My Winnipeg - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

My Winnipeg Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 27, 2016
Maddin effectively blurs the lines between truth, fiction, mockumentary, psychological examination, fable, and art project into something totally unique. The imagery is unforgettable.
July 29, 2015
I have been a fan of Guy Maddin since my college "daze" but I don't think I gained a true understanding of what he does as a film artist until I was older. His work is "tripy" and constantly shift from "Horror" to "Dark Comedy" -- while always offering an enticing beauty. "The Saddest Music in the World" would prove to be his most "accessible" work. With that film, he emerged from the fringes of his earlier shorts and experimental films. Interestingly, as good as that film was it is far from being one of his best films. Following the Art House success of "Saddest Music" he would go on to create his two most powerful films, "Brand Upon The Brain" and this film from 2007, "My Winnipeg."

I had the pleasure of seeing "My Winnipeg" before it was released to the film festival circuit and it's all too-limited US release. While "Brand Upon the Brain" was a fascinating experiment, "My Winnipeg" takes the "form" of a documentary. This "formation" features re-enactments of Maddin's "personal memory" and of Winnipeg's eccentric "history." Utilizing his standard devices of long ago abandoned cinematic tricks. This is not a documentary that can be accepted as "truth" -- this is an artist's re-invented collection of memories that he has bent, twisted and often self-created or imagined.

The late Roger Ebert wrote an incredible review of "My Winnipeg" that captured my own viewpoints far better than I could ever articulate. I still remember a very key comment Ebert gave in his review. I don't remember it well enough to quote, but it was very easy to find it on-line. I highly encourage you seek Ebert's review of this odd but effective film prior to seeing it.

Roger Ebert wrote, that Winnipeg's "city fathers commissioned it [the film] as a documentary, to be made by "the mad poet of Manitoba," as a Canadian magazine termed him. Maddin has never left his hometown, although judging by this film, it has left him."

That one sentence frames Maddin's incredible film perfectly. We never doubt that Maddin loves and his proud of "his" Winnipeg, but he rejects the idea of creating the "documentary" for which he was commissioned in favor of a surreal glimpse back into what might be a collective feeling of a city long gone. And he is without question is examining an idea of himself via what are very likely "false memories" of his own childhood. I call these memories "false" because they are so absurd it is hard to take them literally.

In many ways it feels is if his "mom" is more a symbol of Winnipeg than a maternal relation. Maddin has also never shied away from a conflicted view of repressed homosexuality. I do not mean to imply anything regarding Maddin's real sexuality, but his work continually pulls his audience to the attention of a vague interest in "latent homosexuality" --- it appears to be a source of conflict and humor. This is not a politically offensive "conflict" or "humor." It is expressed as both a sort of longing and curiosity.

The role of women in Maddin's work is also a sort of riddle. The female characters tend to share maternal instincts as much as they offer sexual pleasure and danger. Once again, this is not misogyny. The idea of women is a source of conflict within Maddlin's cinematic world.

"My Winnipeg" offers the perfect formation of Guy Maddin's eccentric, dark, disturbing and often funny ideas and style. This is a fully formed world in which we are placed. And it is a rewarding experience.

After the film ends, I feel as if I need to re-adjust my vision. And the lonesome laments of Maddin's brilliant film lingers forever in my memory.

Cinematic magic. And a true Cinematic Masterpiece that defies "genre" -- Criterion has done an outstanding job at transferring this film. Finger-crossed that they are soon able to do the same with "Brand Upon The Brain!" -- a magical film that Criterion has released to DVD offering alternate audio versions of a re-imaginning of the silent film.

Just as he is when you talk with him, his film's are bizarre -- but somehow grounded in a reality that is uniquely his own. While they might offers horror, there is a sense that he loves every character and every shot.
February 20, 2015
Arthouse. Farthouse.
½ February 3, 2015
Half documental, half personal vision, maybe an experimental film, anyway a captivating one about the Canadian city of Winnipeg and the personal story of Guy Maddin. Historic footage, strange events along the time linked with the director's dreams.
January 24, 2015
This is Guy Maddin's Winnipeg. Certainly isn't mine. Dumb pretending to be artsy and people fell for it.
January 12, 2015
that's a lie. Truth is restive.
½ December 9, 2014
An amazing film that was first shown to me in Grade 9 film class. I really loved its comedy, and its way of engaging me in Guy Maddin's personal journey. Maybe I just like the idea of an absurdist documentary.
July 22, 2014
so self-indulgent. so canadian. interesting in terms of style, but style quickly becomes trite when there is no substance to back it up. this is probably my least favourite type of filmmaking. when the filmmaker doesn't acknowledge the audience and makes a film for the purpose of self-expression. the truth is though, nobody else gives a shit about one person's self-expression unless it rings true on a universal level. and this film most certainly didn't.
½ March 11, 2014
It's the best example of his work that I've seen yet. A true marriage of sentimentality, brutal honesty, humor, poignancy and a unique visual style.
February 1, 2014
An ok documentary that i saw in Sydney a few years ago at a film festival.
December 28, 2013
being a Canadian, I'm very interested in what Guy Maddin gives
½ June 9, 2013
Really interesting chaotic editing and use of black and white; this movie portrays a dark and comic style that I haven't encountered before. In a word, versy 'original'. For all the lovers of the history of cinema out there, but perhaps not for your regular blockbuster fans.
April 13, 2013
A good idea and some excellent material but I found it hard to connect to the film.
March 23, 2013
Strange though different documentary of the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba's capital, narrated by the director, Guy Maddin, who is startling dysfunctional. Oddly enough, the recollection of his life is portrayed by another actor named Darcy Fehr, while the actress who portrays his nutcase mother is Ann Savage (the other film I saw in was "Detour" from 1945!). There are many images that are shown throughout the movie that show a city that show minor catastrophes of Winnipeg, including a horse tragedy; the closure of an arena; and many bone chilling winters that leave the city barren of any normal function. It also shows the troubled childhood of Maddin, through the strictness of his parents; his father's untimely death; and disturbing situations that I will let the viewer find out (they are sick events that occur). Though the film is kind of disorganized, it has significant creditability is in its bizarre display footage and peculiar story.
½ March 5, 2013
My Winnipeg unfolds like a dream, narratives interweaving with an oddly surreal approach in which truth itself becomes questionable.
February 16, 2013
More Guy Maddin weirdness. Not as good as his more fantasy oriented films.
February 11, 2013
Visually inventive, darkly comic, and a work of cynical genius, My Winnipeg is a fascinating and refreshing alternative to Hollywood film.
February 11, 2013
Wanted it to finish, but was a unique idea to say the least. I feel I know something about Winnipeg now, which, at the end of the day is the real point of documentaries anyway.
January 8, 2013
Fascinating, beautiful tales about the cold city of Winnipeg is what makes this film truly magical.
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