Tarnation Reviews

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Time Out
June 24, 2006
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
April 15, 2005
Nearly impossible to watch, thoroughly unpleasant yet strangely arresting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
March 24, 2005
A soul-baring scrapbook of a film, its audacity surpassed only by its tragedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
January 21, 2005
Although aggressively unconventional, it's never pretentious.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
January 21, 2005
An astonishing multimedia diary ... all accompanied by a scrolled family history that is as harrowing to read as a ransom note.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
December 10, 2004
The movie climbs inside your head and rattles your consciousness.
| Original Score: B+
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
December 10, 2004
In making beautiful peace with a difficult past, Caouette has delivered a promising vision of a future.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 3, 2004
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 18, 2004
Its fierce emotional honesty can't be denied.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bob Longino
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 18, 2004
Tarnation may not always be pretty, but it's pure, powerful stuff.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
November 12, 2004
Mesmerizing.
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
November 12, 2004
Utterly absorbing and accessible.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
November 12, 2004
Heartbreaking film.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 4, 2004
Tinged with nostalgia and flooded with narcissism, this isn't easy to watch. But Caouette's fractured history is imbued with heart-crushing sincerity.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
October 26, 2004
It's just devastating stuff.
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
October 22, 2004
The mesmerizing, trippy and thoroughly heartbreaking result of two decades' work.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
October 22, 2004
A tortured, inspired, convulsively beautiful film memoir.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Charles Ealy
Dallas Morning News
October 21, 2004
It transcends the recent trend of self-revelatory documentaries and becomes something rare: art.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
October 21, 2004
It is to be hoped that Mr. Caouette can make many more films of all kinds, but he will probably never again be able to cut to the bone of his existence with such sublime feeling.
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
October 19, 2004
A daunting blend of head trip, cinéma verite, music video, and auto-therapy.
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
October 19, 2004
By all odds, Tarnation should have been an unwatchable, masochistic morass, but Caouette's love for the broken Renee -- which is the true subject of the film -- is awe-inspiring.
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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
October 15, 2004
A lacerating portrait of a family in free-fall.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
October 15, 2004
A remarkable and remarkably compelling document.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 15, 2004
It is a remarkable film, immediate, urgent, angry, poetic and stubbornly hopeful.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
October 15, 2004
A masterpiece.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
October 14, 2004
Caouette lifts his story clear out of the victimized whine that bogs down so many confessional memoirs and offers the viewer instead an intimate look inside his ravaged yet loving head, at once street-smart and haloed by the naiveté of a young saint.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
October 14, 2004
As raw and personal as a movie can be, the equivalent of a cinematic journal or diary. But it's also artfully constructed and articulated, written, edited and musically designed with often jolting brilliance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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October 7, 2004
Tarnation is a collage of pain that breaks over you like a wave.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
October 7, 2004
As Caouette lays out events in storybook fashion, what pulsates through Tarnation is that life, even at its most hellish, is a thing of perilous and desperate rapture.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
October 6, 2004
A tale of overwhelming sadness and fierce histrionics.
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John Anderson
Newsday
October 6, 2004
The results, Cuisinarted but coherent, are an entrancing, egocentric trip into a life so unfavored by fortune its owner would be forgiven for believing in past-life crimes and karmic retribution.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 6, 2004
Caouette has taken the broken pieces of two lives and slowly, painstakingly, pasted them together -- and created one superb work of art.
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
October 6, 2004
Certainly one of the strangest and most interesting movies of the year, and I suspect that in years to come a number of other strange and interesting movies will show traces of its influence.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
October 6, 2004
Caouette's triumph over his harrowing childhood and adolescence is itself a huge accomplishment -- but with Tarnation, he has used art, wit and a huge heart to forge his experiences into an unqualified masterpiece.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
October 6, 2004
It's a riveting high-wire act by a young man on the verge.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
September 30, 2004
A film that defies description. I'd call it some kind of miracle.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Dennis Harvey
Variety
September 29, 2004
Getting so close to real-life mental illness, via footage that spans many years, renders Tarnation a uniquely potent experience.
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Sheri Linden
Hollywood Reporter
July 20, 2004
Caouette has crafted 19 years' worth of home movies, video diaries and answering machine messages into a bracing autobiographical fever dream.