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As an ordinary coming-of-age drama, Stonewall is merely dull and scattered -- but as an attempt to depict a pivotal moment in American history, it's offensively bad.
All Critics (73)
| Top Critics (27)
| Fresh (7)
| Rotten (66)
Stonewall is a movie about a pivotal moment in LGBT history as filtered through the perspective of a fictional hunk of Wonder Bread named Danny who steps off a bus from Indiana and right into a central role in the Christopher Street scene.
The Stonewall Riots were a triumph for a marginalized community, but Emmerich fails to convey the significance of the event in any meaningful fashion. The subject matter deserves better, and so do we.
It's a self-financed passion project, from a man who might be the most financially successful out gay filmmaker ever. We should be celebrating this, but man, oh man, does he make it difficult.
Although handsomely crafted, well-acted and made with transparently noble intentions, Roland Emmerich's "Stonewall" is a movie that seems destined to please almost no one.
Danny isn't all that interesting. And the sadder fact is that the filmmakers seem to know that, but worry an audience won't identify with a more flamboyant character. So they present this safer, paler alternative.
There may be a good movie to be made about the Stonewall riots, which triggered much of the gay power movement in 1970, but "Stonewall" isn't it.
Stonewall looks like a bargain-bin musical adaptation, not a tribute to a gay activism triumph.
The highly anticipated/dreaded foray into the birth of the contemporary gay rights movement from director Roland Emmerich reduces this watershed civil rights moment to a tepid coming-out fable.
[Roland Emmerich's] heart's in the right place, but the director of "Independence Day" is perhaps not the best person to capture the gritty and multi-racial reality of street life, then or now.
That such a canny manipulator of audiences could grind out a melodrama so grating and clichéd is hard to imagine.
Whatever else it should be, a big-screen movie about the contemporary landmark of the LGBT civil rights movement shouldn't be this lackluster.
A wooden script, bad lines delivered by amateurish actors, bizarre plot choices, and a set that some have said bears less resemblance to Christopher Street circa 1969 than Sesame Street or the Land of Oz.
I can't shake the feeling that this cheap fantasy is Emmerich's Showgirls, with cheap acting, dialogue and structure (what's with those intrusive flashbacks?), and it reduces the Stonewall riots to a minor scuffle in the life of a white-bread, Dorothy-like jock in Christopher Street the Land of Oz.
A meandering mess that seems to hate its characters.
"Stonewall" is probably one of Roland Emmerich's better films -- which isn't necessarily high praise considering the number of stinkers he's given us. Neither the significance of the Stonewall nor of the riots are explained very well, and none of the characters have much going for them in the interesting or likability departments. However, some of the particular struggles and injustices facing the LGBT community are set forth effectively. Overall, it's an adequate film worth seeing, but it is not likely to linger on your mind after leaving the theater.
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