The Moderns (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Moderns (1988)

The Moderns



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Moderns Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

In this witty comedy set in 1920s Paris, an art forger becomes involved with a complicated scheme involving several of his phony masterpieces. Things spin out of control, however, when the fakes are unknowingly sold to a wealthy businessman -- who also happens to be married to the forger's ex-wife.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Alan Rudolph, Jon Bradshaw, John Bradshaw
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 17, 2002
Nelson Entertainment

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Keith Carradine
as Nick Hart
Linda Fiorentino
as Rachel Stone
John Lone
as Bertram Stone
Geneviève Bujold
as Libby Valentin
Geraldine Chaplin
as Nathalie de Ville
Kevin J. O'Connor
as Ernest Hemingway
Elsa Raven
as Gertrude Stein
Ali Giron
as Alice B. Toklas
Gailard Sartain
as New York Critic
Michael Wilson
as Surrealist Poet
Lenie Scoffie
as Femme de Lettres
Pierre Chagnon
as Stone's Bodyguard #1
Ranee Lee
as Black Chanteuse
Bob Gould
as Blackie
Harry Hill
as Mr. Brown
Marthe Turgeon
as Proprietress
Brooke Smith
as Abigail
Timothy Webber
as Stone's Business Ass...
Danielle Schneider
as Fille de Nuit
Hubert Loiselle
as Art Critic
Beverley Murray
as Eve (Group Montparno...
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News & Interviews for The Moderns

Critic Reviews for The Moderns

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (7)

A movie that makes an afternoon with Gertrude and Alice more boring than a faculty tea.

Full Review… | August 4, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

It takes place at that enchanted moment in Paris when the Lost Generation created itself and then proceeded to create, promote, fabricate and publicize modern literature, art, music and attitudes.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Rudolph's weaknesses pale before the film's overriding textures: Toyomichi Kurita's cinematography exquisitely crosses color with sepia and blacks and whites.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Everything is ersatz, even the surrealism in Alan Rudolph's 10th movie.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Moderns

This is a fairly enjoyable tale set in the art world of 1920s Paris. The look of the film and the mood it creates are the most important things; far more important than the enjoyable, yet slow-moving plotline.

It is highly imaginative and its representation of icons such as Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein add an extra dimension to the film.

The only true weak points are some of the dialogues between the two leads; it is sometimes out of place and almost too 'modern'!

All the performances are good but John Lone and Keith Carradine are especially suited to their parts.

Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]"The Moderns" takes place in 1920's Paris where Nick Hart(Keith Carradine) is a starving artist who makes his living drawing cartoons to accompany the columns written by Oiseau(Wallace Shawn) in the Tribune.(Taking the high road, he has declined a commission to forge three Cezanne paintings for a wealthy soon-to-be divorcee, Nathalie(Geraldine Chaplin).) Nick's former lover, Rachel(Linda Fiorentino), is in town, now married to a mysterious businessman, Bertram Stone(John Lone), who is rumored to have killed a man. So, of course, Nick slaps Rachel at the salon of Gertrude Stein(Elsa Raven). Since dueling is now out of fashion, Bertram and Nick instead agree to a boxing match...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"The Moderns" has an interesting setting and a fine cast but both are wasted in what is little more than a penis-measuring contest between Nick and Bertram. The movie is about the neverending battle between commerce and art but by not making it specifically about creating art, the film misses out on what made Paris in the 1920's special. Keith Carradine's wooden performance only hurts matters.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Made in 1988, this to me is a pretentious attempt at being a 1920's classic. Not only slow but will be for many boring. If it were not for the setting in art filled Paris where we are introduced to all sorts of literary icons.... Hemingway for one, this one with Keith Carridine in the lead as a starving artist could be better. The soundtrack is interesting with period operas, etc.

Nick Hart (Keith Carradine) is an expatriate American artist living in Paris among some of the great artists and writers of the time, including Ernest Hemingway (Kevin J. O'Connor), Gertrude Stein (Elsa Raven), and Alice B. Toklas (Ali Giron).

Carridine and everyone here is being directed to be some noir classic romance drama. Trenchcoats, hats, the cars and costuming all take us to expatriate France set in the roaring twenties. As a starving but intelligent artist, Carridine is persuaded to copy great art, producing fakes.

Not sure exactly what the title actually refers to, The Moderns could be indicative of the creative, artistic minds portrayed in the film. They all mingle together in bars, making wry comments. Carridine gets involved again with his ex-wife and a jealous writer who his current wife. A boxing match is scheduled between the artist and jealous celebrity husband.

Having been injured by a brawl with the husband's goons, the injury has implications for the fighting match. Young Hemingway is portrayed as an eternal drunk yet friend of Carridine. Hemingway is given a string of so-called profound lines that usually don't make much sense.

note: Kieth Carridine would make a resonable facimile of Fred Astaire someday as the resemblance is close. He would have to dance, of course and that would be a problem.

American film critic, Roger Ebert, in his review stated that The Moderns is:

"sort of a source study for the Paris of Ernest Hemingway in the 1920s; it's a movie about the raw material he shaped into The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast, and it also includes raw material for books by Gertrude Stein, Malcolm Cowley and Clifford Irving."

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 30, 1988
"The Moderns" is a languid, liars' film, rich with red lipstick and faux Cézanne. Everything is ersatz, even the surrealism in Alan Rudolph's 10th movie, a lingering sendup of cafe' society in the 1920s, of Americans in Paris, of hot air strong as cognac fumes."

See it for yourself, it could be fascinating, or at least interesting.

Genevieve Bujold (veteran actress, best known in Obscession)
Geraldine Chaplin
Keith Carradine (the artist)
Linda Fiorentino
John Lone
Michael Rudder
Wallace Shaw

Director: Alan Rudolph
Screenplay: Alan Randolph
Screenplay: Jon Bradshaw

Composer: Mark Isham
Cinematographer: Toyomichi Kurita
Costume Designer: Renee April
Production Designer: Steven Legler

Editor: Debra T. Smith
Editor: Scott Brock
Set Decorator : Jean Baptiste Tard

Associate Producer: Stuart M. Besser
Co-Producer : David Blocker
Producer: David Blocker
Executive Producer: Shep Gordon
Co-Producer : Carolyn Pfeiffer
Producer: Carolyn Pfeiffer

Monsieur Rick
monsieur rick

The Moderns Quotes

Gertrude Stein: Hey Hemingway. You know the sun also sets, too.
– Submitted by Stephen S (4 years ago)

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