Howl - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Howl Reviews

February 23, 2011
This is a bold, inspiring piece of work, putting experimental techniques in the service of a heartfelt, insightful and surprisingly audience-friendly work of art.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
January 28, 2011
It's sweet stuff, a portrait of an artist in turmoil, under fire and laying himself bare. Howl captures Howl beautifully.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
January 3, 2011
Admirable if fundamentally academic.
October 29, 2010
What could have been a trivial exercise in nostalgia instead becomes a powerful case for the cathartic power of art.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
October 28, 2010
Epstein and Friedman didn't write the film as much as assemble it, using actual interview quotes and court transcripts. And while the loose structure takes some getting used to, it's ultimately effective and at times thrilling.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
October 22, 2010
Howl is a disappointingly mundane movie about a vibrant, iconoclastic subject.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
October 22, 2010
It's about literature itself, the ways in which it works on the reader and the folly of applying some objective standard of decency and meaning to words on a page.
Read More | Original Score: 4.5/5
October 21, 2010
The film forces us to face what a powerful poem "Howl" remains. That poetry isn't just pretty language, it has the ability to make us think about our lives, even to change our lives.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
October 14, 2010
Despite James Franco's smart performance as poet Allen Ginsberg, this film rings hollow.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
October 8, 2010
The language of that poem, which periodically pours out from the screen, is the best thing in the movie.
Full Review | Original Score: B
October 8, 2010
The result, though clearly flawed, is passionate and ambitious, celebrating that long-gone era when a book of verse could spark a revolution in consciousness.
October 8, 2010
The best thing about the film Howl is the poem Howl.
September 30, 2010
How do you make poetry cinematic? "Howl,'' a new film about beat writer Allen Ginsberg, asks that question without realizing the question is backward. It should be: How do you make cinema poetic?
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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
September 30, 2010
The bold, outspoken man of later days is seen here as still a middle-class youth, uncertain of his gayness, filled with the heady joy of early poetic success, learning how to be himself.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
September 24, 2010
By the time this movie's over, you've spent an hour and a half just working your way through the words of "Howl" and some related source material, and that turns out to be a surprisingly satisfying thing to do.
September 24, 2010
An exemplary work of literary criticism on film, explaining and contextualizing its source without deadening it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
September 24, 2010
Howl is a movie with no clear narrative. It pushes boundaries and feels like one man's fever dream. But all those traits would certainly make Allen Ginsberg happy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
September 23, 2010
A film of passion and ambition, but one whose success is intermittent at best.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
September 23, 2010
Happily, Ginsberg's words still cut recklessly through the years.
Read More | Original Score: B
September 22, 2010
Allen Ginsberg's revolutionary 1956 poem ''Howl'' -- a literary manifesto for the Beat Generation -- gets a great reading from modern-day beatnik-star James Franco, playing the poet with bebop passion.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
September 22, 2010
There is no defining story of lasting importance here, so the directors opted for a small narrative, a lot of drawings and snippets of the trial. It's filled with graphics, but doesn't really amount to much of a film or an illumination of the man's life.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
September 22, 2010
A Beat Generation biopic that makes you sympathize with the Man? That's just unholy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
September 21, 2010
Splendid as Franco's literal characterization and overheated line readings can be, art director Eric Drooker's literal-minded animated interpretation of "Howl" are as sodden as a cold latke -- as well as a distraction.
June 14, 2010
Howl is very, very, good. Worth seeing if you love writing, if you've ever written, if you're intrigued by the creative process as a whole.
Full Review | Original Score: A
January 28, 2010
It's done pretty well as a poem up till now, and more than once during Franco's reading, I simply closed my eyes and listened.
January 23, 2010
Milk meets Pink Floyd the Wall. Says everything it has to say in the first 20 minutes, then keeps repeating itself.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
January 22, 2010
The filmmakers don't get everything right but their passion for Ginsberg's genius and their excitement over trying to deconstruction a literary master work is contagious. A more perfect film might have been just a teensy-weensy dull.