Long Day's Journey Into Night - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Long Day's Journey Into Night Reviews

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March 21, 2010
Probably O"Neill's most personal play brought to the screen with flawless performances and perfect direction. All of the cast is Excellent. Hepburn's descent into a drug-induced hell is memorable.
February 28, 2010
Some over-the-top moments courtesy of Hepburn and Richardson, but some of the scenes still have the potential to burn a hole through your screen, mostly due to the understatement of Stockwell and the searing, sad-sack implosion - explosion of Robards.
½ January 8, 2010
Sidney Lumet's Long Day's Journey into Night is a straightforward stage-to-screen transcription of Eugene O'Neill's exhaustive delineation of family life in the l9l0s. Regarded as O'Neill's masterpiece, this thick, disquieting and intimate piece abides on Broadway and in regional theater, with every actor and actress scrapping to play one of the remarkably baroque roles. In this version, Katharine Hepburn plays Mary Tyrone, the morphine-addicted wife-mother, Ralph Richardson is her authoritarian, egotistic actor husband, Dean Stockwell is the young son Edmund dying of TB, and Jason Robards as the alcoholic son Jamie. Unlike a lot of American films based on stage plays, this adaptation is absolutely filmic owing to a turning-point undertaking by director of photography Boris Kaufman, whose consummate camera movements lighting compositions focus our attention on every telling action and word of dialogue. Flaunting four overwhelming performances (five if you count the fleeting maid), this is ensemble acting at its very best.

And so what is the theme here? What does it mean? Wellâ?¦who knows? Sometimes a story comes along, expressed in a way that is so enormous, so all-encompassing, that no single theme or meaning can define it. Trying to conclusively characterize it confines something that must afford the greatest extent of whatever a given actor's, or a given viewer's, interpretation. Lumet's approach is not to direct the script, but to let the script direct him. A director who is considered great would've been determined to control it, to put his stamp on it, but true, absolute confidence in the skill of a director is the ability to allow oneself to trust everything and everyone around him. Lumet may have been below the radar compared to his generation's other star "auteurs," but there is no denying his clear and precise sense of economy has produced intense dramatic work.

Usually, the uncertainty in the honorability or detestability of a character acts as the source of exploring each of them in deeper penetration, because a good writer, a good director, a good actor, ideally any given one of us, understands that each person is like us all. But in Long Day's Journey Into Night, no one is like any of us. The characters are on a descending flourish of monumental, disastrous dimension. The story baffles clarification. Do not fight this notion while watching this film. Few movies have required more patience; let it overtake you at its own pace, because the pace is the measure of the dramatic wallop.

The final shot is of Katharine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson, Jason Robards and Dean Stockwell sitting around a table, each lost in their own enslaving pipe dreams, a distant lighthouse sweeping its beam across the room periodically, the camera pulling back slowly, the walls steadily disappearing. The family sits in a black oblivion, getting smaller and smaller, and the smaller they get, the larger we realize their impact has been on us.
½ October 17, 2009
An intense look into the lives of a married couple as a night unravels. Bitingly realistic and harsh, Elizabeth Taylor gives the performance of a lifetime.
August 8, 2009
Very long and at times tedious, but it's also brilliantly acted and written. Sidney Lumet does a fine job directing, and does amazingly well. Being Eugene O'Neill, it is major depressing. Excessively talky, good sets and costumes.
½ July 31, 2009
i think it one of the best ,maybe the best play in theater by Eugene O Neil ...i leave behind the very known conversation about if you can make films great plays from theater ...anyway those years we had many and very good films based on magnificent theatrical plays . For example we had many films from plays by Tennessee Williams { smoke on the water } here very good actors
a full talents director and the rest cast , product a nice film .
½ July 24, 2009
If this is from Eugen O'Neil's autobiography, one has be feel EXTREMELY sorry for him. What a story!!!

Talk about a disfunctional family whose members will waste no opportunity to shoot emotionally poisoned arrows and stab each other with mal deeds of the past.

Almost 3 hrs of constant hurling of hurtful language. Each conversation is a deep dive, introspective look into the character, reveling some vile morsel of their inner self

The acting by Katharine Hepburn is just outstanding. The whole cast (there are just 4 main and 1 minor actors) is just amazing. You don't see movies where EVERY second is filled with dialog and uncut scenes last for 10 minutes or more.

