Public Speaking (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Public Speaking (2011)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

"Public Speaking" is a feature-length documentary in the vein of "American Boy" and "Italian American." The film weaves together extemporaneous monologues featuring Fran Lebowitz with archival footage.The effect is a portrait of Fran's worldview and experiences. more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 24, 2011
Rialto Pictures - Official Site

News & Interviews for Public Speaking

Critic Reviews for Public Speaking

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (3)

"Public Speaking" is an ode to the art of conversation, and it's a delight.

Full Review… | November 3, 2011
Seattle Times
Top Critic

By the end of this funny, insightful doc, you get a sense of an extraordinary mind that both fueled and fed the zeitgeist. Don't miss it.

Full Review… | February 23, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

The quick-witted malcontent, a Morristown, New Jersey, refugee who arrived at Port Authority in 1969, is the best kind of New Yorker: one with a long memory who's averse to nostalgia.

Full Review… | February 22, 2011
Village Voice
Top Critic

Fran's sardonic humor is appealing.

Full Review… | May 11, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Little seems sacred in Public Speaking, which makes it an invigorating reminder of a media culture that once was fueled by highbrow wit and provocation.

Full Review… | July 12, 2011

...[a] amber-lit, relaxed bar-stool hangout of a documentary.

Full Review… | June 14, 2011

Audience Reviews for Public Speaking


A fun and interesting documentary that rides Lebowitz's charm all the way.

Kyle F.
Kyle Fowler

Super Reviewer


"Public Speaking" is a documentary about Fran Lebowitz, writer, wit, speaker and occasional guest star on "Law and Order." What also makes her special is her possessing the special ability to not only think on her feet but express those thoughts coherently. Even then, she does not have a 100% success rate, occasionally stepping in it. One of her insights that I especially liked involves explaining why there are no literary prodigies, as writers have to have lived at least a little to have something to write about. For the record, Lebowitz had her first book published when she was 27.

Sadly, that's one of the rare bits of biographical information we are given in this otherwise entertaining extended interview, so "Public Speaking" may be more intended for fans than newcomers. Rather, the documentary is apparently more interested in a lost New York City(yes, Scorsese, we know you directed "Taxi Driver"). In a wider sense, that could also include thinking fondly on a time when public intellectuals like James Baldwin, William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal debated each other and walked the earth. So, currently, Lebowitz could be considered one of the last of a dying breed.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Its just terribly fun to listen to Fran Lebowitz speak regardless of the topic. I'm not sure what I think of Scorsese's stylistic choices that are thrown in at random intervals, but just to see and hear Lebowitz rant for an hour and twenty minutes is a treat.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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