Harvey - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Harvey Reviews

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April 15, 2018
James Stewart's charm almost excuses the film's rather alarming portrayal of women, alcoholism and mental illness. It drags at times, it's not really witty enough and overall, it's pretty creaky.
March 26, 2018
One of my all time favorite movies.
February 19, 2018
Stewart provides a wonderful performance as a man who befriends an invisible 6ft rabbit. Woven within entertaining farce lie powerful messages about the labels of insanity and tolerance. Admirably daring for its time, and entertaining still today.
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
December 13, 2017
"In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." So says Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart), a character who combines the gentle temperament of the Dalai Lama with the martini intake of Frank Sinatra. He also seems a bit crazy, seeing as his pal is an invisible 6'3 1/2" rabbit named Harvey, and happily introduces him to everyone he meets. While he seems harmless, his sister (Josephine Hull) wants to commit him to a sanitarium, and in a comedy of errors, gets locked up herself. From there it's a series of screwball moments, with the hospital staff trying to track down Elwood, and him oblivious to it all.

The film is a little bit of indictment of the mental health industry, with one doctor (Lyman Sanderson) jumping to harebrained conclusions and an orderly (Jesse White) aggressively putting his hands on people. He alludes to having had to take the corset off of Hull's character while stripping her, a fact that intrigues her daughter (Victoria Horne), in one creepy and awkward scene. Horne at 39 was far too old for the role (Jimmy Stewart, playing her uncle, was 42), and scenes with her and White are the low points of the film.

If it seems like just another goofball comedy in the first half, stay with it and let Elwood Dowd's benevolence sink in. He engages everyone he meets in real conversation, cares about them, and almost always invites them over to his house for dinner or for drinks. He does that not out of politeness, but actually wants and expects them to show up. The character is quite endearing, and Stewart's performance is nuanced and brilliant. In this screwball comedy, there is a real message of the importance of simple kindness, and it's delivered in a subtle way.
December 8, 2017
I don't understand why Harvey is beloved by so many. This movie doesn't make sense to me. I wanted to like it. I was excited to see it. However, I was annoyed by the plot-which only seems to be driven forward because everyone constantly interrupts each other-and the characters aren't that likeable. It also doesn't have much of a resolution. Perhaps all the hype surrounding this movie is just a figment of my imagination.
November 23, 2017
Such a light hearted charming movie and Jimmy Stewart is wonderful, as he is almost every one of this performances. It's not Citizen Kane or The Godfather, but it wonderfully fun.
½ October 28, 2017
A lovely little film
October 5, 2017
Harvey is a very strong comedy, but not as great as it could have been. That third act is so serious, overly dramatic and slow that the once hilarious film suddenly stopped and lost all of its steam. Yes, the humor is terrific as the film is very funny in its great use of situational comedy and witty dialogue. The characters are memorable and very likable. James Stewart is reliably great here but this is actually Josephine Hull's show and she absolutely killed it in a very demanding, complex role and indisputably deserved her Oscar in the process.
August 27, 2017
I adore this movie and Jimmy Stewart's lovable Edward P. Dowd.
½ June 25, 2017
I went into Harvey with the thought that most of the movie would be held up by the charm of Jimmy Stewart. While his performance is completely endearing, I was delighted to find it was the supporting cast that delivered the bulk of the comedic moments. Stewart plays it pretty straight which is actually crucial for his character (who thinks a giant invisible rabbit is perfectly normal.) But actors like Cecil Kellaway, Charles Drake, and especially Josephine Hull are completely stymied by this rabbit. It's to the point where they can't even make up their own minds on whether it's real or not.

The comedy in Harvey is very situational, which I enjoy, but it seemed there were not a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. I think I expected a more screwball style to the humor, but it didn't quite get there. In fact, there are some moments in Harvey that are totally serious. They are having genuine discussions about what makes someone crazy, and asking if crazy is bad if they aren't hurting anyone. It also feels like the movie answers the question of whether Harvey is real or not, and I think I would have preferred if it was left ambiguous. It wasn't a problem, just one thing that might have worked better for me if they went the other way.

The story of Harvey is not a complicated one, in fact much of it I was able to surmise from merely watching a few clips that I've seen in pop culture. You can sense the origins of the script, because the film feels exactly like a stage play. There aren't many sets or locations, and they seem to return to the same places again and again. It was in danger, at times, of feeling repetitive because so much of the movie seemed to center on finding one person or another that has disappeared. However, I never got to the point of being annoyed or bored by Harvey. It's an entertaining little film, and it's one I'd gladly watch again anytime.
June 10, 2017
A slapstick farce about a very nice man and his imaginary rabbit friend is veritably a discerning commentary on the alcoholism, loneliness, happiness and the death of good-natured humanity.
April 6, 2017
Quite funny with lovely whimsical moments and a film which says a lot about human values.
March 26, 2017
Whimsical comedy with a surprisingly modern message of acceptance and diversity. Stewart is charming as ever.
February 23, 2017
Clever and hilarious. Truly enjoyable.
½ January 26, 2017
Throughout the insanity of the idea of this movie, it's a wonder that I felt as charmed and heartwarmwd as I did. This feels like the plot to a horror movie, but is balanced out by the likable nature of the characters and overall execution. James Stewart went all the way and have a delightful performance. But Josephine Hall brought a sense of order and humanity to such a strange film. Also the presence of Harvey through the entire film is felt in a erie, fantastical, but still charming way.
½ January 19, 2017
James Stewart is oh so pleasant in this classic comic fantasy. (First and only full viewing - Fall 2009)
January 11, 2017
Whimsical to the point of tooth decay, there is a darker subject left unexplored in Mary Chase's popular piece of fluff. Elwood P. Dowd is a lonely alcoholic who has compensated by inventing a 6' 4" rabbit companion and befriending every stranger he meets. The singular joke of course is that everyone else - particularly the psychiatrists and staff at the local rest home - are more bonkers than him. James Stewart is perfectly cast, and the supporting players offer the right seriousness to convince you there is more to Harvey than a rabbit-shaped hole.
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2016
This sweet movie is adorable like James Stewart's character, who charms us distributing business cards and being nice to everyone that he meets, while Josephine Hull deserved the Oscar she won for her hilarious, on-the-edge-of-hysteria performance.
½ November 23, 2016
I've never seen this movie until today. Wow! What a great movie and performance by Jimmy Stewart!
November 12, 2016
A wonderful adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning play largely due to superb casting and an agreeably light touch. Stewart seems like the only actor who could play this part. You have to accept that Elwood P. Dowd can charm people to the point that they are willing to ignore that he's a drunk who may be dangerously delusional. You buy that when it's Stewart. Like many studio comedies, the supporting cast is an embarrassment of riches.
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