Great directing by Sidney Lumet and the black and white cinematography is great.
Super Reviewer
July 11, 2009
Extremely well acted filmed version of the Eugene O'Neill play. The problem is that there is so much going on and so much character drama that it is a little draining. It's like Magnolia if it was still three hours and happened at one house. Jason Robards is fantastic and I loved the stuff between him and Dean Stockwell who is also great. Hepburn has her moments, but some of it seems overacting to say the least. Interesting because it's one of Lumet's first and the camera movement keeps you interested.
mattsigur1
Super Reviewer
July 11, 2009
You watch this one for just the great performances and monologues, but it can get grating with all the nonstop talking. I would've like a it more brevity and emotion rather than just talking it out, but, you have to consider the source as well. This is a play about people how only hint at their emotions and always rationalize.
June 24, 2009
A powerful but perhaps somewhat flawed movie. It's basically three hours of self-pity and bitterness, so make sure you are ready for that. The performances are all excellent, as they had better be, since they're essentially the only thing in the movie. Katharine Hepburn is perhaps the best, playing an on-edge morphine addict with lots of tics and sudden grimaces. Jason Robards takes second place as a cynical alcoholic who hates himself and everyone else. The problem with this movie, I guess, is that the characters have an unrealistic tendency to stand around and speak in very, very long unbroken monologues. The movie is very engaging when there is actually back-and-forth dialogue between the characters, but whenever one of the characters starts talking for five, six, seven minutes at a time uninterrupted, I tended to drift out of the experience and notice how unbelievably much they were talking. Still, the writing is good, and Sidney Lumet's direction puts in lots and lots of close-ups, until a masterful final shot as he draws the camera back, and back, and back. This is probably one of those movies I respect more than I like, but I certainly do respect it.
½ June 22, 2009
So long, but so epic.
½ May 23, 2009
An experience unto itself. Very long, so make sure your in the right frame of mind. Also, this film is brutal. The characters are all rather repellent, lost within themselves to their addictions and illnesess but all manage to creep into your affections as they each come to recognise their individual losses and failings. None more so than Katharine Hepburn, who is truly , truly exceptional here. A performance both ferocious and heartbreaking, she takes the honours amongst the excellent cast.
½ April 5, 2009
What an absolutely brutal film experience! Each and every actor is fantastic, but coming in at 3 hours, the film lingers not only for its difficult and tragic subject matter, but for its sheer length. Hepburn is scary good, I mean she makes your neck hairs stand on end, she makes you want to peel off your skin; she's terrifying. Lumet's direction is what makes the film.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2009
Another drama about family that's a little upsetting but pretty good.
½ March 1, 2009
A dark tale, not for the faint hearted.
February 27, 2009
A great flim version of Eugene O'Neil's play with a great .cast
February 3, 2009
Katherine Hepburn made my hair stand on end in this movie. Really all the actors were fabulous...you just don't get such complex dialogue like this in most movies nowadays.
January 11, 2009
a well-acted drama about addiction infestation in a family. some interesting camera work too.
½ January 4, 2009
Wow, Katherine Hepburn was damn scary, but mostly very tragic. It's amazing, but the four cast members talked the ENTIRE 3 hours. I don't think there was more than 10 seconds of silence at any one time.
dietmountaindew
Super Reviewer
½ November 23, 2008
"long day's journey into night" is faithfully adapted from eugene o'neill's semi-autobiographical play which is also his greatest work alive, and it deepens further upon katherine hepburn's prestige as a versatile accomplished actress since she again receives academy award nomination for it. frequently i tackle into the issue of purist notion of dialogue-driven movies as the supreme essence of cinema, and "long day's journey into night" would be a perfect exemplification with a masterful script as well as its refined stagy casting. but the film lacks public appeal due to its thick element of constant dialogue-focus as well as its unflattering 3 hour screen time, to enable the film's production, hepburn had to reduce her own payment for this exasperatingly heavy role, and she made it but under one condition: the movie has to be meticulously devout to its original play.

the story's basically about the collapse of a problematic family addled with morphine addiction, alcoholism, capitalist money-slavery, unreconciled pessismism upon death gravitated by consumption illness. the sceneries whirl around the haunting phatom of past memories as the fog forshadows every misery into the belligerent darkness of nightmarish hell, each character imprisioned by his/her tragic flaws and the unredeemed mistakes made in the past.

dean stockwell who plays the youngest son inflicted with consumption demonstrates an amazing horrowingly melancholic attribute which could emulate james dean, whose youthful good looks inspires your ideal personification of a depressed poet once as he frowns.

the flick has a strong claustrophic atmosphere with fixed backset and four steady actors constantly upstaging each other with the uncanny puncturality. if you're a cinema purist with a virtue of patience to read into dialogues, "long day's journey into night" would be a gem to elaborate your mind's empathetic capacity for life's poetic sorrow of dacadence.
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