Critic Review - Chicago Sun-Times

It is a great movie ... in parts.

April 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (8)
Chicago Sun-Times
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Bryan B.

Bryan Bear

Wow...I thought once you were a great film critic. But I read your review of West Side Story and...really? You should retire Roger. Film critics need to have a sense of history when reviewing films and I think you forget yours when you wrote your review of this film. This is a monumental breakthrough in cinema! I know you were alive when this film was released, though I was not. My mother was and she told me this was the essence of cool back in the day. I guess you were not as cool and resented the film. But from a historic point of film history, cool films are very relevant and make major impacts on the progression of art. What I find bewildering about your review as the supposed "film expert" is that you did not get the relevance of the racial struggle depicted in this film well before the onslaught of the civil rights movement of this country. When I look at this film, I am in in awe at the fact it tackled such a difficult subject well before the Martin Luther King uprisings in such an innocent and yet honest way. As a historical film, this has much breadth and depth in American history. AND it did it with such art and panache. The choreography by Jerome Robbins depicting violent gangs in such a theatrical way is brilliant! Brilliant! Even I as a Gen Xer well beyond the time of this film sees its brilliance! This is a masterpiece of cinema and should be totally respected. I am truly disappointed you have become a curmudgeon in your later days. This is one of the best films of all time. You need to watch it again and realize 1) it is the most brilliant adaptation of Romeo and Juliet ever to put to screen and 2) it is one of the most progressive statements of racial relations at a time when this was not talked about. I am very disappointed in your dismissal of this film!

Sep 8 - 12:22 AM

melissa c.

melissa childress

It is a great movie with Nalalie Woods. She was a great dancer and singer. The men who play doc was great in the movie. I agree with your review about the movie. The dancing step in this movie was a amazing.

Oct 7 - 10:09 AM

Natalie T.

Natalie Thomas

You should know, Melissa, Natalie Wood didn't sing a syllable of that music. That was all Marni Nixon who was uncredited.

Apr 8 - 04:41 PM


Vicente Torres

Actually, they blended the 2 girls' voices. It was mostly Nixon, but it's not like Wood didn't sing a syllable.

Aug 4 - 07:19 PM


Michael Moore

Ugh, I *hate* it when people who disagree with Ebert say things like "You should retire." Seriously? Why don't you retire from commenting? Just because your opinion differs from Ebert's doesn't mean that he's wrong.

Expressing your opinion is fine, but saying things like "you should retire because I don't agree with you" is disgusting.

Sep 22 - 07:05 AM

Henry Hull H.

Henry Hull Hull

I agree with you Roger, I didn't like it that much either.

Jan 22 - 06:44 AM


Abby Hersh

"Bryan B.", the only point your rambling proved is that you are an ignorant arse.

Just because a well-made film is "cool", historically/socially relevant and filled with great choreography doesn't mean it is exempt from any and all criticism. WSS definitely has significant flaws, and if you can't see them you need to watch a heck of a lot more movies (especially before attacking the taste of a highly-respected critic who has made a very successful living watching and reviewing films).

Feb 28 - 03:55 AM

Peter D.

Peter De Munnich

Having just seen the movie after a gap of a few decades, I would say Ebert (as usual) is right on the mark. An impressive score, great choreography, some wonderful songs, excellent performances by Moreno & Chakiris & occasionally inspired cinematography & art direction, but the movie is let down by weak performances from the two leads & the "Hollywoodization" of the material.

Still an interesting film & worth watching, but could have been so much more.

Aug 28 - 11:39 AM

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