Velvet Goldmine (1998)

Velvet Goldmine



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

At the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, American independent director Todd Haynes (Safe) received the "Artistic Achievement" award for this re-creation of the UK glam rock scene of the early '70s. Glam rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who does a character named Maxwell Demon, predicts his own death onstage. As per his prediction, this happens, but when the killing is exposed as a hoax, it marks the end of Slade's stardom. A decade later, in 1984, Brit reporter and former Slade fan Arthur … More

Rating: R (for strong sexual content, nudity, language and drug use)
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Todd Haynes
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 18, 1999


as Curt Wild

as Arthur Stuart

as Mandy Slade

as Jerry Divine

as Shannon

as Female Narrator

as Wilde Housemaid

as Oscar Wilde (age 8)

as Jack Fairy (age 7)

as BBC Reporter

as Kissing Sailor

as Murray

as Tommy Stone

as Girl on the Subway

as Mr. Stuart

as Mrs. Stuart

as Manchester Teacher

as Arthur's Teacher

as Boy in Record Shop 1

as Boy in Record Shop 2

as Brian Slade (age 7)

as Pantomime Dame

as Mod Girlfriend

as Curt Wild (age 13)

as Bartender

as Cecil's Friend 1

as Cecil's Friend 2

as Middle Age Man

as 30's Style Singer

as Reporter 1

as Reporter 2

as US Reporter 1

as US Reporter 2

as US Reporter 3

as Teenage Girl

as Malcolm

as Bass Guitar

as Lead Guitar

as Lead Guitar

as Bass Guitar
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Velvet Goldmine

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (17)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Haynes' chronicle of the glam era is visually rich but too dramatically fragmented and overwhelmed by music to permit involvement in the tale's characters or the director's POV.

Full Review… | April 23, 2012

The style is devilishly flamboyant and gleefully indulgent; every shot is full of amazing stuff. The edits dance and twist. It's a glam movie about a glam subject.

Full Review… | January 7, 2012
Combustible Celluloid

Velvet Goldmine gives the rock movie a makeover.

Full Review… | September 1, 2009

While some gay men's fantasies center around muscled jocks, cops or cowboys, Todd Haynes' would seem to be of a slightly more arcane bent.

Full Review… | March 28, 2006
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for Velvet Goldmine


interesting but flawed - frustratingly got a couple things right... just listen to the the records.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

A reporter investigates the life and legend of a glam rocker who faked his death years ago.
Todd Haynes's distinct style of flashy costumes and gay sexuality is on full display in this film. The musical numbers blend in, and the film seems like a chronicle of a sexually free bygone era, one that the director delights in. However, what's left behind is the story. The mystery of Brian Slade's "death" and disappearance takes a back seat to Haynes's love letter to the time, and no compelling dramatic questions emerge.
Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Christian Bale all fully commit to their roles' demands, and Haynes's skill with actors reminds me of Oliver Stone's: these are directors who get stars to do things that stars don't normally do.
Overall, I think Velvet Goldmine is a for a niche audience, like most of Haynes's work, and one who is invested in the time and the feeling of the time can find things to like, but for those of us looking for a compelling narrative, Velvet Goldmine doesn't have much to offer.
Evan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

It doesn't take a genius to piece this alternate history together: Curt Wild = Iggy Pop, Brian Slade = David Bowie and Jack Fairy = Lou Reed. But if this is a biopic, it's a capital-Q Queer one, which I mean in the academic sense, playing with the performed identities of these performers, hyper-exaggerated as they would have been in the heyday of Glam Rock.

While staying mostly in the past - recollected sequences coming through interviews performed by a journalist (Christian Bale) - the film's "present" is also intriguing, as we see Bale's character relive his coming of age and his struggle with the realization that he is gay, and we see how his obsession with the music and performers of the day opened the door. By exaggerating the performed identity, the moderate version (i.e., merely being gay and not straight) begins to appear to be a tenable position, and the music inspires a new confidence in our hero - even though the ambivalent, "anything goes" approach to sex, drugs and rock and roll had varyingly destructive side-effects for the performers. An eye-opening early film from Todd Haynes that plays in the same way that his later Dylan flick, I'm Not There, did, and a visually lush and viscerally challenging movie, a gem that was overlooked in those bubblegum late 90s, Provocative work.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Velvet Goldmine Quotes

– Submitted by Christian B (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Edith M (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Edith M (3 years ago)

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