Howl - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Howl Reviews

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Anne Thompson
Thompson on Hollywood
September 24, 2010
An ambitious and admirable film from documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Howl is inspiring, frustrating, and compelling. But finally, it doesn't come together.
| Original Score: C
Charlie Lyne
Ultra Culture
October 26, 2010
Howl is one of the most artless art films ever made.
Roger Moore
Tribune News Service
January 15, 2013
Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman attracted Hollywood talent, had an epic poem and a classic culture clash as their subject and still produced a corpse from it.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Martin Tsai
Critic's Notebook
October 7, 2015
Still, the biggest problem with "Howl" is the fact that none of its parallel narratives build to much of a climax.
Graham Young
Birmingham Post
April 6, 2011
A docu-drama which has 'aren't we a clever little art house production' tattooed through every frame.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
September 30, 2010
It's well-crafted, but I wish the film showed us an additional dimension or two of the central figure, who once said the great challenge in writing, any kind of writing, is "to write the same way you are."
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Lynden Barber
sbs.com.au
March 10, 2011
The film's jigsaw construction initially lends an air of freshness and unpredictability, but as the film moves forward the lack of any overarching thematic structure or emotional dynamism becomes a problem.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Adam Lippe
Examiner.com
September 12, 2010
Did Friedman and Epstein not notice that by having Franco reveal the meaning of each word and phrase, they're just as bad as the district attorney who filed the case?
Clint O'Connor
Cleveland Plain Dealer
October 29, 2010
You can attach many labels to Howl. Cinematically Enthralling is not one of them. Too bad, because James Franco is excellent.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Drew McWeeny
HitFix
January 22, 2010
The end result is dramatically inert, a showcase for James Franco's technically adept but entirely unilluminating impression of Allen Ginsberg.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
October 15, 2010
The poem "Howl" is a great work of the imagination, but the movie is oddly unimaginative.
| Original Score: 2/4
Dan Callahan
House Next Door
February 23, 2011
Like one of those ghastly Vanity Fair black and white photo spreads where hot young actors dress up and pose as bygone icons.
Lauren Wissot
Slant Magazine
September 26, 2010
Like the counterculture icon that penned the poem that serves as the title to Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's film, Howl is one odd bird.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Tricia Olszewski
Washington City Paper
October 28, 2010
Though there's nothing really wrong with Franco's performance, there's not much right about it, either. It just lies there, and its inertia inevitably renders the film a big meh.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
January 3, 2011
Admirable if fundamentally academic.
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
January 23, 2010
Milk meets Pink Floyd the Wall. Says everything it has to say in the first 20 minutes, then keeps repeating itself.
| Original Score: 2/4
Peter Sobczynski
eFilmCritic.com
October 1, 2010
An ambitious but flawed misfire.
Anthony Quinn
Independent (UK)
February 25, 2011
There are ways to put poetry on the screen, but this drama-documentary about the Beat versifier Allen Ginsberg fails to find them.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Erik Childress
eFilmCritic.com
January 31, 2010
It's a mixture of styles that may have worked well if concentrated on one over another. Instead the subject matter struggles to find a distinct voice.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Kent Turner
School Library Journal
September 25, 2010
Unfortunately, films like Howl come closer to fluffy biopic than topical docudrama
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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