The Devil and Daniel Johnston - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Devil and Daniel Johnston Reviews

August 10, 2006
The Devil and Daniel Johnston is an unflinching yet loving look at the outsider musician's life. It's also the most revealing look at genius and mental illness since Terry Zwigoff's 1994 documentary Crumb.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
June 9, 2006
A heartbreaking, yet strangely uplifting and inspirational, exploration of the fine line between genius and madness, and how sometimes, one becomes impossible to discern from the other.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
May 12, 2006
I found the documentary surprisingly diverting as a case study.
May 4, 2006
To share Feuerzeig's loving investigation is to share an insightful study of the destructive and creative capabilities of the mind.
April 28, 2006
This well-done documentary will explain why Johnston has never been able to rise above cult status ...
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
April 28, 2006
Feuerzeig was able to fashion such a thorough, engaging film partly because aficionados such as Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth shot so much footage of Johnston performing and acting out.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
April 28, 2006
Like Capturing the Friedmans, Devil is loaded with revealing footage, rife with psychodrama, including a creepy home movie in which the teenage Johnston plays himself and his overbearing mother.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
April 28, 2006
... an uncomfortably fascinating document of a man whose bipolar disorder and artistic ambitions are inextricably connected.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
April 27, 2006
Devil leads us into that dark, uncharted valley where evil, genius, divine inspiration, insanity -- and other unfathomable mysteries -- commingle.
April 21, 2006
A searing, compassionate portrait of chronic mental illness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
April 20, 2006
An inspired piece of work by someone who knows and admires Mr. Johnston but doesn't cover up the warts. It's also the rare documentary possessed with an artistry that transcends its subject.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
April 20, 2006
Perhaps Feuerzeig wanted to get away from the stereotypical 'talking head' interview, but by having the subject stop periodically to rinse and spit?
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
April 14, 2006
Regardless of how you feel about Johnston's art, The Devil and Daniel Johnston is worth seeing as a poignant portrait of a troubled life, still in the making.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
April 14, 2006
Johnston's fringe existence may not speak to the most universal of truths, but the man certainly isn't cut from a cookie-cutter mold.
Read More | Original Score: B
April 14, 2006
Jeff Feuerzeig, who won the best director award at Sundance 2005 for this film, has started with a subject who has filmed himself and been filmed by others for more than 20 years.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
April 13, 2006
Feuerzeig recounts it all with clear-eyed candor, turning to Johnston's battered friends and family for insight and empathy and to Johnston's tapes and drawings for an inside look at his illness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
April 7, 2006
Whether Johnston is a genius or a wonderful anomaly remains to be seen, but director Jeff Feuerzeig has stitched together a detailed portrait of the artist's life and music that is never less than compelling.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
April 7, 2006
Feuerzeig's film is as good a portrait of the artist as a beloved basket case as you'll see, but it's kept from greatness by the questions it refuses to ask itself.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
April 3, 2006
It doesn't condescend [to Johnston], it doesn't exploit him. It just tells us about his life.
March 31, 2006
As its title suggests, the picture is something of a ballad, an ode to an elusive character who's both quintessentially human and so outlandish he almost seems unreal.
March 31, 2006
Feuerzeig paints a loving portrait of the up-and-down life of the troubled 45-year-old -- sort of a poor man's Brian Wilson.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
March 31, 2006
Everything a good documentary should be.
Read More | Original Score: 4/4
March 31, 2006
Devil turns out to be too indulgent and worshipful a film to justify its length (one hour and 50 minutes, including an interminable section on Johnston in high school), much less hold our attention for the duration.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
March 31, 2006
[The film] may be a paean to a lost 'genius,' but it is also a gritty, involving, warts-and-all tale of celebrity and psychosis that leaves a likely unanswerable question: Were the naive songs of Johnston's youth a window into his soul, or his disease?
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
March 30, 2006
Director Jeff Feuerzeig, extensively utilizing home movies, chronicles the eerie and oddly inspiring story of Johnston's ongoing battles to survive -- both as artist and human being.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
March 30, 2006
The romantic cliche that all artists are a little bit mad is put through its paces (if never seriously questioned) in this documentary about the musician Daniel Johnston.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
March 30, 2006
It's the way Feuerzeig walks with him on the line between creativity and madness that digs this haunting and hypnotic film into your memory.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
March 30, 2006
[Johnston's] story opens a window on the nature of art and the power of myth.
March 30, 2006
Returns repeatedly to the tangled relationship between hipsters and the out-of-control oddballs they enable.
Read More | Original Score: A-
March 30, 2006
The Devil and Daniel Johnston is undoubtedly the best movie anyone could have made about this unwitting practitioner of 'outsider' art.
March 29, 2006
The Devil and Daniel Johnston is a fascinating and lovingly crafted musical documentary that nevertheless misunderstands its own subject.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
March 28, 2006
The documentary holds no illusions about insanity as a career move; there's a whiff of the freak show in Johnston's latter-day concerts but never in Feuerzeig's approach.
October 20, 2005
Pic is particularly well-crafted, managing to avoid the ambulance-chasing tenor that might easily have turned this into a voyeuristic freakshow.
October 8, 2005
The Devil and Daniel Johnston is a movie about a man whose demons live with him always, but who has somehow found a way of speaking that can still be heard above the din in his head.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4