The Disaster Artist

Critics Consensus

Oh, hai Mark. The Disaster Artist is a surprisingly poignant and charming movie-about-a-movie that explores the creative process with unexpected delicacy.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 328

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,757
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Movie Info

The real life story of writer/director Tommy Wiseau, the man behind what is often referred to as "The Citizen Kane of Bad Movies," The Room, is brought to life, chronicling the odd film's troubled development and eventual cult success.

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Critic Reviews for The Disaster Artist

All Critics (328) | Top Critics (49)

  • Funny -- sometimes brutally -- and surprisingly touching, it works whether you've seen the source material or not, though there are plentiful shout-outs to die-hard fans.

    Dec 10, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Wiseau also makes a pretty good avatar for Franco himself: a mercurial, relentless performer whose ambition encompasses a thrilling willingness to crash and burn. And it's that identification that makes the comedy work here: Franco kids because he loves.

    Dec 8, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • "The Disaster Artist" is a sweet, emotionally engaging tribute to friendship, the movies and the importance of dreams.

    Dec 8, 2017 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • Wiseau, The Room and the making of a celluloid catastrophe are the subjects of The Disaster Artist, a fabulous, strange and frequently hilarious comedy-drama from the self-styled polymath James Franco.

    Dec 7, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Franco delivers a comedy that's delightfully offbeat. It probably helps if you've actually seen "The Room," but you can safely spare yourself that experience.

    Dec 7, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • [James] Franco has not just made a really sharp, funny movie about movie making. He's also made a layered and intimate portrait of a friendship with his own brother, Dave Franco.

