Spinning Into Butter (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Spinning Into Butter (2009)



Critic Consensus: Both leaden and stilted, Spinning into Butter is an unsubtle drama with stagy direction and lackluster dialogue.

Spinning Into Butter Photos

Movie Info

Sarah Jessica Parker produces and stars in stage director Mark Brokaw's adaptation the Rebecca Gilman play concerning a newly hired dean of students at an elite New England college who finds her life consumed by chaos following a vicious series of hate crimes. Sarah Daniels (Parker) was just settling into her new position when she was placed in charge of the investigation into a series of racially motivated campus crimes. Having previously worked at an inner-city school, Sarah makes the decision to get the police involved when Dean Catherine Kenney (Miranda Richardson) and President Winston Garvey (James Rebhorn) -- both more concerned with maintaining the institution's untarnished image than actually capturing the culprit -- begin to question her authority at every turn. Later, when investigative reporter Aaron Carmichael (Mykel Williamson) arrives on campus after receiving an anonymous telephone call, Sarah is saddled with the responsibility of escorting the journalist in order to squelch any potentially negative press. When a "Forum on Race" conducted by Professor Burton Strauss (Beau Bridges) against Sarah's recommendation turns into an all-out riot, the emerging truth about the crimes forces the emotionally shattered dean of students to confront her own long-dormant prejudices.

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Sarah Jessica Parker
as Sarah Daniels
Miranda Richardson
as Catherine Kenney
Beau Bridges
as Burton Strauss
James Rebhorn
as Winston Garvey
Mykelti Williamson
as Aaron Carmichael
Victor Rasuk
as Patrick Chibas
Paul James
as Simon Brick
Jimonn Cole
as Tyler Hogan
Genevieve Elam
as Rita Chambers
Peter Friedman
as Jay Salter
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News & Interviews for Spinning Into Butter

Critic Reviews for Spinning Into Butter

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (15)

The biggest lesson from Spinning Into Butter has nothing to do with the ethics of race and more with realizing that every hit play doesn't need to be turned into a movie.

Full Review… | April 17, 2009
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

It feels like an after school special.

Full Review… | March 30, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

This movie would've been bad in 1983, but at least it would've been original.

March 30, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

The staging by theater director Mark Brokaw, in his first feature, is, well, stagy. I don't mind a movie where people spend a lot of time jawboning, but what they say had better be interesting.

Full Review… | March 30, 2009
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

The foils have no compunction about hurling ugly truths at each other, most of the time much too literally to work on screen.

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The material is crying out for a satiric wit or at least a stronger point of view. Instead, it's a mishmash in which everyone gets to say his piece, but all of it has been said before.

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
New York Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Spinning Into Butter

there are good racism movies. this is not one of them. this isn't much of good movie, period. incredibly stale and wooden performances from the entire cast, with the possible exception of Mykelti Williamson. the characters aren't sympathetic, the story is mired in political correctness, and the dialogue is so forced you almost have to wonder if it'd be a different film if people could say what they would naturally say instead of lines off a script. Rebecca Gilman's play is at least somewhat tolerable because it involves a bit of thinking on the audience's part. this does all your thinking for you, and it does a very poor job of it.

Brian Schnell
Brian Schnell

I saw this film for my Theater in Film class. While the film is undeniably well intentioned, that only goes so far for a film. It does what it sets out to do, but it doesn't do it incredibly well. Acting/Characters: In terms of characters, there is nothing here that hasn't been seen before a million times. The characters here ask the same questions about racism that films such as Crash, Do the Right Thing, and To Kill A Mockingbird do. They just don't do it as well. The characters aren't as well done as they could be. The acting overall of the film is pretty laughable. But like with most bad acting films (not all by any means) that is the fault of the screenwriter. They want to do well with their performances I know they do, they just can't. 3/10 Plot: Like I said before, there's nothing in here that isn't done better in films like Crash or Do the Right Thing. Its pretty predictable overall. Even the ending. It tries very hard to ask the right questions and for all intents and purposes it does. I don't think that they tried as hard as they could to answer them. To me, they just point out the problems. Maybe they do because there is no real solution. Racism is a pins and needles issue with no definitive answer. So, I guess I can't bash them too much for not answering the questions they ask. It's a thoroughly predictable plot that we've seen many times before. It has great intentions, but little merit beyond that. 3.5/10 Screenplay: yeah, this was the worst part of the film. I mean, the screenplay was written by the writer of the original stage play so I should have expected that it would be better than it was. My theater in film teacher said that there are differences between the script of the movie and the script of the play. Maybe the script for the play was better. If so why didn't you stick to it!? *sigh* 1.5/10 Likableness: I didn't particularly enjoy this film. It was mildly interesting and was well intentioned, but it had no real merits outside of that. This isn't a movie I would suggest to anyone. If oyu want to watch a movie like this, watch Do The Right Thing. That movie was excellent. 2.5/10 Final Score: 10.5/40 26% (S) I couldn't find any TRIVIA TIME stuff for this movie. That makes it even worse.

Lord Naseby
Lord Naseby

Super Reviewer

I saw a reader's theater version of the play a year or two ago. The play itself already verges on preachy, but manages to sidestep it by making it about the characters. Sarah Jessica Parker was unbelievably miscast as the lead. She takes the dialogue and drags it over the preachy line as far as it can go. The rest of the cast does their best to bring it back, but since her role dominates the movie, there's not much they can do about it.

Hannah Megill
Hannah Megill

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