The Congress

Critics Consensus

The Congress rises on the strength of Robin Wright's powerful performance, with enough ambitious storytelling and technical thrills to overcome its somewhat messy structure.



Total Count: 105


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,926
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Movie Info

More than two decades after catapulting to stardom with The Princess Bride, an aging actress (Robin Wright, playing a version of herself) decides to take her final job: preserving her digital likeness for a future Hollywood. Through a deal brokered by her loyal, longtime agent (Harvey Keitel) and the head of Miramount Studios (Danny Huston), her alias will be controlled by the studio, and will star in any film they want with no restrictions. In return, she receives healthy compensation so she can care for her ailing son and her digitized character will stay forever young. Twenty years later, under the creative vision of the studio's head animator (Jon Hamm), Wright's digital double rises to immortal stardom. With her contract expiring, she is invited to take part in "The Congress" convention as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema. (C) Drafthouse


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Critic Reviews for The Congress

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (77) | Rotten (28)

  • The weighty ideas are welcome, but Folman dumps them on us in bucketfuls of alphabet soup.

    Dec 3, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The anger drains out of the picture, and we watch in a state of passive appreciation and indifference.

    Sep 5, 2014 | Full Review…

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic
  • An acquired taste, this dense Jabberwocky-ish word salad is a political allegory about a populace that's been pharmaceutically duped into believing its wretched world is wonderful.

    Sep 4, 2014 | Full Review…
  • A half-live-action, half-animated headtrip that throws Robin Wright into a dizzying showbiz paradigm shift.

    Sep 4, 2014 | Full Review…

    Tom Russo

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • A dystopian blend of live-action and animation that acidly comments on some of Hollywood's touchiest issues before drifting off into an existential fog.

    Sep 3, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It's almost painful to watch the immense promise of "The Congress," Ari Folman's spectacularly ambitious experiment, dissipate into nothing.

    Sep 3, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Congress

  • Feb 02, 2016
    A totally unique piece that capitalizes on an extensive history of scifi staples, including the book it's based on. This is a perfect film for cinephiles who have an affinity for the surreal and fantastic.
    _kelly . Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2015
    The Congress strikes me as a film that may well gain an appreciation in years to come. One can tell that a high level of competence and creative ambition went into making the film. The product is substantial and needs more than one viewing to fully digest. I have seen it once, I think it works, and will likely requeue it at some point. Fans of the fantastical, intellectual, and mysterious should definitely give The Congress a view.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 09, 2014
    The film has some great and original concepts about the future of imagery and society but doesn't really develop them or the characters clearly enough . . . honestly for this to have worked and be truly immersive, the whole thing would need to be around 4 hours long.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2014
    In "The Congress," the actress Robin Wright lives on the edge of nowhere and an airport with her two teenaged children, Sarah(Sami Gayle) and Aaron(Kodi Smit-McPhee). Excited to get an offer of any sort, she travels with her longtime agent, Al(Harvey Keitel), to meet with Jeff Green(Danny Huston), the chief of Miramount Studios. It turns out to be something totally different from what she was expecting. Namely, as Jeff puts it, it is to be scanned into a computer, and as he puts it the last deal she will ever make. She declines it flat. But then realizing how much care Aaron will require as he is slowly going deaf and blind, she agrees, with a few conditions. "The Congress" is a movie about transitions, willing and not, that only begins with this possibly being a transition for director Ari Folman towards live action fiction movies. As far as this being about a transition for Robin Wright, this movie serves as a critical exploration of the difficulty actresses finding work as they get older.(Jeff Green scoffs as Robin's leaving porn off the list. "At her age?" You'd be surprised...) That's only the beginning as "The Congress," criticizing other science fiction movies as dumb, does the one thing that all decent science fiction movies should be in being about ideas, namely how technology does not always spur on creativity, with hand drawn animation being a prime example used while never forgetting the human element involved. Yes, some of that can be filed under a narrative stretch, but the occasional spectacular imagery makes up for that, not only the animation but also the former hangar and the scanning scene.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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