Amateur (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Amateur (1995)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Hal Hartley's fourth feature is a significant break from the quirky romantic comedy territory of his previous work -- though all of the deadpan idiosyncracies which make him such a singular filmmaker remain intact, here he tries his hand at the thriller genre, a move yielding typically unconventional and innovative results. Amateur stars Hartley mainstay Martin Donovan as Thomas, an amnesiac who, in the first scenes, wakes up in an alley, badly injured; he stumbles to a nearby coffeeshop where he meets Isabelle (Isabelle Huppert), a former nun and would-be nymphomaniac who now makes her living writing pornographic fiction. She takes him back to her apartment, where in time his past slowly begins to emerge -- a sharp contrast to the sweet, even naive soul that Huppert has befriended, it appears that the old Thomas was in fact a vicious pornographer whose attempted murder was at the hands of his wife, adult film star wife Sofia (Elina Lowensohn). Thomas is also the target of a nefarious European arms merchant whose hired guns are hot on his trail. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi


Pamela Stewart
as Officer Melville
Erica Gimpel
as Irate Woman
Terry Alexander
as Frank the Cook
Michael Imperioli
as Doorman at Club
Angel L. Cabán
as Detective
Emmanuel Xuereb
as Bartender
Lennie Loftin
as Taxi Driver
David Greenspan
as George the Photographer
Adria Tennor
as Kid Reading The Odyssey
Parker Posey
as Girl Squatter
Dwight Ewell
as Boy Squatter
Currie Graham
as Video Store Clerk
Jamie Harrold
as Pizza Guy
Patricia Scanlon
as Young Irate Mother
James McCauley
as Policeman
Benny Nieves
as Policeman
Tim Blake Nelson
as Young Detective
Marissa Copeland
as Sister at Door
Dael Oriandersmith
as Mother Superior
Michael Gaston
as Sharpshooter
Paul Schulze
as Cop Who Shoots Thomas
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Critic Reviews for Amateur

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (3)

An enjoyable quirky-humored hit man flick.

Full Review… | March 24, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Less quirky than earlier films, Amateur pushes its humor too hard and the conceit of amnesia is absurd, but there are poignant observations about purity versus experience and ignorance versus knowledge.

Full Review… | April 29, 2006

A deadpan examination of coincidence versus signs; tangibility versus faith.

Full Review… | February 15, 2004

Comes across as an interesting study of the ways in which we are all amatuers at changing our lives.

Full Review… | August 30, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

This one tends to fizzle instead of sizzle.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Amateur

I saw there was comparison between Hal Hartley & Jean-Luc Godard. Well, it makes sense, particularly in terms of quirkiness.


All time favourite of mine. Can't believe this movie is 20 years old now. As always watching this, I find Elina Lowensohn compelling. What an underrated actress she was. Pity she seems to be not acting anymore. Typical great Hal Hartley film. He really made some classics around this time (Trust, The Unbelievable Truth). I loved these films and used to watch them over and over on VHS. The story is excellent. Sophia, a young woman duped into porn films and drug addiction at a young age, (Elina Lowensohn), decides she has had enough and pushes the man who trapped her out a window (Martin Donovan). However, he doesn't die, but wakes up with amnesia. He meets an ex nun, Isabelle (Isabelle Hupert) who takes him in and starts to fall for him. He has nightmares and talks in his sleep about a woman he treated badly and threatened, Sophia. Seeing Sophia in a porn magazine makes him curious about whether she may be his Sophia, and he and Isabelle step out to help her. There's a little more to it than that, but that's basically the premise. Highly original and beautifully filmed. Just the way the script is written is worth watching it for. The delivery of the lines. Can't gush enough. If you have never seen this, I highly recommend it.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Stylistic romantic/comedy/thriller that builds slowly as an amnesiac endeavors to discover his identity. Nice performances in sort of an Hitchcockian homage, particularly by one Damien Young.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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