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The Majestic (2001)

tomatometer

42

Average Rating: 4.9/10
Reviews Counted: 139
Fresh: 59 | Rotten: 80

Ponderous and overlong, The Majestic drowns in forced sentimentality and resembles a mish-mash of other, better films.

26

Average Rating: 4/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 23

Ponderous and overlong, The Majestic drowns in forced sentimentality and resembles a mish-mash of other, better films.

audience

61

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 57,592

My Rating

Movie Info

Hollywood screenwriter Peter Appleton, a staff writer at HHS Studios in 1951, is an ambitious up-and-comer. His first produced screenplay, a B movie swashbuckler entitled "Sand Pirates of the Sahara," has just opened on a double bill with John Huston's adventure, "The African Queen," at Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Not only is Appleton enjoying professional success, he has a hot starlet girlfriend, Sandra Sinclair, the female lead in his big screen debut. However, life is

PG,

Drama, Romance

Michael Sloane

Jun 18, 2002

$27.7M

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All Critics (162) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (80) | DVD (27)

Carrey gets the best role of his own career -- and plays it with tenderness, valor, bravery and deeply moving conviction. I find him positively captivating.

January 3, 2002 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Marks a steep downturn in Jim Carrey's career.

December 25, 2001 Full Review Source: Village Voice | Comment (1)
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Darabont and screenwriter Michael Sloane's misty-eyed tribute may be pleasant in places, but it's too manufactured and deliberate to be persuasive.

December 21, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It can't fake sincerity. It tries ever so hard, but it doesn't have a single believable second.

December 21, 2001 | Comment (1)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Darabont is seeking to recapture the spirit of Frank Capra - with Carrey in the role of a James Stewart or Gary Cooper. Yet even though Darabont shares Capra's dewy-eyed optimism, his film's sluggish pace means he lacks Capra's screwball zest.

April 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

This corny movie may not appeal to kids.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Carrey is excellent in the lead role supplying both vulnerability and wit...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Don't even look for Clarence the Angel in this slow paced, but effective story.

October 30, 2004 Full Review
Kansas City Kansan

... The kind of uplifting movie that I think many would enjoy around the holidays ...

January 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

If this film were confectionery, it would rot every tooth in your head and leave you with a sickening stomach cramp.

February 13, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

Jim Carrey seems a bit out of his depth in this often-engaging anti-HUAC film.

January 29, 2003
Cinema Sight

For those who appreciate movies that capture almost every emotion -- from laughter to tears, suspense to tranquillity -- The Majestic was made for you.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Capra has been embalmed and larded with prefab sentimental glaze, a synthetic 21st century Hollywood idea of what Capra the director stood for.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Smug, simpering and warmed over, The Majestic is a horrible film with delusions of grandeur.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix
Netflix

the cinematic equivalent of the sanctimonious bore determined to announce his bullying virtue to the world ...

October 30, 2002 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The monotonous approach ensures that the film is meaningless, preventing any variation in tone from one moment to the next.

September 1, 2002 Full Review

Succeeds because of the earnestness with which it is being told.

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

An enjoyable holiday movie with a timely patriotic feel.

July 9, 2002 Full Review
Supercala.com

...totally harmless and inoffensive, a sweet, gentle fable.... It is also totally humdrum, stereotyped, clichéd, and, dare I say it, often boring.

June 12, 2002
Movie Metropolis

as full of corn as the frozen foods section of your local grocery. But still, something about this unapologetically hokey tale gets a hold of the heart.

June 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

That sound you hear is me -- still applauding Frank Darabont's nostalgic look at movies, patriotism, and the human condition.

June 6, 2002 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Disarming sincerity and an old-fashioned sense of class.

June 4, 2002

A movie that can be described as cheesy, contrived and hopelessly predictable should not be rewarded, nor recommended. But I liked it anyway.

May 25, 2002 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Los detalles melosos pueden provocar un poco de aburrimiento, sin embargo la cinta es emotiva y con buenas actuaciones.

May 25, 2002
Cinenganos

Audience Reviews for The Majestic

Although it has flaws, I enjoyed The Majestic, an atypical Jim Carrey film which functions as sentimentality and symbolism. This is kind of The Andy Griffith Show meets Its A Wonderful Life with Goog Night,Good Luck thrown in to teach a lesson. Set in post-WW II redscare paranoia, the villains are the paranoid beaurocrats, not the Communists themselves. The Majestic is a study in contrast of small town values vs. sell-out political expediency. Also, the town of Lawson, CA becomes reborn much as the theater called the Majestic is reborn.

Jim Carrey eshews his trademark goofiness for a sensitive portrayal, kind of a follow-up to 1998's Truman Show. Martin Landau, likewise truly shines as Harry Trimble, Carrey's character's surrogate father. This may be my favorite of his films, although he stole the show in Ed Wood.

In conclusion, this film is overly deliberate and didactic, but I appreciate it as a slice of Americana and sentimentality. The amnesia angle has been done to death, and better also. The movie with a movie, The Sand Pirates is pretty awesome too!
January 6, 2013
Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

OK this isn't exactly the most original idea ever and the whole thing feels a bit like an extended 'Twilight Zone' episode (one of the more sensible ones), but this truly is a beautiful film with the kind of performances that are guaranteed to make you smile.

