Bright Leaves Reviews

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May 4, 2009
Classic McElwee blending together the personal and the political in his native North Carolina, to which he something of the same ambivalent relation that Faulkner, another son of the South, had to Mississippi.
September 8, 2006
This is a highly personal journey, reminiscent of a smart, sardonic personal essay you might find in Harper's magazine or a quirky, savvy radio piece on NPR's 'This American Life.'
May 2, 2005
Touches on serious matters with a sly, self-deprecating sense of humor that makes receiving its messages a pleasure rather than a chore.
April 29, 2005
Ross McElwee ambles through one tobacco-related subject after another... it's too scattered all over the place to be truly informative.
April 28, 2005
Bright Leaves is not the kind of film that would use in its anti-smoking campaign.
March 5, 2005
March 5, 2005
A meandering riff on the dangerous allure of smoking, and more interestingly a meditation on the way motion pictures can preserve our life experiences-- but only to a point.
February 11, 2005
A gently provocative film diary about tobacco and its mixed legacy.
January 26, 2005
The filmmaker narrates with droll, front-porch wit, and eases his way into the viewer's heart by sharing a hefty portion of his own.
January 24, 2005
December 3, 2004
Bright Leaves is a beguiling film. Watching it is like spending time with an old, somewhat chatty but endearing friend.
December 3, 2004
McElwee's best film since Sherman's March.
December 3, 2004
Twin concerns of family and place collide perfectly in McElwee's first film in seven years.
December 3, 2004
It's a meandering visit by a curious man with a quiet sense of humor.
December 2, 2004
Ross McElwee's movies have the rhythms of a person who is writing -- considering this possibility, rejecting that one and ultimately making a decision.
December 1, 2004
Bright Leaves mixes social conscience with personal journey in an even balance.
November 30, 2004
The mysteries McElwee sets out to solve aren't very involving, and his meandering style, while charming first and literate, becomes repetitive and yes, even a little dull.
November 26, 2004
A transcendent documentary that swirls in a temporarily timeless haze of themes: imagined pasts, shadowy legacies, cinematic heirlooms and the bittersweet landscape of memory.
November 21, 2004
detours never seem self-indulgent, just the flights of fancy of a creative intellect
November 19, 2004
McElwee is motivated less by political views, personal desires or preachiness than any documentarian I know. He's motivated almost solely by curiosity, and everyone he encounters ... interests him.
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