A non-stop, fascinating monologue that is enormously entertaining.
Melancholy joie de vivre permeates every instant in the film, made to look as ragged as possible yet elegant in its simple, loving directness: look at him.
Like any star turn, Holliday's performance rings utterly true. It's that indefinable but unmistakable reality-beyond-reality called art.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
This is a film way ahead of its time.
| Original Score: 3/4
Whether Jason is laughing or crying, he holds you rapt with tales that conceal as much as they reveal.
A mesmerizing journey into experimental filmmaking.
| Original Score: 5/5
Serves as a sideways time capsule, creating a blurry snapshot of an Afro-camp subculture during the era of Christopher Street bar raids and burn-baby-burn rioting.
| Original Score: 4/5
Shirley Clarke counters Jason's queen-bitch attitude by reminding us with vocal and technological interjections that this is a performance, and that aesthetic judgments have been made while recording it.
A masterwork of grand-scale intimacy ...
By the end of the long night's shoot, Clarke knew she had captured one of the most involving, uncompromising and revelatory human documents in the history of cinema.
[Portrait of Jason] says more about race, class, and sexuality than just about any movie before or since.
Portrait of Jason is a curious and fascinating example of cinema verité, all the ramifications of which cannot be immediately known.
A riveting portrait of a black male prostitute from the bold, gifted director Shirley Clarke
| Original Score: B+
Jason himself certainly provides enough artifice to keep any audience engrossed.
It's an intense, commanding film, though Clarke's wholesale appropriation of Jason's life and pain for the purposes of art causes a moral queasiness.