(2010)

Critic Reviews

63

Metascore

Based on 24 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
75
One of the qualities I like about this film is that the writer-directors, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, are aware of the time when Beat scene was new.
75
Howl mixes a number of story lines and aesthetic approaches: We get glimpses of Ginsberg's early days as a poet, including his relationships with Kerouac and Neal Cassady, as well as a depiction of the trial, where a parade of critics and professors pronounced Ginsberg's creation either a work of genius or irredeemable filth.
75
Epstein and Friedman's doc-like approach also results in a certain dramatic stasis; Howl is a film aimed more for the head than the gut.
75
This multi-pronged labor of love doesn't always work, but it often does, sometimes in ways that take your breath away.
70
What's cinematic experimentation without a few failures in the lab? Maybe that's why Howl is so appealing: The filmmakers don't get everything right but their passion for Ginsberg's genius and their excitement over trying to deconstruction a literary master work is contagious.
70
The result is more fancy than funky, but the directors' aim is true and occasionally hits its mark.
63
It's well-crafted, but I wish the film showed us an additional dimension or two of the central figure, who once said the great challenge in writing, any kind of writing, is "to write the same way you are."
63
I found Howl a fascinating and imaginative evocation of mid-20th-century liberation, a mere and merciful 90 minutes long.
60
A movie with no clear narrative. It pushes boundaries and feels like one man's fever dream. But all those traits would certainly make Allen Ginsberg happy.
50
The result is a film of passion and ambition, but one whose success is intermittent at best.

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