Vanya on 42nd Street Reviews

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Sean Axmaker
Turner Classic Movies Online
March 10, 2012

... a record of a creative collaboration that has a life of its own, at once documentary, filmed rehearsal, play within a play, and private production restaged for a camera...

Emanuel Levy
May 7, 2011

Reuniting with Andrew Gregory, Louis Malle, in what became his swan song, has made a modern, captivation version of the Chekhov play.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
July 6, 2010

It's amazing it has taken Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory, and director Louis Malle more than 10 years to collaborate again. It was worth the wait, though.

Full Review | Original Score: A

Empire Magazine
August 12, 2008

The drawback, however, is that the actors chew the scenery in true stagecraft fashion, which, on film, induces regular wincing and a wish that they would hand out the valium and take it easy.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5

August 12, 2008

Not entirely successful, but undeniably brave.

TV Guide's Movie Guide
August 12, 2008

There are moments of considerable power here but this stripped-down rendering gives us something closer to a latterday dysfunctional family than Chekhov's doomed bourgeoisie.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Todd McCarthy
Top Critic
August 12, 2008

The performances are precise, the language is alive and well spoken and the setting is striking, but Vanya on 42nd Street still suffers rather heavily from the limitations of filmed theater.

Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
August 12, 2008

Malle adeptly eases us into the play so we can't tell at what precise moment Chekhov takes over, an ambiguity that becomes the film's triumph as well as its key limitation.

Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
November 6, 2007

It offers a unique viewing at a work in progress.

Full Review | Original Score: A-

Time Out
Top Critic
January 26, 2006

There's more power here than in all the multi-million dollar fireworks of Hollywood.

Sarah Chauncey
June 10, 2004

A movie by, about and for actors.

| Original Score: 4/5
Dragan Antulov
December 22, 2003

Despite great acting, the general impression of the film is underwhelming.

Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Janet Maslin
New York Times
Top Critic
May 20, 2003

The elegant understatement of this production turns it into a livelier experiment, a fluent, gripping version of one of Chekhov's more elusive plays.

Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Elbert Ventura
October 4, 2002

It's more than a worthy capper to Malle's brilliant career.

Dan Lybarger
Lybarger Links
July 30, 2002

A lively and intriguing adaptation of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya."

| Original Score: 4/5
Betty Jo Tucker
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
July 29, 2002

Much too talky.

| Original Score: 2/5
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Top Critic
May 12, 2001

This live-wire Vanya, freshly observed for the '90s, is fiercely funny, touching and vital.

Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

A film which reduces Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" to its bare elements: loneliness, wasted lives, romantic hope and despair. To add elaborate sets, costumes and locations to this material would only dilute it.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Hal Hinson
Washington Post
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

In terms of dramatic action, almost nothing happens, and yet Malle's fluid, invisible style carries us deep into the hearts and minds of these characters.

Marjorie Baumgarten
Austin Chronicle
January 1, 2000

The overall effect of Uncle Vanya on 42nd Street is that one has just experienced something truly timeless.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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