Mapplethorpe Reviews

March 22, 2019
How do you hew so close to biopic conventions -a dutiful recitation of this event happened, this fame arrived, that tragedy struck, etc - when you're dealing with an artist whose whole raison d'etre was finding beauty at the extreme edges of things?
March 13, 2019
If the new biopic "Mapplethorpe" presents this transgressive vision is vivid detail - and it does - that's only because it includes so many of Mapplethorpe's pictures. Everything else in the film is timid and pedestrian.
March 6, 2019
There's a way to frame great art and the problematic artists who make it, but "Mapplethorpe" hasn't figured it out.
March 2, 2019
It's Mapplethorpe Vanilla.
March 1, 2019
A conventional biopic of renegade photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (a stranded Matt Smith) is a contradiction in terms, the pallid result feeling like an outline for a movie that no one actually made.
March 1, 2019
A stunningly drab take on the life and legacy of a photographer who merged pornography with grace, Mapplethorpe doesn't have an artistic signature of its own, so much as a name it doesn't live up to.
March 1, 2019
There are two things that make the flawed "Mapplethorpe" worth a watch: Matt Smith's dedicated performance, and a reverent inclusion of so much of the artist's work.
Top Critic
March 1, 2019
A rare misfire for [Timoner], a case where the filmmaker's career-long immersion in prickly subcultures and extreme personalities wasn't enough to wrestle down one of the most extreme of them all.
February 28, 2019
[D]irector Ondi Timoner... has crafted a stylish, evocative, absorbing snapshot of creative expression, artistic ambition, sexuality and eroticism.
Top Critic
February 28, 2019
You go away feeling soiled and confused, disliking and distrusting him more than you did going in.
February 28, 2019
[It's] most alive when it's putting its subject's pictures on the screen, which it does often. And should have done more, because the movie is otherwise as timid as its subject was bold.
Top Critic
May 8, 2018
This zoetrope-esque blurring ultimately lends Mapplethorpe its edge, as audiences will feel unable to tear themselves away from its protagonist's lavish self-destruction.
May 2, 2018
Smith's performance hints at tightly coiled depths that the movie skates by, and his character becomes easier to resent even when he begins to get sick.
May 2, 2018
The major thing that Mapplethorpe has in its favor is that the film is afraid of neither the life nor the work of the notorious photographer.
April 24, 2018
[Smith's] work, sadly, is continuously undermined by everything surrounding him, beginning with a script, written by Timoner and Mikko Alanne, that frustratingly sticks to the then-this-happened conventions of a standard biopic.
April 23, 2018
To her credit, Timoner doesn't shy away from the hardcore bits...but neither does she capture what made the radical photographer tick.