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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk has noble goals, but lacks a strong enough screenplay to achieve them -- and its visual innovations are often merely distracting. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Nineteen-year-old private Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn), along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, what really happened to the squad is revealed, contrasting the realities of the war with America's perceptions. Based on the novel by Ben Fountain.

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Critic Reviews for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

All Critics (160) | Top Critics (61) | Fresh (70) | Rotten (90)

  • At times, Billy Lynn plumbs the right depths, at others it remains a simplistic, overemotional and boring eulogy...

    July 30, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The story, about a young soldier who is torn between leaving the army and loyalty to his brothers at arms, is affecting and well acted ...

    February 12, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A film that's as clunky as its title.

    February 10, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • It's not odd like Attack of the 500-Foot Lobster. It's odd in fashions you wouldn't expect from one of our era's cleverest and most versatile filmmakers.

    February 10, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The film has neither topical immediacy nor any real historical perspective and, burdened with pedantic and predictable flashbacks, it finally leads nowhere interesting at all.

    February 10, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Ideally, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk shouldn't play like a demo reel for new technology Ang Lee wishes to unveil. Unfortunately, it does.

    February 9, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

  • Sep 25, 2018
    This was a one of a kind movie as far as being shot in the up close personal perspective, the cinematography was great. I also really liked the ensemble cast, they were very believable. Hats of to Ang Lee for his pioneering of this unique film, salute to our troops.
    Super Reviewer
  • Jun 19, 2017
    From Ang Lee comes the compelling war drama Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Based on a novel, the story follows returning war hero Billy Lynn and his squad as they wrap up a good will tour by appearing in the halftime show of a Dallas Cowboys game. The script is especially well-writing and addressing a number of topical issues, including the exploitation of soldiers, PTSD, and the comradery of brothers in arms. It's not really pro- or anti-war, rather the film looks at the realities that soldiers face. The cast is fairly good and delivers some strong performances. And the production values are especially well-done, particularly the cinematography. A smart and thought-provoking film, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is incredibly powerful.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 30, 2017
    When did Academy Award winning director Ang Lee -- famous for meaningful films like "Brokeback Mountain" and "Life of Pi" -- begin directing after-school specials for the Hallmark Channel? Of the five films he's directed in the last dozen years, "Billy Lynn" probably does not make the Top 4 List.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2017
    True Stories can either manipulate its audience into thinking there was more to the story than what news platforms had lead on at the time, but they can also just be effective films on their own, even though you know the full story going in. Sadly, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk fails to impress on either one of those levels. It's one thing to make a story your own and have an incredible vision placed on-screen, but I think this film tried far too hard to add emotion where it didn't need to be. To be quite honest, this is a film that deserved a documentary made, where the real heroes speak about their past, while this main event is showcased. Here is why Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is disappointing, even with no expectations. As a solider (Billy Lynn) is brought home after his time in Iraq, he and the rest of the men from his tour must do a victory walk down the stage during halftime at the Super Bowl. In itself, this is not much substance to make a film out of, which is why I was shocked to see Ang Lee at the helm as director. It's not that it's poorly structured or anything, but it's the fact that the war itself (shown through flashbacks) would have made a great story on its own. Constantly cutting back and forth from the war to the events at the Super Bowl felt very jarring at times. I truly feel as though this film would've worked better as either a Documentary or a three hour epic, showcasing the war itself, as well as the aftermath. Yes, the fact that the world is never truly able to see and feel what these soldiers have been through is more than true, but when this tactic is used as an entire feature film in order to make the present-day storyline more impactful, it seems a little manipulative to me. Not to say that it wasn't effective, because there were a few moments when I found myself becoming moved by the story at hand. This film places these two connective events together in such a way that matter and works in context with the film, but the war sequences are really only shown when nothing else interesting is going on. For that reason, it either felt like filler or manipulation for its audience. All of this on the table, I found myself faced with the impossible task of criticizing these actors. Aside from a few inessential characters throughout the film, whether Kristen Stewart was playing off Joe Alwyn or Steve Martin was delivering his few lines, everyone seemed to be giving it their all in these roles, and I respected that more than anything else. Never did I expect to see a film about the aftermath of war with Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, and Steve Martin as core performances. The one thing I was able to praise about this film were the performances. I always felt moved whenever an actor/actresses was delivering a compelling line of dialogue, and this aspect alone made this film worth watching. Looking back on this film, I have to admit that I found myself bored quite often. The pacing is quite bad and the premise itself doesn't work as a feature film. On the other hand, the performances are all terrific and the manipulation of the war scenes intercut with the happiness of the Super Bowl was pretty effective. All of that said, this film is average at best. I can't get myself to recommend this film to anyone, because I truly believe you will either find yourself enjoying either the war side of the story or the aftermath, but not the two together. I will be complimentary and say that this is a competent film, but I truthfully can't see myself ever revisiting it.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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