My Own Private Idaho - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

My Own Private Idaho Reviews

Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
June 2, 2014
A simultaneously heartbreaking and exhilarating road movie.
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
June 2, 2014
Holding all these elements together is Van Sant's sensibility, such an elusive thing it instinctively squirms away from any attempt to pigeonhole it.
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 2, 2014
Although River Phoenix has distinguished himself as an actor ever since his second film, Stand By Me, nothing he has ever done before prepares you for his performance in Private Idaho as the motherless, homeless, loveless piece of human driftwood.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Dave Kehr
Chicago Tribune
June 2, 2014
This is a very rich, very sympathetic piece of work.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
June 2, 2014
[Van Sant] disdain[s] narrative. He got away with Drugstore Cowboy because its band of drugged-out dodoes were engaged in a petty crime spree that almost passed for a plot. But My Own Private Idaho is a different story. Or rather nonstory.
Top Critic
Michael Upchurch
Seattle Times
June 2, 2014
One of the most original cinematic talents at work in this country, Van Sant has a knack for pulling disparate elements together and twisting them into wildly funny lyrical odysseys of the mind and heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
June 2, 2014
Director-writer Gus Van Sant sets up disturbing -- and, often, oddly comic -- situations and then gives his characters (and actors) the freedom to explore them.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Terrence Rafferty
New Yorker
June 2, 2014
Van Sant takes a lot of chances, and, visually, the movie is so imaginative, so fiercely alive, that it carries us along. But when the over-all design of the picture becomes clear, we feel cheated rather than enlightened.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
September 7, 2011
My Own Private Idaho lacks the dramatic punchiness of Drugstore Cowboy, yet it's a rich, audacious experience.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
David Ansen
Newsweek
October 18, 2008
My Own Private Idaho is a far cry from seamless, but I would gladly trade a dozen well-made studio movies for one of its vital parts.
Top Critic
Variety Staff
Variety
July 3, 2008
One of those ambitious, over-reaching disappointments that is more interesting than some more conservative successes.
Top Critic
Wally Hammond
Time Out
February 9, 2006
The film's uniqueness lies in its remarkable emotional open-heartedness.
Top Critic
Vincent Canby
New York Times
May 20, 2003
The performances, especially by the two young stars, are as surprising as they are sure.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 12, 2001
An essential testament to the beauty and chops of the late River Phoenix...
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
Even though it falters toward the end, it soars above the fray.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
The achievement of this film is that is wants to evoke that state of drifting need, and it does.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Hal Hinson
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
Van Sant's sensibility is wholly original, wholly fresh. My Own Private Idaho adds a new ingredient: a kind of boho sweetness. I loved it.