When You're Strange Reviews

Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
July 6, 2010

When You're Strange offers a worshipful but insightful portrait of the group...

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
Top Critic
May 6, 2010

Although Doors fans will drool over the prospect of the previously unseen footage, they are unlikely to find anything new here.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic
May 6, 2010

The vitality of crazed angel Jim Morrison is its driving force.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Stephen Holden
New York Times
Top Critic
April 9, 2010

[A] muddled, pretentious assemblage of film clips of the band shot between 1966 and 1971, with solemn narration by Johnny Depp.

| Original Score: 2/5
Preston Jones
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic
April 9, 2010

Seeing Morrison blithely hang a lei over the neck of an obviously giddy young woman or watching as Manzarek patiently fields questions helps humanize a group of men all too often shrouded in the mists of legend.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Kyle Smith
New York Post
Top Critic
April 9, 2010

A sometimes insightful, sometimes absurdly devotional but steadily engaging film.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
Top Critic
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.

Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
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
Randy Lewis
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
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
Claudia Puig
USA Today
Top Critic
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
Jonathan Zwickel
Seattle Times
Top Critic
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
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Top Critic
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
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
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
Noel Murray
AV Club
Top Critic
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-
Glenn Whipp
Associated Press
Top Critic
April 8, 2010

A formal exercise in redundancy, offering no new insights into the much mythologized rock band.

J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
April 8, 2010

Never gets past the standard mythology of the band codified by Oliver Stone's 1991 biopic

Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
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+
Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York
Top Critic
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
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
Top Critic
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.

Rob Nelson
Variety
Top Critic
September 1, 2009

Primo footage of recording sessions, concert perfs and various backstage trips is ubiquitous--and sadly squandered--amid wall-to-wall voiceover narration that is punishingly banal when not factually sketchy or flat-out false.