• R, 1 hr. 52 min.
  • Drama, Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Fred Schepisi
    In Theaters:
    Dec 10, 1993 Wide
    On DVD:
    Aug 15, 2000
  • MGM Home Entertainment

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Six Degrees of Separation Reviews

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Bob S

Super Reviewer

April 12, 2007
Way better than I expected. Stockard Channing was outstanding, the story was absorbing and I found it easy to forgive the obvious theatricality of the whole affair. Strangely for a drawing-room comedy - this film features some dynamite widescreen cinematography.
Luke B

Super Reviewer

September 17, 2008
Transferring stage plays to the screen is very tricky. By their nature plays are more dialogue heavy and are set in a much smaller world, often limited rooms etc. This is one of the films that seems to have a lot of trouble in transforming one medium to another. Lengthy dialogue isn't the problem though, it's the continuous retelling at different social occasions. Of course this all becomes the point by the last scene but it still feels awkward. The film could have shown so much more and rather than criticised the high-class wealthy elite it could have gone deeper into Paul's psychosis. At least for the audience if not the main characters. The film also revels in the fact it swings around issues of gays/blacks and both as though it is proclaiming something brand new and fascinating. Will Smith's refusal to actually kiss Anthony Michael Hall at the time says more about being black and gay than this whole film. It's certainly acted well for the most part, though it is clear to see how Smith has improved over the years. The humour also goes some way to creating a more enjoyable experience.
thmtsang
thmtsang

Super Reviewer

July 14, 2007
Will's character is very interesting. Is there really 6 degrees of separation?
Jason S

Super Reviewer

February 12, 2007
Strang movie featuring a gay Will Smith.
John B

Super Reviewer

March 21, 2014
Will Smith's first test of his ability to actually act..and he passes as a wonderful con artist. A good if not great tale.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

September 2, 2013
Six Degrees of Separation is one in a long line of 90s film adaptations of a stage play, centering around a young man, played by Will Smith, who enters the lives of two socialites, both confounding and informing the people he crosses paths with. It's a very unique film, though not entirely successful.

That the film is based on a theatrical play is evident throughout. It's very talky, and completely dialogue-driven. If done correctly, this can be work, but if done poorly, it can be a disaster. Six Degrees of Separation manages to give the script a cinematic flavor, changing up the scenes, keeping the story kinetic, but still has a stylistic and affected dialogue which is simply not befitting of a film drama. The acting seems fine, but the lines the characters have to deliver never quite feel true. To be sure, capturing the finer points of modern intellectual discourse is tricky, especially in a comedic format (perhaps they should have consulted with Woody Allen), but doing so properly is essential. Thus, the film never fully makes the transition from theater to film, many of the situations simply feel more at home in an art house, not a movie.

The story itself is undeniably intriguing, however. What I appreciated most was how the film incorporated all of the characters, and weaved a story that connected all of them, yet not in an obvious or melodramatic way. Instead, the film weaved the narrative such that we are painted a portrait of New York socialite life, while also taking the time to give some social commentary (albeit a little on-the-nose).

The humor is inconsistent, but also undeniable at times. The exact tone of the film can be a bit unnerving, in that we're never quite sure if it's being tongue-in-cheek, or unabashedly preachy. This can certainly be considered a failing, as the film seems lost in itself often times, a bit too bogged down on its own cleverness.
With its theatrical roots, it certainly isn't for everyone, but interesting enough to give it merit.

3/5 Stars
Sarah P

Super Reviewer

August 21, 2011
I enjoyed this movie. It was interesting and also funny..."You bought me that pink shirt for my new body. I loved that shirt!" Hilarious...and touching. You really felt for Paul and by the end, Ouisa too.
Chosen 7

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2007
Good film, great writing. Will Smith really became that character, he delivered such a great performance so early in his actor career.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

April 25, 2008
Pretty interesting. Will Smith first real acting role.
qtmemoe
qtmemoe

Super Reviewer

December 5, 2008
Good early work by will smith.
johnattridge
johnattridge

Super Reviewer

June 29, 2008
I'm not sure whether this film wants to be about art, or be considered a piece of art. The sophisticated editing, elegant score, intelligent script and insightful characters suggest the latter, but the film's final speech implies the message is actually about life-experience; art is just a method of capturing a moment or an idea.

'Six Degrees of Separation' is an odd title, alluding to the idea that one person can be connected to any other in the world through a chain of six people. Why the film is titled as such is ambiguous, but I'm guessing it's the formation of Stockard Channing's emotional connection to drifter / con-man Will Smith who, despite profound and lengthy conversation, remains a stranger to her.

Will Smith is a surprise in a rather serious role, and Donald Sutherland is good as the wealthy art dealer, but Channing practically carries the film; her eyes and performance are more meaningful, the delivery of her dialogue more genuine and her manner sophisticated. In what could have been a weak-ending to a marvellous film, she pulls it off surprisingly close to perfection.

Nearly the entire narrative appears to be told in flashback, but not as one story - the director dashes back and forth between an array of tales that connect remarkably well. I have never seen such a talky picture remain so compelling and intoxicating; it's like listening intently to a dinner-party conversation that has taken an unexpected route. In fact, that's more or less what it is.

