The Art of Self-Defense

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 20

Audience Score

Ratings: Not yet available

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Movie Info

After he's attacked on the street at night by a roving motorcycle gang, timid bookkeeper Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself. Under the watchful eye of a charismatic instructor, Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), Casey gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time in his life. But when he attends Sensei's mysterious night classes, he discovers a sinister world of fraternity, brutality and hyper-masculinity, presenting a journey that places him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor. Audacious and offbeat, The Art of Self-Defense is an original dark comedy that takes toxic masculinity to absurd extremes.


Critic Reviews for The Art of Self-Defense

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

  • While the beats of its plot may be nothing very new, the tone, language and performances here make Self-Defense its own beast.

    Mar 15, 2019 | Full Review…
  • A piece with funny moments sprinkled throughout but that never comes together in a satisfying way.

    Mar 12, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The Art of Self-Defense manages to clarify the filmmaker's intriguing vision by stuffing it into a remarkably unnerving character study.

    Mar 11, 2019 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Eric Kohn

    Top Critic
  • "The Art of Self-Defense" may be presented as an absurdist satire, but like the best American comedies... it doubles as a keen critique of our national character.

    Mar 11, 2019 | Full Review…

    Peter Debruge

    Top Critic
  • A hilarious dark comedy with enough wit and brain to leave a long-lasting punch.

    May 27, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • 'Fight Club' by way of Yorgos Lanthimos, Riley Stearns' screed on "might is right" toxic masculinity is a giggly black comedy that cowers down a twisty-turny rabbit hole.

    May 24, 2019 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Art of Self-Defense

There are no featured reviews for The Art of Self-Defense because the movie has not released yet (Jul 12, 2019).

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