Sal (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

Sal (2013)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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James Franco's Sal chronicles the final day in the life of actor Sal Mineo (Val Lauren), 1950s teen idol and an Academy Award (R) nominee for his roles in Rebel Without a Cause and Exodus. Almost two decades later, Mineo is no longer the marquee sensation he had once been - but he has become open about his homosexuality and is finding his way to becoming the actor and director he has always wanted to be. Featuring a magnetic performance by Lauren, Franco's intimate portrait finds the human details in a larger-than-life Hollywood story. (c) Tribeca

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Val Lauren
as Sal Mineo
Jim Parrack
as Keir Dullea
James Franco
as Milton Katsolas
Brian Goodman
as Detective Tankersely
Eva Lauren
as Nurse #3
Vince Jolivette
as Billy Bolasco
Trevor Neuhoff
as Michael Mason
Stacey Miller
as Nancy Barr
Christian Olave
as Ray Evans
Ed Ghamem
as Store Clerk
Jason Fox
as Steven Gustaggson
Felicity Bryant
as Monica Morrem
Brian Lally
as Detective Pia
Robin Cohen
as Marsha DiSessa
Adam Peek
as Waiter
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Critic Reviews for Sal

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

All we do is wait through uneventful hours with the protagonist until their foreordained death comes as a kind of finale and release.

Full Review… | November 1, 2013
Top Critic

Despite its modest proportions and chilling finale, Sal is foremost an affectionate tribute, conjuring ample warmth out of relatively little.

Full Review… | October 31, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

As always, Franco demonstrates a talent for and interest in composition, performance, and the naked human moment.

Full Review… | October 29, 2013
Village Voice
Top Critic

[S]cene after scene plays out as if Franco has watched one too many Gus Van Sant movies and figured that's how you make an Important Movie.

Full Review… | December 26, 2013
Glenn Dunks

James Franco's lovingly crafted, if minimalistic, cinematic ode to Sal Mineo - the actor most famous for his Oscar-nominated role opposite James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" - succeeds due in large part to Val Lauren's thoughtful portrayal.

Full Review… | November 10, 2013

Franco's visual sense and skill with atmosphere are strongly evident here, but, unfortunately, not enough happens in the movie.

Full Review… | October 31, 2013
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for Sal

For better or worse, James Franco has done exactly what he promised with "Sal", a look at the actors last day before being murdered outside of his West Hollywood apartment building. The downside to this is that we get long scenes that portray the mundane and uninvolving moments of the day. But, some of those moments come across as more real because of this. Good performances help, as does some authentic sounding dialog. This could have turned out terrible, but it could have been a lot better as well.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

I actually know quite little of twice Oscar nominated actor Sal Mineo -- other than his acting -- who starred in such films as Rebel Without a Cause, Exodus, Giant and The Longest Day. I was hoping that a film titled Sal might provide some additional information on the one-time star who arrived on the Hollywood scene with many lauded performances and much fanfare but whose star quickly descended as he became typecast and his open homosexuality prevented him from getting many leading man roles in the mid-to-late 1960s. James Franco directs this small film about the late actor and while it is apparent Franco wanted the film to be a tribute to Mineo there is little here one would be overly pleased with. Franco uses too many close-ups, he is obsessed with the male body -- the film opens with an overly long sequence of Sal (Val Lauren - Interior Leather Bar) working out shirtless and sweaty -- and there is simply no real story here at all. Sal is simply a filmed composite of the actor's final day of life ... he wakes up, works out, meets up with someone for lunch to discuss business, rehearses a new play etc. An audience never gets to discover who Sal is or dive into his personality or being. We see him move around and hear him talk (in close-up). There are a few -- like three too many -- scenes of Sal driving a car listening to the radio ... most likely because Franco and the film's screenwriter had no idea what to make Sal say. The film is most disappointing and after seeing this -- Franco's second directed film -- I hope he gives up his dreams of directing as he is much better (at times) in front of the camera. A film with Mineo's name should show us what made him special but this one doesn't. It is boringly bad ... and Plato deserved much, much, much better.

Thomas Williams
Thomas Williams

The (intentionally?) very consistent & lingering rawness as seen in every other Franco's production.


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