Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (20)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (8)
| Rotten (12)
She is an enigma and her rise to success a mirror of self-delusional hokum that should make us pause in reflection.
A film that is simultaneously too much and nothing at all because it's jumping around so much narratively.
Murray O'Hair was a force of nature, and Leo captures her formidable bluster, along with flashes of vulnerability contrasting with the stern certainty of her public appearances.
[The film] makes it abundantly clear that Madalyn Murray O'Hair was a riveting human being whose story is worth telling in our messed up times, but the film never has the slightest idea of what that story might be about.
The fiery breadth of the woman's life as a professional poke in religious America's eye is missing from this narrow, ineffectual offering, which presents itself as true-crime saga and bad-mommy soap opera more than a portrait of a complicated individual.
Thanks to a tasty take-no-prisoners lead performance by Melissa Leo, it can ... be a lot of fun, even if the Netflix original film's dramatic dividends prove less satisfying.
Stories based on a true story often face the detriment of audiences knowing how it's all going to end. That will certainly be the case for many with The Most Hated Woman in America.
The Most Hated Woman in America has bite. It just doesn't land each of its targets.
After this biopic, it is hopeful that one will take away a new understanding or, dare I say, sympathy, for the woman who singlehandedly changed America... for better or for worse.
People will watch it under the guise that it's high quality drama - recommended if you like The Departed or No Country for Old Men - and they'll walk away feeling like they just did a homework assignment on religious freedom.
While certainly set up to be a home run with its cast and director, the film never really finds its own voice.
It doesn't quite succeed in emulating its influences, but it does effectively tell the story of a woman who deserves to be remembered.
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