Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (25)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (3)
| Rotten (22)
In the unlikely event that you've ever been truly curious as to how much M.F.A.-style toxic masculinity can be packed into one motion picture, you ought to check out The Vanishing of Sidney Hall.
The most passable lens through which to watch writer-director Shawn Christensen's risible indie drama "The Vanishing of Sidney Hall" is by counting the many ways it grates as both an agonized-artist pity party and a male fantasy of envied power.
A tortured mystery dripping with pretentiousness.
Christensen favors dreamy shots of dusty libraries and desert horizons that, while beautiful, don't make up for the contrived plot driving Sidney toward his destiny.
The artificially constructed nature of the narrative gives the supposedly shocking revelations way too much importance, essentially subjugating any sense of character development and flaws to its mystery-type structure.
Unspools into nearly two hours of baffling narrative choices, weak character development, and so many offensive cliches that it would be funny if they wasn't so, well, offensive.
As hard as it tries - and, oh boy, does it try - The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is a film of artistic flourishes looking for a story it has no real clue how to tell.
... while its subject matter may weigh heavy, the overall package is an emotionally engaging viewing experience for anyone willing to take the journey.
It's ambitious, takes risks, and contains some finely crafted lines ("Life isn't very interesting unless you're a bit psychotic"), and yet I'm still not sure I could recommend you give up two hours of your life to see it.
When a publicist tells Sidney, "You're being drunk and pretentious and I'm gonna punch you in the face," it's as if she's reading the minds of moviegoers.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is that nobody told writer/director Shawn Christensen that his gag-on-impact green smoothie of dated arthouse tropes was, in fact, a comedy.
Swearing, implied abuse in "tortured artist" drama.
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