My Own Private Idaho - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

My Own Private Idaho Reviews

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½ December 26, 2017
Not for everyone but an interesting coming of age drama.
River Phoenix's considerable talent is on show.
October 27, 2017
Somewhat off kilter, Phoenix knocks this one out the park. He's unrecognisable in this character and therefore he's a fit for the film and the character.
September 1, 2017
Not even River and Keanu could save this one. If you want to watch a very boring movie about two gay guys..this one's for you.
½ July 13, 2017
River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves are both great and there are several phenomenal scenes in the film but My Own Personal Idaho felt very uneven and unguided most of the time.
½ May 4, 2017
Gus Van Sant's own private movie. The rest of us don't really get it. It is truly one of the more pretentious films I've seen with almost no entertainment value other than some good acting from River Phoenix. (First and only viewing - 9/1/2016)
April 16, 2017
Theatrical nonsense, couldn't watch it all.
½ October 14, 2016
The movie wasn't as good as I thought it would be. It wasn't very emotional, it didn't have too much substance to it, it didn't pull me in. But, the performances from Reeves and Phoenix were top notch
½ September 8, 2016
Gus Van Sant, a master of art-house, creates an effectively heart-breaking drama set against a Shakespeare template.
½ August 21, 2016
Worst Movie Everrrrrrr
July 29, 2016
Liked this film. Good acting.
July 27, 2016
Poor River, what might have been...
½ June 12, 2016
A film about characters, that for some moments seems to be a documental.
A bit controversial too.
½ May 31, 2016
Gus Van Sant's celebrated opus seethes with dreamy, pensive and luscious homoeroticism with Keanu Reeves and the late River Phoenix playing a pair of drifting gay hustlers sharing an existential crisis on a motorcycle road trip.
½ April 11, 2016
From the beginning, up till it's last moment the movie is brilliant. The two main actors: River Phoenix, and Keanu Reeves had an excellent performance. I found the movie heavy to watch, still i am glad i endured it to the end. Phoenix and Reeves, both assume the roll of rent boys. Not only the acting, and story itself were great ... but also the ambient sound of the movie excelled. Most of the story is spent in Portland, yet for a short while you are taken to Italy. There you'll be faced with incredible views, adorable sheep, and amazing sound.The end of the movie leaves you all the space you may need, to think about what you just watched.
February 15, 2016
arty and innovatively ruthless
February 10, 2016
The best thing about "My Own Private Idaho" is the way it so sure-handedly captures the lifestyle of the drifter. Its main characters depending on the kindness of strangers to make ends meet, the film might have, in different hands, been a depressing, slice-of-life character study with few likable characteristics besides its acting. But because it is a film directed by Gus Van Sant, whose body of work has frequently crawled under the guise of the avant garde, "My Own Private Idaho" is a mercurial but touching drama far more affecting than a film as experimental as this one would be expected to be.
The depicted drifters are hustlers, wandering the streets day and night in hopes to turn a couple of tricks for quick money. One is Mike (River Phoenix), a homosexual whose existence is incessantly tormented by a relentless search for his long lost mother and a severe affliction of narcolepsy. The other is Scott (Keanu Reeves), a child of wealth who takes to the streets for the sole purpose of rebellion. Both pimp themselves out to whoever calls, most being men, though Scott obsessively assures us that he's straight, only willing to please male callers if money awaits him.
We can see that Mike is in love with Scott, and maybe Scott would admit to loving him too if he weren't so convinced that working as a prostitute is only a temporary vocation. He'll inherit his father's money when he's twenty-one, he explains. But these young men are much too caught up in self-discovery to really mean anything they say or do - "My Own Private Idaho" is like a journey, us acting as voyeurs as they travel from customer to customer, as they travel around the Washington/Oregon area, and even to Italy in search of Mike's mother, whom he believes will mystically be awaiting him somewhere random with open arms.
Considering the way its story is as arbitrary as its characters are, I cannot stand by the conviction that "My Own Private Idaho" is much more than a better-than-average art house flick. But that's still a significant achievement, considering how much it haunts us on a humanistic level in light of the way so much of its aesthetic is more arty than anything Godard's '60s could have ever dreamed of. Van Sant's writing and direction is enthusiastically off-kilter, frivolously (if somewhat illogically) funny in some places and heavy in others, and adeptly portrays the lives of these characters as being both humorously without aspiration and troublingly tragic.
Phoenix and Reeves are similarly proficient, masterfully portraying potentially unplayable (in terms of realism, that is) characters with enough demureness to keep their ingenuity intact, despite them working in perhaps the most innocence destroying field of all. Phoenix, quiet and sensitive, prodigiously captures Mike's demons, no matter how chucklesome, how desperate, they might seen. Reeves brings an ironic, comic edge to his performance, Scott's laments ridiculously dim in their wit but delivered by Reeves with total seriousness.
So while "My Own Private Idaho" is decidedly imperfect, its story told with too much experimental looseness to profoundly deter our emotions, we cannot help but be taken by Van Sant's risky approach, by the subtly superb performances from Phoenix and Reeves. Who knew a tale about street hustlers could be such a trip?
February 3, 2016
Really struck a chord when I was young, especially the contrasting funerals at the end. It's amazing, I saw this about 20 years ago and can still remember it vividly whereas some of the stuff I saw twenty days ago i would barely remember.

Loved the big open spaces, did Phoenix popularize narcolepsy?
December 25, 2015
Interesting adaptation with a contrasting mixture of overly formal, artificial dialogue in grimy, beaten down surroundings. Similar to Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet but not as lame (or not as pretty but also more layered, I think). The movie was kind of all over the place but the dynamic between Keanu and River was beautiful and sad, and the inexplicit nature of the sculpture-like still shots for the sex scenes were intriguing and added to the feeling of falseness and shakespearean beauty in the bleak circumstances. Sort of. That wasn't consistent really but I think they were trying to do something similar with it (maybe?) It could have also been a fluke that just gives off an air of innovative experimentation, but I'm kind of giving it the benefit of the doubt. The fact that Keanu always delivers his lines in a way that sounds totally fake worked really well here luckily!
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