Tom Jones - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Tom Jones Reviews

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½ September 18, 2017
While historical, it does not embrace Shakespeare. It has energy, simple characters, great humour and a comprehensive story. This movie was ahead of its time, and therefore can find its place here and now.
½ August 25, 2017
Having watched every film that ever won the Academy Award for best film, I can honestly say this one is the worst. The story line is ridiculous, full of unlikeable characters and silly music. How this film beat out two American epics - How The West Was Won and Cleopatra - and Sidney Portier's Lilies of the Field, is baffling.
August 5, 2017
6 out of 10:

Silly, irreverent, and relies way to much on the jokes, but it's still got great cinematography, gorgeous sets and costumes, and some solid performances.
April 14, 2017
"Pure cinema" is what Hitchcock defined as a silent film with sound. Tom Jones is that. It's funny and excellent beyond belief.
March 5, 2017
I understand why it won Best Picture (no serious competition), but this movie did not age well. It was not funny and way too long.
February 28, 2017
Just obnoxious to watch.
½ February 16, 2017
While it's humor is undoubtably dated, Tom Jones gets by with surprising wit and the clever inversion of the "comedy of manners" genre into a sex comedy.
½ January 26, 2017
Country England, early 1700s. Squire Allworthy, a wealthy landowner, adopts a baby whose mother is a servant in his house and whose father is unknown. That baby is Tom Jones. Many years later and Tom is now a young, handsome man. He has a lust for life, and for Molly Seagrim, the gamekeeper's daughter. She, however, is now pregnant and the father could be anyone, including Tom. Tom's affections are now directed towards Sophie Western, the daughter of the neighbouring landowner. They fall in love, but her father won't have a bar of the relationship. Tom ends up banished from the estate. He sets off for London. Many adventures and much drama await him.

Started well. There was a lightness and exuberance to the film that carried it along and it had the potential to be a great comedic look at the lives of the landed gentry. I kept waiting for it to click into top gear and let the humour flow.

Yet it never really came. The set up was often there but the writer and director pulled their punches. From a point it just degenerated into silly farce, Carry On-like.

It has its moments but these are few and far between. These moments do serve to remind you how good the movie could have been. They also make the movie quite uneven, as you have these highs, making you think that the film has at last kicked up a notch, only to go back to the mediocrity that came before.

Somehow this movie won the Best Picture Oscar in 1964. Must have been a lean year for good movies and, looking at the other contenders, clearly it was.
December 11, 2016
I couldn't picture Albert Finney playing Tom Jones until I saw this, and he completely won me over as the lovable scoundrel. In places, the visuals and tone of the film feel completely authentic. Other moments, particularly the uber-British irreverent scenes breaking the fourth wall, have the effect of ruining the illusion. Some restraint should have been employed. This might have been the first use of the headache-inducing shaky cam technique (which also has the effect of pulling you out of the film), making this Finney and Paul Greengrass's first collaboration before the Jason Bourne movies. Overall, though, Tom Jones has all the essential elements of Henry Fielding's novel and brings it to life artistically.
April 25, 2016
How on earth did Tom Jones win the Academy Award for Best Picture? This movie plays out like a silly, second-rate BBC sitcom, and it came out the same year as such iconic films as The Great Escape, How the West Was Won, Cleopatra, Charade, Bye Bye Birdie, The Birds, Dr. No and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The storytelling is somewhat creative, but the acting is corny, the music is annoying and the pacing is all over the place. It wasn't easy to find this movie, and it's probably because everyone knows Tom Jones is better off being forgotten.
½ April 12, 2016
Simply don't like it.
½ February 23, 2016
A funny, fast, yet highly debaucherous 18th century English tale with no sense of moral direction whatsoever, but still clever with the director's choices of letting it be meta-conscious.
½ October 11, 2015
Tom Jones is bawdy and adventurous to say the least. It had a tendency to be frantic and out of sorts at parts, but Albert Finney's courageous and raffish performance along with old fashioned adventure and colorful visuals makes Tom Jones a fun and entertaining piece of comedy.
June 21, 2015
A fun cute film that oddly won Best Picture. It doesn't feel like a Best Picture but looking at its competitors that year I can see why. Albert Finney, Hugh Griffith, Edith Evans, Diane Cilento, and Joyce Reed are all great in this movie and the costumes, score, writing, production design, art direction, and directing are all great
May 25, 2015
Period drama (boo) crossed with Benny Hill. This could be a saucy version of sense and sensibility. I found Jones to be annoying and couldn't really get into this. It does have it's quirks here and there but other than that it's a bit dull.
May 18, 2015
An irreverent and funny British comedy, maybe could be a little outdated for some viewers, but it still holds its freshness.
December 24, 2014
Definitely frantic, but perhaps it hasn't aged well as Tom Jones's antics just don't induce too many laughs
½ November 25, 2014
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ August 22, 2014
"I'm down here in the campfire light, searchin' for the ghost of Tom Jones." It figures that Bruce Springsteen manages to make a song that is really good even in the studio, and Rage Against the Machine make me not want to think about it, although I shouldn't be thinking about it when discussing this film in the first place, because it's about as old as the career of the Tom Jones we all know and love. Shoot, this may be the Tom Jones we all know and love, because this Tom Jones is also good-looking and charismatic, with a way with the ladies and a lot of energy, although Albert Finney is so white that I don't think he's going to go the way of the real Jones and turn black all of a sudden. Tony Richardson was known for his kitchen sink "realism", but I figured Jones changing races would be somewhere in here as the magical aspect of this story, because in most every other way, this film is pretty much one of those surrealistic adventures that Finney went on and on about in "Big Fish". Man, Finney actually looks like a big fish sometimes these days, but back in the '60s, he was mighty good-looking, although he never really opens up his shirt, like the drawn poster might lead you to believe. I'm sure that bummed Tony Richardson out, but he had to keep up some subtlety about his bisexuality if people were going to respect him back in the '60s. He must have done something right, because this film was a hit, and I can sort of understand, as it is a lot of fun, although there's no getting past its problems.

