Picnic - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Picnic Reviews

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½ February 25, 2018
Corny and dated. Good for a few glipses of how folks lived in the mid fifties. Supposedly intended to expose the stultifying lack of choices women had then. Ironically both the Kim Novak (a busty young beauty queen) and William Holden, who instantly fall fo reach other, are sort of superficially attractive but not otherwise compelling or very appealing characters. Holden himself is Mr Beefcake, a male sex symbol in torn shirt or shirtless. And the Roz Russell character, a teacher who is a bitter and rather venomous old maid, may make you cringe!
One of those old movies that just does not age well. I did like Mrs Potts, the kindly elderly neighbor with a sunny disposition, and the sultry intellectual 17 year old little sister who was college bound.
½ July 17, 2016
this is one of those very successful movies that did nothing for me it seemed slow uneven and about a half hour too long
July 2, 2016
Unfortunately this one didn't do much for me. I know it received a bunch of Oscar noms but I felt it too melodramatic and some of the acting pretty weak. I did like Holden and Novak enough to make it worth watching, but wouldn't recommend it unless you're a fan of those actors.
½ February 28, 2016
Oppressively bad. Wow. This was awful. Not an authentic or organic note in it. Every inch felt WRITTEN - which can happen with adapted plays and doesn't have to be completely bad if the writing has something fresh to say - but this was just an aimless, heavy-handed contrivance start-to-finish.

Terrible performances. Painful across-the-board, the only possible redemption being, what are actors supposed to do when their characters are not people but devices?

It's been a long time since I gave a 1 rating but I'm having a hard time coming up with a reason for anything else. I don't award points for unintentional comedy.
½ August 24, 2015
Picnic is a very underrated film. It has terrific acting, especially from Rosalind Russell who is just tremendous here, it has incredibly well developed and likable characters with well realized and relevant troubles they face. It also has an incredibly rewarding ending and although it is badly edited and sometimes too prolonged, it is mostly a very engaging, smart and above all a poignant and very powerful film filled with some excellent dialogue and also humor. Picnic, a movie that may seem dated on the surface, but is actually a timeless tale about sexual frustrations and deeply rooted discontent.
August 17, 2015
Saw it in theater back then. Think i liked it.
May 14, 2015
I hade very high hopes for Picnic. I figured since it had William Holden, was nominated for 6 Oscars and (winning 2), that pretty much guarantees an awesome film. Nope! I actually found it pretty dull, filled with annoyingly desperate characters and the same romantic comedy formula we've all seen countless times. William Holden was completely miss cast, he's way too old for this kind of role. The role would have been much better suited for Paul Newman, (who played this kind of role in "The Long hot summer").
December 14, 2014
It looks very nice and the actors do fine, but that's where the quality ends.

