas, and polymorphous teenage desire.

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

A sharply observed script, impeccable production design work, assured direction and superb performances from Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan.

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

" evocative of a specific time and place while serving as a bittersweet valentine to callow youth, curdled innocence and sudden, irrevocable violence."

December 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Audience Reviews for Kill Your Darlings

A murder in 1944 draws together the great poets of the beat generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.

Mediocre Film, Didn't like it at all. A brave attempt at recreating the values of a previous generation, but the director seems to lose the courage of his convictions. The whole idea of the beat generation was that if you could dismantle the structure of communication and still have some worth, then anything was up for grabs. If poetry could give up rhyme and still have substance, then sex could give up its hetero prefix and still have love, and society could give up its mores and still find order. To such a message, the dull and plodding structure of standard film school does no homage. Nor do the film makers even seem aware of the message of the beat generation, putting in scenes of jazz, sex, drugs, and English class without seeming to understand their inter-relationships.

In the early 1940s, Alan Ginsberg is an English major in Columbia University, only to learn more than he bargained for. Dissatisfied by the orthodox attitudes of the school, Alan finds himself drawn to iconoclastic colleagues like Lucien Carr, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Together, this gang would explore bold new literary ideas that would challenge the sensibilities of their time as the future Beat Generation. However, for all their creativity, their very appetites and choices lead to more serious transgressions that would mark their lives forever.
April 24, 2014
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Kill Your Darlings is an engaging biopic of Alan Ginsberg set at the beginning of the Beat Generation. Ginsberg would other key figures of the movement, including Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. The Beat Literature movement took the literary world by storm by establishing itself as a genre that didn't conform to social norms. This is a brilliant film that boasts a great cast of talented actors, and is engaging from start to finish. The film takes a look at the early years of some of figures of the Beat Generation, and it's a well directed and acted film that has a well constructed story. Daniel Radcliffe is great here, and he proves yet again that he is a capable actor that can reinvent himself to avoid typecasting. This is a worthwhile drama that recounts an important part of a literary movement that pushed boundaries. The Beat Generation later saw these three characters of Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs publish important works that defined the movement. In terms of what a good biopic should be, Kill Your Darlings is a fine genre film that chronicles the early life of an interesting writer poet. The Beat Generation is an interesting literary movement because of what it represented, Kill Your Darlings is a great film with effective performances that really stand out and elevate the film even more. I had heard of the film, and was curious in seeing it due to the fact that I had read one of the works of one of the key figures of the Beats. Well thought out, and executed, this is a surprising film not just about the three figures of the Beat Generation, but how their ideas changed the face of literature for years to come. Ginsberg would later publish his poem Howl, Burroughs would publish Naked Lunch and Kerouac would publish On the Road. Kill Your Darlings does a great job at telling Alan Ginsberg's story and exposing this interesting and non conforming literary movement. Definitely worth seeing if you're familiar with the subject.
March 6, 2014
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

A very engaging biopic, even more for those acquainted with the Beat Generation poets but not with this early event in their lives involving a decisive murder - and Radcliffe and DeHaan shine with a surprising chemistry together, leading a great ensemble cast.
February 4, 2014
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

'Kill Your Darlings'. Acting charisma from the leads aside, it could do with some subtlety. Tries to do too much in every way.
November 17, 2013
c0up
c0up †

Super Reviewer

    1. Allen Ginsberg: Be careful, you are not in Wonderland. I've heard the strange madness long growing in your soul, in your isolation but you fortunate in your ignorance. You who have suffered find where love hides, give, share, lose, lest we die unbloomed.
    – Submitted by Vy S (37 days ago)
    1. Lucien Carr: Another lover hits the universe, the circle is broken.
    – Submitted by Sarah F (4 months ago)
    1. Lucien Carr: It's our duty to break the law. It's how we make the world a better place.
    – Submitted by Sarah F (4 months ago)
    1. Lucien Carr: Are you a writer?
    2. Allen Ginsburg: No, I'm not.
    – Submitted by Ximena P (8 months ago)
View all quotes (4)

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Foreign Titles

  • Kill Your Darlings - Junge Wilde (DE)
  • Kill Your Darlings (UK)
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