Bright Leaves (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bright Leaves (2004)

Bright Leaves (2004)

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Critic Consensus: A rich, eccentric documentary about both filmmaking and the tobacco industry.

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Movie Info

American filmmaker Ross McElwee travels to his home state of North Carolina for the humorous documentary Bright Leaves. In his trademarked rambling style, McElwee lightly questions his family's role in the tobacco industry. Following the Civil War, his great-grandfather John McElwee had a hand in creating the tobacco company Bull Durham, but lost his fortune to business partner Washington Duke in a lawsuit. In order to find out if his grandfather inspired Gary Cooper's character in the 1950 film Bright Leaf, McElwee travels around the tobacco-rich state to places like the Duke mansion, the Double Take Film Festival, and the annual crowning of Miss Tobacco. The documentary includes commentary from film star Patricia Neal and film historian Vlada Petric, along with personal stories about the pleasures and pains of smoking. Bright Leaves was shown at the2003 Cannes Film Festival.

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Critic Reviews for Bright Leaves

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (25)

Bright Leaves is not the kind of film that thetruth.com would use in its anti-smoking campaign.

April 28, 2005 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

A gently provocative film diary about tobacco and its mixed legacy.

February 11, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Bright Leaves is a beguiling film. Watching it is like spending time with an old, somewhat chatty but endearing friend.

December 3, 2004 | Rating: 3/4
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

McElwee's best film since Sherman's March.

December 3, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It's a meandering visit by a curious man with a quiet sense of humor.

December 3, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

McElwee's autobiographical films ... are leisurely jaunts with a gentle humor that never mocks his subjects.

December 2, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

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