From a silent film-style prologue and the occasional fourth wall break, to edgy dark humor, biting satire and colorful slapstick, the style to the humor and storytelling is unorthodox and typically effective, but uneven, with too loose a grip on the balance to the stylistic dynamicity for it to feel necessary. The stylistic inconsistency waters down the effectiveness of the humor, although I question if he hits were ever going to keep consistent by their own right, because as riotously funny and fun as this film is on the whole, whichever style it jars into comes with flaws, whether it be the dark humor which gets too awkwardly edgy for comfort, or the satire which lapses in subtlety at time, or the wit which gets too dry to be lively, or the slapstick which gets kind of cheesy, marking a height in the silliness which never really strays too far from storytelling. It's sometimes a little hard to embrace all of this quirk in the context of the telling of this very intentionally romantic and very colorful story, at least once you're faced with a combination of overblown fluff and overblown plot structuring. When I deem the plot structuring overblown, I mean that this film takes a convoluted route by layering on various branches and themes to the narrative, then having the audacity to rush through the development of these excessive aspects in order to exacerbate their feeling forced, and to establish a sense of inconstancy to pacing to accompany a sense of inconsistency to focus. Due to there being an unevenness to the structural pacing of this simultaneously undercooked and convoluted comedy, rushed spots go compensated for by tight aspects, in addition to aspects of excess which extend beyond the overall layering of the narrative, coming in the form of needless, almost repetitious filler which thins what realized focus there is to this disjointed affair into an aimlessness that a film so conceptually reliant on momentum cannot afford to succumb to. I mean, in a lot of ways, this film simply is what it is: an inconsequential affair whose conceptual lack of depth cannot justify a runtime of almost 130 minutes, let alone compensate for missteps in humor, focus and consistency. This film is almost rather forgettable in retrospect, but it is made fairly memorable by its being so fun, even in its musical style.

The film's opening prologue is, not in black-and-white, but still presented in the style of a silent film, complete with dialogue cards and a quirky piano score, by John Addison, which is not abandoned after the opening, though often subdued with beautiful, traditional light classical sensibilities which bring some diversity to this colorful and genuinely unique score, which compliments the fluff and taste of this affair, as surely as Ted Marshall's art direction sells the era, and handsomely. This story is dramatically slim, yet still convolutedly overblown with melodramatic layers and themes whose incorporation doesn't even feel all that realized, thus, there is plenty of unexpected blandness to this plot, but on the whole, even in concept, it is very lively, juggling themes of fluffy romance and adventure with diverse, if uneven humor which encompasses edge, satire and silliness, and holds plenty of potential for entertainment value. Tony Richardson's direction does not fail to draw upon the color of this story concept, at least more consistently than the script, never allowing pacing to fall to blandness, and rarely even allowing it to descend beneath brisk, securing it through anything from a flashy style to some dynamically staged action set pieces. Richardson at least keeps the charm up by working exquisitely with a charismatic cast of talent, each one of whom is assigned a distinguished role which he or she nails through dynamic and thorough charm that ranges from endearing to sparkling, yet is never lost in any performance. The charisma and chemistry between just about every performer featured in this film make for some memorable characters, although the roles would not be so distinguished if they weren't well-drawn in an unevenly structured script. John Osborne's script delivers on more than just colorful, if either over-the-top or thin characterization, also delivering on, say, an uneven comic style, flat spots in humor, and a convoluted, inconsistent plotting structure, that is, when he isn't delivering on some tight and all of the bloating, and whose liveliness goes augmented by generally sharp humor which has enough wit and energy to amuse as frequently chuckle-worthy, and often, well, downright hilarious. This film is so much fun, and outside of entertainment value, it hardly has much going for it, and yet, plenty of style and amusement make the final product a fair one, despite its limitations and missteps.

When the adventure is done, some inconsistencies in style flatten the liveliness about as much as flat spots in humor, questionable themes, and an unevenness to focus and pacing which convolute a story that is still of little consequence, but quirky score work, solid art direction, lively directorial storytelling, across-the-board sparklingly charming performances, and a script full of color and sharp humor manage to make Tony Richardson's "Tom Jones" a fun, if underwhelming pseudo-classic of a romantic period comedy and adventure flick.

2.5/5 - Fair
July 29, 2014
(First and only viewing - 1/25/2011)
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