The Art of Self-Defense Reviews

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July 18, 2019
The film's calm brutality is effective. Plot-wise, some punches are telegraphed, while others are not. The satire is a spinning wheel kick I didn't see coming. Black belts all around.
July 18, 2019
Mannered and remote, the movie throws a lot of punches but hardly ever connects.
July 18, 2019
Jesse Eisenberg steps into the dojo and gets in a few good licks at toxic masculinity before odious comparisons to Fight Club blunt the film's comic and dramatic impact.
July 18, 2019
Writer-director Riley Stearns is a dark-comedy talent to watch.
July 18, 2019
"The Art of Self-Defense" turns into an often brutal takedown of both toxic masculinity and the willingness of humans of both genders to give up their individuality in service of some greater authority in which they find identity and fellowship.
July 17, 2019
Stearns says some people have compared the film to a comic "Fight Club," but it feels like something that is wholly original ⁠- and compelling.
July 16, 2019
[A]t times, the movie struggles to maintain the critical balance between detachment from and engagement with the thing it's making fun of.
Top Critic
July 16, 2019
I'm afraid none of this makes much valid sense. The movie fails to offer a cogent point of view.
July 12, 2019
The Art of Self-Defense could have a lot to say about modern loneliness and toxic masculinity, ideas that writer-director Riley Stearn largely decides to deliver as bone-dry, blunt-force satire.
July 12, 2019
It definitely sweeps the leg in its own way.
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