    Dec 7, 2017 | Full Review…

    Bob Mondello

    NPR
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Disaster Artist

  • Dec 08, 2018
    I loved this film to bits, everything: the cast (especially James Franco, who excelled in his role), the story, the music... What's not to like this about this amazing movie!?
    Serge E Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2018
    Tommy Wiseau, writer and director of The Room (for those of you who are unaware and, if you're watching this movie, how the fuck can you be unaware), has always been something of an enigma to me. And, apparently, including Greg Sestero himself, his partner in the creating and making of The Room. Ever since I heard of the book that this movie is based on, which I found out about after watching the movie the book details, naturally, I've always wanted to read it, but I just never got around to it for one reason or another. Having said that, I know roughly the basics of why Wiseau is such a puzzling and mysterious figure to the people that know him. First of all, nobody knows where he's from and his accent is really difficult to pinpoint. Secondly, nobody knows how old he actually is, even as he tries to portray himself to be in his 20s in order to make it easier for him to be cast in films. Thirdly, Tommy is a millionaire and he financed The Room entirely by himself. He spent something like $6 million on the making of the movie and nobody knows where he made his money from. All of these secrets are known only to Tommy himself and he's not saying anything and it is likely that he never will. That's why I feel that, to me, Tommy Wiseau, as a human being, is infinitely more interesting than the Kardashians, as an example, because there's just something about him that compels you to want to know more about him and why he is the way he is. Yes, The Room was awful and Tommy Wiseau certainly is no James Dean (which was a big influence on him, even down to ripping off the 'you're tearing me apart' line from Rebel Without a Cause for The Room, in its most infamous scene), but he is someone that you can't help but look at whenever you see him. So I feel that as much as this movie is about the making of The Room, it's also about Tommy Wiseau and what makes him the person he is. I'll be honest, The Room is probably the worst movie I've ever seen, but it's also the most fun I've had watching a bad movie. I remember live-tweeting when I was watching it (and I watched it alone) and it was a fucking blast. Anyway, let's move on to this flick, shall we? I think there's something to be said about making a borderline great movie on the making of one of the worst movies ever made. You could make the argument that Tim Burton's Ed Wood did the same for, umm, Ed Wood. Regardless, while Wiseau hasn't gone on to make as many films as Wood, the parallels between the two cannot be denied. The reason I say this is that, despite the fact that both are recognized as awful filmmakers, is that their passion for their craft is undeniable. That's why I've always felt that, at least in the case of Ed Wood, that he'll be more fondly remembered than, say, someone like Michael Bay. Because, at the very least, Ed Wood's films were labors of love and hard work, whereas Michael Bay films are mechanical and sanitized, with no soul. I don't know if I can say the same about Wiseau, but in spite of everything he puts his crew through during the making of The Room, you can feel that he is passionate about his movie and, in his mind, he wants to make the greatest film anybody's ever seen. First things first, it should be noted that James Franco is spot-on as Wiseau, like just absolutely pitch perfect. You notice this in the side-by-side scenes of the actual movie versus Franco's recreated version. Prior to being shown this, I was like 'damn, Franco is doing a great job at capturing Tommy's essence'. But then you see the side-by-side scenes and Franco absolutely nails Tommy's voice, mannerisms, laughter, body language, everything. So, to me, Franco gets an A+++ for his performance. Dave Franco also does a great job as Greg Sestero, but, to be fair, Dave doesn't actually go attempt to capture his essence as far as voice and mannerisms are concerned, but he's still puts in a great performance as Sestero, since he struggles with remaining loyal to Tommy (who took him in, gave him a place to stay in LA and, generally, just became his best friend). You could make the argument that the movie is very much a bromance between Tommy and Greg, since Tommy, once Greg finds himself a girlfriend, feels like Greg betrayed him, as everyone has. This is an interesting dynamic because, to me, I feel it reveals more about why Tommy is the way he is. There a darker undertones here about Tommy's past and whatever may have happened in the past that made him feel like everyone, from his crew, to his actors, to even his best friend have all betrayed him and his vision of what he wanted The Room to be. But at the same time, and this is one of the many things I like about this movie, is the fact that it's a movie about pursuing your dreams, no matter how many people close the door on you. One of the things that the movie impresses upon you right from the very beginning, and this was something that I never thought about, was how much courage it took for Tommy to have the confidence to get in front of people, in these acting classes, and attempt to do A Streetcar Named Desire in front of people. Obviously, there's some sense of delusion in Tommy, but he's got the courage to get in front of people and pour his heart out, even if they're bound to laugh at how bad he is, his physical appearance and/or his accent (which, in one of the running jokes of the movie, he says is from New Orleans). Like I said, there's obviously some delusion in Tommy, but, like I said, there's a lot of courage in putting yourself out there the way Tommy has. And that's something that he instills in Greg when they first meet, when Greg just cannot get out of his shell. Tommy and Greg, after moving to LA, have struggled immensely to get booked for acting gigs. Pretty much everyone they audition for slams the figurative door on them, which leads to a meeting between Greg and Tommy on the roof of Tommy's apartment. This is when Tommy decides, after being spurred on by something Greg said, to make a movie of their own. And that's how The Room, or at least this film's version of events, came to fruition. I'll be honest, I felt that the movie just fell short of being great, just by like like a hair. And I don't know really know why it fell just short of that, but it did. Regardless, the filming of the movie itself was completely fascinating. The reason I say this is that, if I went back in time and was able to be on set for this movie, I feel like, even with how terrible the movie is, I feel like I would still learn so much about filmmaking. Mostly I would learn what NOT to do, but still. I just wish there was extensive behind-the-scenes footage of the making of The Room, because that would really just be fantastic to see. I do not know if the making of The Room, as it is portrayed here and in the book, is how it really happened, but I'm certain there's a lot of truth behind Tommy antagonizing his own crew. Real-life Wiseau claims that he replaced the crew of the movie four times, which the movie doesn't show. I mean they do show that he gets rid of the DP and the script supervisor, but that's it. Regardless, Tommy's dictatorial style of directing (comparing himself to Hitchcock and Kubrick) forced a wedge in between Greg and Tommy, who didn't speak in the months leading up to the premiere of the movie. The movie's version of events differ from those of real life, as Tommy and Greg didn't really speak because Tommy was busy with post-production and marketing. Regardless, I suppose it makes more narrative sense for a more forceful wedge between the two, as a result of how Tommy treated his cast and crew. This brings us to the conclusion of the movie, where Tommy finally presents his creation to the world, through its premiere in this one theater in LA (title cards explain that he paid to keep in that theater for two weeks in order to qualify for the Academy Awards). Anyway, the premiere does not go as planned as people, unlike what Tommy intended, laugh uproariously at the movie and how bad it is. They end up giving it a standing ovation and chant Tommy's name. This, of course, is meant to be a more inspirational ending since the original movie didn't become a cult classic overnight, it took time for it to reach that level. But the ending is effective in that, while the reaction to his movie may not have been the one that he intended, he made people laugh and smile and, really, that's just as important. Real-life Wiseau has attempted to change the narrative in saying that he intended it to be a comedy, but it's impossible. He's clearly just going with the flow and, in a way, I can respect that. No matter what you say about Wiseau, about his acting/writing/directing abilities (or lack thereof), he achieved some sort of fame and notoriety in his own way. He didn't fit the Hollywood mold, so he created his own mold and, in his own way, he has gone on to become a success. The ending is really cool, because it shows people, at midnight screenings, reacting to the movie and it's surprisingly sweet seeing how many people, regardless if it wasn't intended to be a comedy, continue to be entertained by The Room, even over a decade and a half after its release. Midnight screenings for The Room look like a blast and, honestly, I'd love to go to one of them some day. So yea, I really liked this movie a lot. The movie isn't afraid to give you the good and the bad of Wiseau, that's what gives him so much believability as a character. Even with all of the bad of Wiseau and how he acts during the filming of the movie, in a way, as i mentioned, you gain a lot of respect for him. More respect that you might have had prior to watching the movie. And, to top it off, this is a very good movie to boot. A poignant love letter not only to the movie it portrays the making of, but to the creative arts in general and chasing after your dreams regardless of what people tell you that you can or cannot do. I would easily recommend this movie, I think fans of The Room that may not have read the book it is based on (like myself) will greatly enjoy it and find its added context completely fascinating. Hell, even people who might not have seen the movie, just know about it by reputation, will enjoy it. It's that good of a movie.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2018
    James Franco embodies Tommy Wiseau with an incredible, shocking resemblance (even when he laughs), creating an excellent dramatic comedy that is not only hilarious as it explores the character's idiosyncrasies but is also surprisingly touching in the way it makes us feel for him.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 14, 2018
    Occasionally fun and even interesting for stretches but this mostly feels like a missed opportunity. The movie ultimately reinforces rather than deconstructs Wiseau's mystique and even when it appears to be taking him to task for his terrible behavior it still puts the focus back on his unexplainable friendship with Sestero. I think if this was made by someone who loves "The Room" a little less and didn't involve Wiseau at all "The Disaster Artist" might have been as good as everyone thinks it is.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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