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.

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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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Critic Reviews for Spinning Into Butter

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (9)

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

March 27, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
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.

March 27, 2009 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
New York Post
Top Critic

This movie adaptation of Rebecca Gilman's play is a methodical, not to say mechanical and plodding, exploration of identity politics and language.

March 27, 2009 | Rating: 2/5
New York Times
Top Critic

The film feels stuck in a particularly '90s-flavored argument -- about political correctness and culture wars on campus -- that you probably got tired of during your junior year.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
Washington Post
Top Critic

Despite an earnest and dour tone, the story and the subjects tackled are compelling and thought-provoking.

March 26, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
USA Today
Top Critic

Shelf mold encrusts this misshapen adaptation of Spinning Into Butter, and Rebecca Gilman's 1999 play about racism and toxic political correctness at a small Vermont college 
is lumpy enough as it is.

March 25, 2009 | Rating: D | Full Review…
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Spinning Into Butter

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 was happy to see Brooklyn College (the college that I attended) in this film, as the college where most of the action takes place. On the positive, the acting is really good. On the negative, the film feels too much like an after school special or a Lifetime TV film of the week. I figured out right away which character is doing the hate crime.

Sol C
Sol C

Super Reviewer

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