True Stories

Critics Consensus

Its kitschy leanings may wear thin on some, but True Stories is a disarmingly big-hearted, dreamy vision of Americana.

78%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 23

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,321

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Movie Info

Talking Heads singer David Byrne plays host to this bizarre patchwork of tabloid-inspired tales, set in the fictional town of Virgil, Texas. Cruising the streets in his cherry-red drop-top, Byrne introduces viewers to the local eccentrics gearing up for the town's 150th anniversary. They include a community leader (Spalding Gray) with a thing for veggies, a woman (Swoosie Kurtz) so lazy she won't leave her bed, a lovelorn country singer (John Goodman) and more!

Cast & Crew

David Byrne
Narrator, Lip-Syncher, Talking Heads singer
Swoosie Kurtz
Miss Rollings
John Goodman
Louis Fyne
Spalding Gray
Earl Culver
Alix Elias
The Cute Woman
David Byrne
Screenwriter
Beth Henley
Screenwriter
Edward R. Pressman
Executive Producer
Edward Lachman
Cinematographer
Caroline Biggerstaff
Film Editor
Barbara Ling
Production Design
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Critic Reviews for True Stories

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (5)

  • This is not a musical. It's a bold attempt to paint a bizarre American landscape. This movie does what some painters try to do: It recasts ordinary images into strange new shapes.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It would be queasily, dishonestly wholesome if it weren't a) so much fun-the surrealist fashion show! "Wild Wild Life"!, and also b) so penetrating, so willing to expose while still giving the benefit of the doubt.

    October 23, 2020 | Full Review…
  • An organic mixture of poetry and irony, tenderness and sharpness, and a sense of the ordinary and the incredible. [Full Review in Spanish]

    April 10, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Byrne brings [his] big-hearted love of the nakedly quotidian to his first directorial effort...

    March 11, 2019 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…
  • What makes True Stories so wildly different from the dream-visions of all the quirky and hip directors who followed its example is its vehement refusal to condescend to or mock the people on screen.

    February 26, 2019 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • The best parts are, not surprisingly, the ample musical interludes. The character vignettes run hot and cold, with many registering as little more than quirky caricatures.

    January 21, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for True Stories

  • Aug 11, 2009
    True Stories is a heartwarming, genuine, sometimes abstract look at the change taking place in Texas (and US in general) during the mid-1980's. David Byrne plays himself (sort of) as the narrator who looks upon the fictional town of Virgil and its odd inhabitants with a sort of child-like wonder as they prepare for their "celebration of specialness" anniversary celebration. Incorporating music from their album of the same name the Talking Heads (Byrne mostly) take us on a wondrously bittersweet adventure that weaves through the extraordinarily ordinary lives of Virgil's town folk. More than just a snapshot of the particular time and place this film captures the essence of American optimism, those intangible dreams and vapid pursuits that we are so fortunate to be able to undertake.
    Brett W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 25, 2008
    A quirky, comic and insightful look at "Americana" through the eyes of one of the musical geniuses of our lifetime, Mr. David Byrne. Sountrack by Talking Heads. What more could you ask for?
    Robert C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 13, 2007
    Quirky is right! Some of it rings of truth. I liked the songs about watching too much television, corporate religions and the kids in a suburban wasteland. The family dinner table communication rituals were bizarre. There is some nice imagery about American oblivion. I felt empty after watching a society so bent, but was never bored. Michael Moore and Christopher Guest probably drew some inspiration from some of this.
    Lafe F Super Reviewer

True Stories Quotes

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