A simple tale set in the 50's, a young man is accused of being a Communist and his life is turned upside down. One night he gets slightly drunk and drives his car off a bridge accidentally and ends up almost drowning. He gets washed up on the shores of a small town where he is believed to be a WWII soldier killed years before.

This is complete and utter American pie through n through and I mean that in the best way possible. Generally things like this can be quite sickening with all the Stars n Stripes patriotism and this does have that, truth be told this actually has more treacly gooey hanky moments than you can shake a stick at.

There is also the element of the all American Communist 'witch hunts' which is the whole plot beneath the surface. Its only kinda touched on really but its played out in a typically heroic way for the main character in the end. You think he will submit to the government, a government of so called democracy, but he fights for truth and justice and the American way. Yes the finale is a bit too vomit inducing for us non Americans.

What works for me is the pure visual spectale of the film with the typically quaint white building built US town set amongst the glorious Californian woodlands on the pacific coast. In short this film looks stunning, its made to look extremely whimsical of course but it works. The era makes this work even better as the sight of old classic US cars cruising around, small diners, the smart fashions, jazz/big band music etc...give the film a very homely taste that I think anyone (more so adults probably) can enjoy.

The cast is another reason to like this film, how can you not enjoy seeing Martin Landau in a brilliantly moving role. I loved 'Ed Wood' and this yet another portrayal of angst and heartbreak but even stronger than before. Gerry Black also gives us a lovely performance for the old caretaker of the Majestic, his gravelly raspy voice draws you in whilst his cheeky grin is heartwarming. James Whitmore has a small role but he sure fits in well, performance is perfect as is his costume and character design, looks good with the pipe. To be honest all the main roles are played well by a host of solid actors, many I have seen before and merely know by face, reliable character actors.

Then we have Mr Carrey, to be honest a brave move as before this he was known only for his comedies. This doesn't mean he was the right choice of course hehe, in my opinion he can't quite handle the kind of serious emotion involved here (at least at this period in his career) and you can see it. A case of being type cast for over the top crazy ass characters or idiots, due to this you keep half expecting him to do something or say something daft. Carrey never really looks too comfortable in this film surrounded by proper quality character actors, he was yet to break away from his over acting lunacy.

A charming nostalgic film that manages to homage the golden age of small town 50's America and the classic (and much missed) age of big regal looking cinemas, but is also a stirring tribute to the fallen of WWII. It is extremely cliched and cheesy, love it or hate it I doubt there will be any middle ground here. It really does pull all the obligatory heart strings to get you choked up, every old trick in the mushy book, but damn it...it works!.
July 26, 2012
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Still not sure if this was Carrey's best or worst role.
May 30, 2012
Raajay

Super Reviewer

Sometimes your life comes into focus one frame at a time.

Good movie, not bad. I often wondered how Jim Carrey would handle a drama and now I know. I kinda enjoyed this trip through nostalgiatown as Carrey rejuvenated a town with his infectious personality. Heavily dramatic at times but always with an undercurrent of jollity running through it. If you wanna see Jim Carrey in a whole different way you go see this one.

Peter Appleton is an ambitious young screenwriter working for HHS Studios during Hollywood's Golden Age, 1951 in particular. "Ashes to Ashes" is about to be released, and he's dating the attractive movie star, Sandra Sinclair. Just when everything seems to be going his way, it is discovered he (unwittingly) attended a Communist meeting during college when pulled there by his girlfriend at the time, and thus heavy suspicion settles over him and he'll have to stand before Congress. Afraid of what might happen if they don't, HHS cancels Appleton's contract and aborts the release date of the film. Appleton promptly begins to wallow in self-pity and spends nearly an entire night at a bar, then drives intoxicated through the streets of the California course until plummeting into a stormy river and getting knocked unconscious. Washing up on the beaches of a small town called Lawson. Although the people there are pleasant and likable, the town is depressed and lifeless due to having lost 62 of its sons in World War II. One of them, Luke Trimble, was missing in action; and miraculously, Peter bears a striking resemblance to the black and white photos, close enough to fool even Luke's father, Harry. However, thanks to the blow to the head and the alcohol, Peter has suffered amnesia and decides he must be who they think he is. Besides, it's not a bad life: Luke's beautiful lover, lawyer Adele Stanton, is all over him, the town has suddenly come back to life with excitement, and he and his "father" rebuild a movie palace Harry used to run, the Majestic. Unfortunately, Peter's memory returns in time for G-men to track him down.
August 9, 2011
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

    1. Harry Trimble: I mean, this television thing. Why would you want to stay at home and watch a little box? Because it's convenient? Because you don't have to get dressed up, because you could just sit there? I mean, how can you call that entertainment, alone in your living room? Where's the other people? Where's the audience? Where's the magic? I'll tell you, in a place like this, the magic is all around you.The trick is to see it.
    – Submitted by Nik M (24 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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