We learn how the upper class Kittredge's were duped into welcoming a stranger into their seemingly important lives; we learn how other members of the couple's social circle suffered the same fate; and how 'Paul' came to be the confused drifter he is. But most significantly we learn the dramatic impact his appearance had on Channing's Louisa, and how who you know moulds you as a person.

So really the film is just a film and isn't really about art at all. It's about people, decisions, reality and delusion. Can you know a con-man? Is his persona all you need to know? I'm still not sure, but it leaves me wondering all the same.
Kevin M

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2007
Will Smith portrays a role that you won't expect. I now realize that it's a movie for few. Don't expect a comedy, this film features an unexpected gay nude scene.
shannylee38
shannylee38

Super Reviewer

December 20, 2006
Interesting script and actors also.
October 24, 2013
It's nice to see Smith's early work. The plot wasn't good though; the direction it's going in isn't very clear.
October 18, 2009
A clever knock on NY's upper crust being so judgmental, yet so accepting. The ending was not nearly as clever, but it still manages to get the point across that our lives and values can so easily be compromised to show our true colors. A stellar cast makes us believe this story. It was funny that the odd couple was from Utah that was so gullible. It also makes me wonder how gullible am I, I am from there.

I for one do not truly believe in the Six Degrees of Separation, but it would be nice to be able to make those connections.
RobertInMemphis
November 1, 2010
The leads are perfectly cast. Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland are the consummate pros that they always are. Absolutely believable as a long married couple. Hats off to whoever had the courage to cast Will Smith in the role of Paul. He couldn't have been first, second, or third on anyone's list of who could handle this role based on his resume up to this point. I can't believe he had the courage to take it. He is incredible in this film. His on-screen relationship with Stockard Channing is the heart of this movie and their phone call scene is wonderful. Ms. Channing's delivery of Ouisa's monologue at the end of the movie never fails to move me to tears. The movie's rating loses a half of a star due to the scenes with the college age offspring of the "victims" of Paul's deception are too "stagey", too loud, and too obnoxious. Since I've watched it so many times, I just mute those scenes.
jsbond008
October 8, 2009
Will Smiths' debut is witty, caustic, and hilarious to those exposed to the upper-class snobby lifestyle of the wealthy children circa the end of the 20th century. A great take on the play and I have to admit as cheesy as it is, I was laughing all the way through.
chrisisking09
January 20, 2009
Six Degress of Seperation is based on the stage play by John Guare about a wealthy New York couple who are visited by a young black con man that claims to be friend to their own children from college and the son of movie star Sidney Poitier. The stranger is played by Will Smith the couple, an art dealer played Donald Sutherland and his wife Stockard Channing. Later they find out the young man was an imposter and share theirstory with another couple who were fooled by the same guy. The friends are played by Bruce Davison and Mary Beth Hurt.

Six Degrees of Separation is well acted and written.
firstamb
August 4, 2008
Fred Schepici's adaptation of the John Guare hit Broadway play, 'Six Degrees of Separation' is not a fair telling of the episodic adventures of six people who ecounter tale of a man claiming to the the son of Sydney Poitierre, a famous black actor from long ago. (Only baby boomers or current college students taking film and media would even know who Poittierre was). Also in the story there is a supposed murder. The movie has an Oscar caliber cast, including Anthony Hall, Will Smith, JJ Abrams, and more, and that may be its only saving grace as a film. However, the relentless pretense that places the six people in a room for 2 hours discussing the class system of New York vicariously through Smith's story, is just boring if you're not a wealthy arisocrat playwrite! Come on! Guare likely didn't intend for this to take place in a room for the whole film. He intended it to go out to the places in the play. He just only had a stage to work with. Spawned several reviews by critics fawning over it to the point that the director probably needed a restraining order! Ha. Sure it was the best of 1993, but that year was lackluster for hits of any kind. Surprisingly, it didn't get the Oscar. It use is that kind of movie, long, pretentious, boring, drawn out with dialogue about a contrived idea wherein people are interconnected by only a few degrees. Nobody stopped to think that it doesn't make sense. (Oddly enough, the Academy ignored it, and it seems right up their alley)? Dated because only 7 years later, the Internet would connect people instantly by less than four degrees. A recent university study in 2008, fifteen years later, suggested that indeed there are six degrees of separation, in a given scenario involving the 2004 spin off drinking game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The study included a test group and a focus group connected via the Web. This however doesn't make it a good movie. It's an okay movie. It is basically My Dinner With Six Guests, (a New York version of My Dinner with Andre perhaps). If you're into that kind of thing, and long to be an aristocratic director making plays about talking, then it probably gave you two hours of unending orgasmic joy. All it did for everyone else was give them reason to watch it just once, headaches, uneasiness, an excuse to hit the fridge, or perhaps to use the loo, and never go back for a second helping. Perhaps it's to be avoided unless you like torturing yourself.
July 13, 2008
Upsetting, but an admittedly great film. This is the one in which Will Smith proved that he could act.
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