'Round Midnight (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes

'Round Midnight (1986)

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A French music lover befriends a once-great American jazz artist and attempts to save him from self-destruction in this moody drama. Saxophonist Dexter Gordon portrays Dale Turner, a fictional musician inspired by a number of famed jazz figures, including Bud Powell and Lester Young. Largely forgotten in his home country, Turner has moved to Paris in search of a more appreciative audience. He finds it in the form of Francis Borler (Francois Cluzet), a bebop aficionado who befriends the expatriate player. Borler soon becomes familiar with Turner's darker side, including his struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, and depression. Fearing for the musician's life, the fan becomes his caretaker, an arrangement that leads to a brief improvement in Turner's health and fortunes but places great emotional strain upon them both. Director Bertrand Tavernier pays great attention to the visual and aural details of the jazz world, with outstanding musical supervision provided by Herbie Hancock. 'Round Midnight's greatest asset, however, is Gordon's Academy Award-nominated performance, informed by his own life experiences. His naturally fascinating presence combines with the film's obvious love of the music and its milieu to provide what many have hailed as one of the more authentic and affectionate presentations of the jazz world on the silver screen. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi
Rating:
R (adult situations/language)
Genre:
Drama , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Warner Home Video

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Critic Reviews for 'Round Midnight

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (7)

Round Midnight is a superbly crafted music world drama in which Gallic director Bertrand Tavernier pays a moving dramatic tribute to the great black musicians who lived and performed in Paris in the late 1950s.

Full Review… | April 8, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

The director's perenially heavy mood seems especially well suited to this indigo-shaded story of a black American saxman (Dexter Gordon) living and performing in Paris in the late 50s.

Full Review… | April 8, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Dale Turner, as played by Dexter Gordon, seems to be an amalgam of Bud Powell and Lester Young, but the private, rueful dignity that he brings to bear is all his own.

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

No actor could do what the great jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon does in 'Round Midnight.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Gordon goes the limit as Turner, dedicating his performance to all the cats who've gone before.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

A lovingly gentle yet vibrant tribute to jazz, friendship and film itself, made by a director of consummate taste and precise imagination.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for 'Round Midnight

A really nice movie with an incredible score and soundtrack that fits the mood to this chill movie. Dexter Gordon is great in this especially in really quiet scenes with just him and Francois Cluzet who does a nice job too. This movie is so calm and then a fun small performance from Martin Scorsese comes in and brings this kinetic energy to the movie. Also the musical numbers are either filled with energy or are nice and calm all appropriately handled in tone. It is a great portrait of the jazz world

Kyle Bailey
Kyle Bailey

Dexter Gordon's portrayal of a fish out of water in Paris is marvelous. We soon learn that stepping across an ocean does not allow one to run away from problems.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

The music is good but the story is as boring as early morning church. Just listen to some jazz and skip the movie.

Marty Whitman
Marty Whitman

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