Critic Reviews



Based on 15 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
In his debut feature, the director is wise enough to move his hand-held camera wherever Steen wants to go.
Applause may present as gritty European realism, but the struggle inside Thea is almost theological in scale, and worthy of Milton or Kierkegaard.
It is a singular performance and a deeply affecting if imperfect film.
Zandvliet's direction lacks Steen's gradations. The handheld, rubbed-raw style wears thin after a while, growing monotonous and wearying.
A small movie with modest ambitions, and accordingly, it packs only a modest emotional punch.
The Hollywood Reporter
The simple but affecting film begins a weeklong award-qualifying run Friday before opening in stateside art houses Jan. 21, and is worth a look for its gutsy and commanding central performance.
Village Voice
Usually an enervating process to witness onscreen, Steen's subtle calibrations of self-hatred and raging narcissism exhilarate.
Her (Steen) emotional acrobatics are reason enough to sit through Applause's parade of pain, though it's a movie to admire rather than enjoy.
When an actress gives herself as wholly as Ms. Steen does here, a filmmaker should return the favor with a comparable level of craft and commitment, which is largely absent from this movie.
Steen, her face full of remorse, does a great job of portraying someone unclear of where to go or what to say without a script.

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