Sexism towards women and men; the pretension of the proper, well-off white characters; all the romance tropes in the book; and just being boring, unfunny, and outdated are present throughout this meager narrative. The end isn't completely bad.
September 10, 2014
There are a lot of parallels between this movie and "All That Heaven Allows," but this one has none of the irony or masterful direction.
½ June 27, 2014
Ridiculous melodrama.People meet, fall desperately in love, rip each other apart and run away. All in 24 hours.
February 24, 2014
I thought it was going to be a nice movie about a picnic. Instead, there's a weird Freudianism about it; where everyone has these stupid tawdry yearnings bubbling beneath the surface. This is completely emblematic of that kind of idiotic, mid-20th century, wanna-be subversive, over-saturated, 'serious issues' playwright melodrama, brought to the screen in the clunkiest way imaginable. Clunkier than the previous sentence.
Why is Strasberg rolling her eyes? Was she watching her performance?
So much awkwardness. Always the worst of humanity. The one thing, I think, everyone can agree on is that the mother is horrible. The actress did a great job playing her. There's a nihilism about it that reminded me of Grand Hotel, with the oppressive swelter of The Long, Hot Summer. I'm not sure there's a likable character in the entire film.
The mother's performance is best. romance is not very believable, but the sort of chase at the end makes for the most interesting part of the movie. Gorgeous cinematography. I wish the story matched it.
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2014
There isn't much love for Picnic among the critics or the people on here but I thought it was excellent. William Holden is great as the drifter who sets the small town on its head. I particularly loved the interplay between Holden, Russell and Novak. Good stuff.
Super Reviewer
½ October 16, 2013
A lower class drifter enlists an old college friend to introduce him to Southern society, which includes a pair of sisters, one coquettish and the other plain and intellectual.
A drama of manners, Picnic is A Place in the Sun without the themes of violence or religion. The plot proceeds exactly as you might expect it would. The handsome, anti-intellectual drifter entertains the intellectual sister while pining for her beautiful, anti-intellectual sister. The whole thing resolves as you might expect it would, so there is no real surprise or genre-bending twist. Whatever charm the film holds is in the performances by its stars, and William Holden, showing off his muscled physique, does admirably much with little, and the same can be said of Kim Novak.
Overall, this film is a cliche done well.
½ September 13, 2013
Holden was too old and knew it, and even the shaggy fringe he adopts to seem younger only makes it more awkward for the viewer. I didn't recognize Kim Novak at first--she appears less self-concious, more natural than in her other movies. Rosalind Russell is good, as always, and Arthur O'Connell elicits genuine sympathy. Not a great movie, but beautifully filmed. I didn't like the ending and the fact that Madge complains about superficiality and then falls for a guy who is all looks and no brains. Although he gets points for being a generous and fun guy to be around that even the kids like. It ultimately is a reflection of the morality and thinking of the time, and the constrictions women were put in until the 1960's began to pry open the door.
March 13, 2013
It's too flip to be dismissive of this film as simply 'dated.' It paints a very clear picture of the social mores of the mid-50's and one only has to give this gorgeously lensed film a look to obtain understanding of where we were and how we got here. Holden, Robertson, Strasburg, Novak, Russell...all terrific. Striking visuals in lush Cinemascope.
January 24, 2013
I was interested in watching this because of the talk about the revival on Broadway. I didn't really like it. Maybe it was too innocent or it was dated. William Holden's performance was too over the top and Kim Novak as Madge was kind of boring. I really liked Susan Strasberg as Millie(the younger sister) and Rosalind Russell as Rosemary Sydney (the old maid teacher). I thought they both did really great and added dimension to the movie.
December 29, 2012
Great performances keep this movie afloat. It's pretty slow at times but the acting and direction are the real highlights of this movie.
½ July 28, 2012
A bit more focus on what it is the characters are really trying to achieve and some more drama in the first half could have made this beautifully-shot film a great film but for all its ambitions and understanding, Picnic does still come out as a watchable drama thanks to its much improved second half where the drama never feels too schmaltzy.
July 26, 2012
One the most talked about & commercially successful film of 1955...but I honestly can't see why...it didn't do an awful lot for me. The dialogue wasn't natural at all & in my opinion Kim Novak can't act at all (save Hitchcock's Vertigo)

This film has the reputation of such sexual tension for the 50's but it wasn't that tense at all since William Holden & Novak just didn't have the chemistry.

This film had a lot of potential, I think with a different director & James Dean in lead (who I believe was considered for the role) you may have had a better film.

This has interesting elements & has a few choice scenes but overall it just doesn't work & have naturalism & authenticity it's a little pretentious.
June 29, 2012
Tremendously dated movie in which William Holden plays a hobo or vagabond that travels to small town in Texas to meet up with friend (Cliff Robertson), only to be wooed by his woman (Kim Novak). All the girls yearn for the new man in town, believing his hokum stories of his past life. In a subplot, a teacher (Rosalind Russell) is the girlfriend of drunken nut (Arthur O'Connell). Hard to understand that films like "Rebel Without a Cause" or "To Catch a Thief" or "The Night of the Hunter" were ignored for a nomination of Best Picture over this. The script is downright embarrassing at times and the acting is so juvenile and dull. Ranks among the worst nominees of any such Academy Award.
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