When You're Strange Reviews

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Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
April 8, 2010
When You're Strange offers a mesmerizing, behind-the-music glimpse at a crucial and bizarre moment in rock history, and maybe in American cultural history, period.
Top Critic
Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
April 8, 2010
When You're Strange is a remedial Doors class, taught by a professor who sounds as if he's doing voiceovers for car commercials.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Randy Lewis
Los Angeles Times
April 8, 2010
Of little interest to anyone beyond hard-core Doors fans hungry for any previously unreleased film or audio content.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
April 8, 2010
Writer/director Tom DiCillo goes a bit overboard with his rhetoric, describing Morrison as "like an ancient shaman." Johnny Depp's measured narration brings DiCillo's often worshipful words back to earth.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Zwickel
Seattle Times
April 8, 2010
In hindsight (and on paper) it all seems old hat, but with savvy editing of intense footage, DiCillo puts us there, onstage, backstage, in the studio, and we're as intoxicated as Morrison's audience. Almost.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
April 8, 2010
Unhappy with what Oliver Stone did to Jim Morrison and the Doors in his 1991 biopic? Here's the doc for you.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
April 8, 2010
DiCillo approaches this nonfiction project with the glazed eyes of a true fan. He has the participation of surviving band members and a lot of rare, mesmerizing footage at his disposal ... What he doesn't have is critical distance or anything new to say.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
April 8, 2010
Director Tom DiCillo does his damnedest to make his documentary about The Doors unwatchable, but the subject matter is too compelling -- and the vintage footage too electrifying -- to be completely worthless.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Glenn Whipp
Associated Press
April 8, 2010
A formal exercise in redundancy, offering no new insights into the much mythologized rock band.
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
April 8, 2010
Never gets past the standard mythology of the band codified by Oliver Stone's 1991 biopic
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
April 8, 2010
A fascinating documentary about the amazing rollercoaster ride of Jim Morrison and the Doors who tried to break on through to the other side.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Armond White
New York Press
April 7, 2010
It's uselessly romantic and infuriatingly revisionist. Ironically, When You're Strange contains DiCillo's best filmmaking.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
April 7, 2010
The movie is stitched together with a narration, spoken by Johnny Depp, that sounds like a highly enlightened Wikipedia entry. Yet DiCillo knows what made this band great.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Tom Meek
Boston Phoenix
April 7, 2010
If you're a Doors fan, your inner Jim Morrison will be stoked by the vast archival footage in When You're Strange. Be warned, however: this documentary doesn't open any new doors, and, worse, it's negligent in its history.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out
April 7, 2010
Like so many Doors chroniclers, DiCillo can't help but fall under the singer's spell; it's understandable, but frustrating.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
April 6, 2010
For a couple of years, Morrison was the best act in American show business. And the best thing about it: It wasn't an act.
Andrew Schenker
Slant Magazine
April 5, 2010
If there's anything the world surely doesn't need it's one more admiring regurgitation of the Jim Morrison mythos.
Full Review | Original Score: .5/4
Staci Layne Wilson
Buzzine Magazine
April 5, 2010
My eyes were like saucers at the sight of Jim Morrison in all his splendor in never-before-seen 35mm outtakes from the 1969 experimental short film HWY.
Marshall Fine
Hollywood & Fine
April 5, 2010
If you were a fan of the Doors, you won't miss When You're Strange. And if you weren't a fan, well, you will be by the end of this compelling and involving documentary.
Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
April 4, 2010
There are some ragged moments of fuzzy focus in the structure of When You're Strange but the copious list of original Doors songs are a treat for an old hippy like me.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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