Leaving Las Vegas (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

"We both know that I'm a drunk and you're a hooker," Ben reminds Sera. The unusual twist in this critically acclaimed drama is the lovers' mutual agreement not to try to change one another. Nick Cage won the "Best Actor" Oscar as a depressive alchoholic determined to drink himself to death.
Rating:
R (adult situations/language, sex)
Genre:
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
United Artists

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Cast

Nicolas Cage
as Ben Sanderson
Graham Beckel
as Bartender
R. Lee Ermey
as Conventioneer
Laurie Metcalf
as Landlady
David Brisbin
as Landlord
Xander Berkeley
as Cynical Cabbie
Albert Henderson
as Man at Strip Bar
Lou Rawls
as Concerned Cabbie
Steven Weber
as Marc Nussbaum
Kim Adams
as Sheila
Emily Procter
as Debbie
Stuart Regen
as Man at Bar
Al C. Henderson
as Man at Strip Bar
Shashi Bhatia
as Hispanic Prostitute
Carey Lowell
as Bank Teller
Anne Lange
as Business Colleague
Thomas Kopache
as Mr. Simpson
Vincent Ward
as Business Man No. 1
French Stewart
as Business Man No. 2
Lucinda Jenney
as Weird Woman
Mike Figgis
as Mobster No. 1
Waldemar Kalinowski
as Mobster No. 2
Ed Lauter
as Mobster No. 3
David Kriegel
as Hotel Manager
Bill Thompson
as Midwest Man at Poolside
Marek Stabrowski
as Pawn Shop Owner
Mariska Hargitay
as Hooker at Bar
Danny Huston
as Barman No. 2
Shawnee Smith
as Biker Girl
Paul Quinn
as Biker Guy
Julian Lennon
as Bartender in Biker Bar
Tracy Thorne
as Waitress at Mall
Bob Rafelson
as Man at Mall
Susan Barnes
as Desk Clerk
Marc Coppola
as Dealer
Michael A. Goorjian
as College Boy No. 1
Davidlee Willson
as College Boy No. 3
Sergio Premoli
as Stetson Man at Casino
Gordon Michaels
as Security Guard
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Critic Reviews for Leaving Las Vegas

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (12)

Dark and giddy at the same time, Leaving Las Vegas takes us into dreamy, intoxicated places no movie about an alcoholic has gone before.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

We're not talking high, morally instructive tragedy here, just a hard lesson in postmodernist outlawry and its sad little anarchies.

Full Review… | September 19, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The film pulls no punches, takes no prisoners and flies in the face of feel-good pictures.

Full Review… | February 11, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

The plot goes nowhere, but under the pornographic circumstances Figgis, Cage, and Shue all do fine jobs.

Full Review… | February 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It certainly has the courage of its convictions.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Small, searing film.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Leaving Las Vegas

An awfully bleak and depressing drama that doesn't offer us any door or way in to connect with a deplorable alcoholic who only wants to die and a pitiable prostitute in need of his love - and her interview scenes are just intrusive, unnecessary and heavy-handed like most of the script.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Terrific acting but grim, grim, grim.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Don't get me wrong, this film is thoroughly downbeat, however I feel alcoholism is still somewhat sugar coated. The likelihood of Ben Sanderson (Nicolas Cage) finding a woman as attractive and utterly devoted as Sera (Elizabeth Shue) is slim. It's possible of course, their bond is understandable; they're both people in grave need of care, one being a severe addict and the other being a victim on the fringe of society. Also, the crucial element that makes the relationship and indeed the film work is its platonic aberrance. Nevertheless, I thought that 'Leaving Las Vegas' is a somewhat idealised account of dire alcoholism. This really struck me in an erotically charged scene in which the pair kiss and caress each other with the help of a large bottle of liquor - it's an image that would exist merely in the dreams of most addicts. However, the engaging central romance certainly beats 2 hours of a more ordinary dive into alcoholism, which would be a film of roughly two sets: a pub and a bedroom stained with urine, excrement, blood and vomit. A film of this nature depends on a good central performance, and it gets one. Cage is depressingly real and effective as Ben. I am a fan of many of Cage's unhinged roles, however 'Leaving Las Vegas' is one the films that proves that when he moderates his idiosyncratic lunacy, he can produce genuinely good, measured performances. The film is scored with smooth, melancholic Jazz tracks and the narrative is constructed by a tautly composed prologue which gives a brief insight into Ben's life before he left for Las Vegas. This includes a brilliant scene of Ben ridding himself of his personal and professional existence to the sound of Michael McDonald's energetic 'Lonely Teardrops'. It's a scene of mixed emotions, although he is condemning himself, it is also an act of liberation. Not much detail is given about his life in the prologue, however it is clear that he was a popular and successful family man. When he is fired, his boss says with a touching sincerity 'we enjoyed having you around here, but you know how it is', giving him a cheque which Ben describes as 'too generous'. This depth given to Cage's character makes his decline all the more tragic. 'Leaving Las Vegas' is dark, seedy and tragic. Recommended.

Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins

Super Reviewer

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