Our Town - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Our Town Reviews

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November 28, 2013
There's something eternal in each one of us.
May 18, 2012
This film adaptation of Thornton Wilder's award-winning play is simply phenomenal.
January 9, 2011
I saw a production of this at my local theater recently, and was interested in seeing this for comparison. While it's more effective when seen live, this is an excellent production of a classic play. It's a bit long and dragged-out, but the third act is well worth everything else.
November 24, 2009
At the end of the day Our Town is...Our Town. There's precious few surprises left in the script, and I've seen the play performed quite a few times. This is not a revelatory production, it's true to the script, and doesn't take many chances.

Really, the joy here is in the performances. Lots of great work on display, but the real draw is Newman as the Stage Manager. It is really quite affecting, and I found myself with tears in my eyes as I watched him work. Just the knowledge that he has left us, and that this was his last stage performance...it's quite emotional to think about.
July 22, 2009
Life and death in a small town as presented in Thornton Wilder's stage play. Straight-forward presentation maintains a stage production feel.
½ July 10, 2009
A very professional staging and filming of a heartbreaking play. I had never read or see Our Town before, and did not expect something so powerful. It's a fairly simple story of simple, ordinary people living normal lives in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. It tells of the relationship between a young man and a young woman. Everything is narrated and commented upon by the Stage Manager, an omniscient, somewhat detached fellow played wonderfully here by Paul Newman (who, as it turns out, was only a few years away from death himself). Ben Fox and Maggie Lacey, who play the young man and young woman, give very strong, empathetic performances that really had me hoping for the best for their characters. Although this is a filmed play, that does not mean that the director simply put a camera in front of the stage and walked away. On the contrary, the camera is used quite effectively, following characters around, revealing scenes gradually, and so on. The theatrical lighting is quite impressive. There are almost no props to speak of, a fact that the Stage Manager explicitly mentions. The ending is where the play becomes so sad, and also where it manages to deliver a powerful message about the fleetingness of life.
April 28, 2009
Loved the last half hour.
½ February 8, 2009
Perhaps I should justify this. My apologies to those more enlightened who found something meaningful in Our Town. The performances were well executed.

My impression was that of a long-winded melodrama that came off as a cross between Picnic (1950 w/ William Holden) and My Dinner With Andre -both of which I liked. Worse, the premises and issues were givens.

I do realize this wasn't its purpose. but
I think this play missed a chance to be a devastating indictment of the periodic corruption, hypocrisy, small-mindedness, and maliciousness that tend to underlie so many communities. This could have been done subtly or even by use of exaggeration, say by making it just over Norman Rokwell-esque enough to make us suspicious.

Nevertheless, I guess I wanted something with more cleverness, along the lines of Main Street, USA. But I will admit it's been years since I saw it and perhaps deserves another viewing now that I'm older.
½ November 22, 2008
Wonderful cast and not too...stagey. Paul Newman is particularly lovely to watch, as always.
½ October 7, 2008
A near-perfect rendering of one of the best plays the stage has ever seen. Just beautiful to behold.

Paul Newman's work as The Stage Manager is sublime ... more powerful now than ever.
½ May 31, 2008
The Normal Guy'¬?¬?s 50-Or-Less-Word Plot: A documentary about how two high school English teachers test themselves and their students in a staging of Thornton Wilder'¬?¬?s "¬?¬?Our Town"¬?¬?.

Scott Hamilton Kennedy directs this documentary about English teacher Catherine Borek and a group of students from Dominguez High School in Compton, California, and their staging of Thornton Wilder'¬?¬?s Our Town. The school hadn'¬?¬?t done a play in 20 years but Borek decided it was worth a try. So with no money and a cast of cynical and skeptical teenagers, Borek and another English teacher put on a show. Borek demonstrates a play based on a 19th-century New England town could be relevant to Compton.

So with very little if any political agenda Kennedy gives us a realistic look at the kids in the play. You get them as they are; funny, depressed, morose, smart, self-confident, angsty. These are kids who are growing up in a place many of us don√ʬ?¬?t even want to admit exists; lousy schools, lower middle class, poverty, gang violence (you hear several gunshots in scene). But Kennedy doesn'¬?¬?t focus on the negative. He tries to tap into any hope the kids have and there is plenty. These are kids who don√ʬ?¬?t, can√ʬ?¬?t or won√ʬ?¬?t fit into basketball, football and proms. They'¬?¬?re creative and want to create and this makes them a
little weird. It'¬?¬?s fun to watch them gel as an acting troupe and truly surprise themselves.

One thing missing from the film was a visit by and some talk time with the school principal or even some form of a school administrator. No one like this ever showed up. I am not sure what to make of it but it would have been nice to see supportive school officials.

Aside from themes I already mentioned, we get others like divorce, abandonment, suicide, strained or broken relationships between children and parents, prostitution, love and the search for it, acceptance and purpose.

Kennedy does a good job capturing the struggle and success of Borek and the kids who did the play. This movie will resonate with you if you like the arts, you are or were a square peg surrounded by a bunch of round holes and you like to see the seemingly insurmountable actually work.
January 13, 2008
So absolutely amazing. We watch this every year in Drama class, take notes and have a discussion about what we learned. You never stop learning about acting and life from this show. Gorgeous script, acting, stage, everything. I dont think I can find a weak issue with it. Paul Newman's choices are flawless. If you're in the theatre, see this- it cant be missed.
½ January 9, 2008
One of the best filmed "on-stage" plays. Story is okay but it's not really my bag.
January 2, 2008
Absolutely stunning! One of the greatest plays ever written looks better than ever, and the cast is absolutely stellar. Paul Newman is a revelation as the Stage Manager, and his character choices are tremedous! A must see!
½ August 6, 2007
Paul Newman is excellent in the role as Stage Manager.
July 22, 2007
I have this, the Paul Newman one, but it's just a good story.
June 17, 2007
nothing beats the play live
June 13, 2007
Completely and utterly in love with the script and story. However, seeing an Emily as creepy as this and a Rebecca as old as the one in this production, it's hard to give it the 5 stars i want to.
½ June 5, 2007
My favorite production of my favorite play, save the Merchant of Venice. Will somebody tell me why they haven't come out with a decent version of that one???
½ December 28, 2006
One of my favorite plays.
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