Shakespeare Behind Bars - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shakespeare Behind Bars Reviews

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August 12, 2008
This fascinating video documentary covers a nine-month rehearsal of Shakespeare's final play by inmates at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in La Grange, Kentucky.
July 10, 2007
... a truly compelling examination of the extent to which art can lift the human spirit, no matter how tragic the surrounding circumstances may be.
March 1, 2007
It's a tribute to the dry-eyed empathy of the filmmakers that these men, guilty of the most heinous crimes of murder and violence, somehow manage to win your sympathy.
August 10, 2006
I found this documentary to be sobering, even optimistic ... it's a reminder that being human means being complex.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
May 19, 2006
The up-close interviews with the prisoners, many of whom are in jail for murder, are the heart of the film.
Full Review | Original Score: B
May 12, 2006
Rogerson and producer Jilann Spitzmiller ably convey the humanity of the inmates while also exposing them as deeply flawed individuals. The film also reconfirms the enduring relevance and power of Shakespeare and his adaptability to almost any milieu.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
May 11, 2006
Albeit a tad repetitive, Shakespeare Behind Bars succeeds in humanizing men we might too easily label as monsters, and provides a solid argument in favor of prisons that place rehabilitation above retribution.
May 11, 2006
Few non-fiction films about the arts hit as hard or soar to such heights of poetry and humanity.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
May 5, 2006
Observes as the inmates use theater to massage knots of guilt and anguish in their psyches.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
April 29, 2006
Perhaps it's just the inner drama geek talking, but there's something extremely compelling about seeing hardened felons preparing to put on a classic play with the enthusiasm of giddy schoolgirls.
April 14, 2006
The film makes the case -- one that always needs making -- that, despite what they've done, these men retain some shred of humanity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
April 14, 2006
By presenting murderers as actors and then filming those actors discussing their sins, the line between performance and soul-searching blurs in unnerving ways.
Full Review | Original Score: A
April 13, 2006
For once, here's a prison movie without a riot or an impromptu cafeteria fight in which one inmate bashes the other over the head with a food tray.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
April 8, 2006
Rogerson has crafted an emotionally satisfying exploration of the creative process through people who, before the program started, weren't comfortable with expressing themselves at all.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
April 8, 2006
The search for inner forgiveness is a ribbon that runs throughout the film...
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
March 31, 2006
An immensely moving tribute to the power of art.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
March 30, 2006
A portrait of repentant convicts that is both heartbreaking and unnerving.
Full Review | Original Score: B
March 13, 2006
A truly inspiring documentary that depicts the salutary effects of prison inmates performing in an annual Shakespeare production.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
March 10, 2006
Shakespeare himself couldn't have written better or more complex characters, and far from strange, by the end of this extraordinary film you couldn't imagine Shakespeare performed anywhere else.
Read More | Original Score: 4/4
March 10, 2006
The mere fact that Shakespeare can teach hardened criminals to search their souls gives hope that forgiveness and redemption are possible -- even at the bottom of the human barrel.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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