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Paul Goodman Changed My Life (2011)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 1

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User Ratings: 246

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Movie Info

Paul Goodman's 1960 best-seller, Growing Up Absurd, became a cornerstone of countercultural thinking, alongside books like The Medium Is The Message, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and The Feminine Mystique. Goodman was a polymath: a poet, essayist, playwright, and psychotherapist. He was candid about his bisexuality while maintaining a marriage and raising two children. Jonathan Lee weaves together old and new footage of those who extol Goodman's virtues, as well as his adamant detractors



Apr 17, 2012


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All Critics (20) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (1) | DVD (1)

It is generally pungent and enlightening.

June 19, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
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In this heady documentary, TV footage of left-wing social critic Paul Goodman being interviewed by conservative host William F. Buckley Jr. in 1966 makes one realize how low public discourse in America has sunk since then.

January 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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As documentaries go, it's an able introduction that doesn't make its subject nearly as relevant to our current discontents as it could.

January 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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"Paul Goodman Changed My Life" is a documentary about a man who changed mine.

December 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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The movie effectively uses Goodman's poems to illustrate his life.

December 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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What makes him such an interesting biographic sketch for a film, however, is the way Goodman undercut his own successes.

December 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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Paul Goodman Changed My Life, a new documentary by Jonathan Lee, captures Goodman's ubiquitousness, as well as the fashionable intellectual bohemianism of the period...

May 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Playback:stl

But more remarkable than the accolades of his admirers is the (sometimes grudging) respect shown by his opponents and antagonists.

December 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Lee aims to revive Goodman's legacy, using archival footage and thoughtful interviews with surviving friends and relations to create a portrait of a man who was quite literally too complicated for his times.

December 9, 2011 Full Review Source: NOW Toronto
NOW Toronto

Paul Goodman Changed My Life offers memories of the poet and essayist, novelist and philosopher, practicing lay psychiatrist and a founder of Gestalt Therapy. As interviewees recall, he took these roles seriously.

December 7, 2011 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Intensely watchable and informative documentary about visionary New York intellectual Paul Goodman.

October 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Perhaps it's a tribute to the breadth of Goodman's life that even after 90 minutes, it feels as if we've just scratched the surface.

October 20, 2011 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Jonathan Lee's talking-head interviewees successfully bear the burden of making the iconoclast's dogged and prickly personality nearly tangible.

October 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

I sometimes feel like I like the idea of Paul Goodman more than the reality of most of his writing, but it is this cheering idea of him as utopian sexual and societal prophet that Lee's film brings back most seductively.

October 15, 2011 Full Review Source: House Next Door
House Next Door

Audience Reviews for Paul Goodman Changed My Life

Goodman is a social commentator that I wasn't particularly knowledgeable about. He certainly played second fiddle to the Beat Generation and then later by Chomsky. I feel grateful for this film as a result. Goodman is certainly an intriguing guy and the film makers give him his adequate due.
January 29, 2013
John Ballantine

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