David Edelstein

David Edelstein is a film critic for New York magazine and for NPR's Fresh Air, and an occasional commentator on film for CBS Sunday Morning. He has also written film criticism for the Village Voice, The New York Post, and Rolling Stone, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times' Arts & Leisure section.

A member of the National Society of Film Critics, he is the author of the play Blaming Mom, and the co-author of Shooting to Kill (with producer Christine Vachon).

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Movie Reviews
12:15 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

The Strange World — And Life — Of 'Mr. Turner'

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 12:48 pm

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12:32 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Depicting An Unstable Era, 'Inherent Vice' Never Jells, But It's Addictive

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12:42 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Prayers And Holy Water Can't Exorcise The Terrifying 'Babadook'

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1:42 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch Lifts Above Biopic Formula In 'Imitation Game'

Keira Knightley, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Allen Leech in The Imitation Game.
Jack English The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 6:25 pm

Major studios once churned out scores of great-person biographical pictures. But now you rarely see them except during awards season. They're prime Oscar bait. The new Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory Of Everything, is a perfect specimen. It's a letdown, finally, but Eddie Redmayne is amazingly tough. He captures the fury inside Hawking's twisted frame.

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12:56 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

'Foxcatcher': A Bloated True-Crime Story Based On Wealthy Heir John du Pont

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1:06 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

In 'Whiplash,' A Young Drummer Plays Till He Bleeds

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1:35 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

'Gone Girl': A Gripping Film That's More Fun Than The Book

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3:32 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

British Coalminers Strike With A Gay Coalition In 'Pride,' A Crowd-Pleaser

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12:47 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

In A Brilliantly Disorienting Film, A Teenager Is 'Starred Up' To An Adult Prison

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1:44 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

In The Irish Film 'Calvary,' A Priest's Crisis Of Faith Is Weirdly Jokey

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 1:57 pm

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3:05 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Sailing Through Space With 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'? Hilarious

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 9:57 am

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DAVID BIANCULLI, BYLINE: This is FRESH AIR. The newest film adaptation of a Marvel comic is "Guardians of the Galaxy," which features five Motley warriors against an armada of space villains. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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12:13 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman Leaves Indelible Bond In 'Most Wanted Man'

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 9:18 am

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Movie Reviews
1:28 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

In A Remarkable Feat, 'Boyhood' Makes Time Visible

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This is FRESH AIR. Our film critic David Edelstein has a review of the new film "Boyhood." It was written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also made the movies, "Slacker," "Dazed And Confused," "School Of Rock," "The Before Sunrise" Trilogy and "Bernie." "Boyhood" covers a dozen years and was shot over a 12 year period. It stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and newcomer Ellar Coltrane as the boy we watch grow up.

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1:14 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

In Charming Film 'Begin Again,' Music Can Save A Life

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10:58 am
Fri June 27, 2014

In The Mood For Apocalypse? Skip 'Transformers,' See 'Snowpiercer'

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 12:25 pm

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This is FRESH AIR. Opening today, in many theaters, is the fourth in Michael Bay's "Transformer" series, "Transformers 4: Age Of Extinction." It's inspired by the Hasbro toys that turn mostly cars and trucks into robots. Another very different kind of apocalyptic, action movie that rolls out today is "Snowpiercer" by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, who made the acclaimed giant monster film, "The Host." Film critic David Edelstein has these reviews.

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2:00 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

'Jersey Boys' And 'Venus In Fur' Are Just As Intense On Screen

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This is FRESH AIR. Film critic, David Edelstein, reviews two movies based on shows he saw on Broadway - the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons musical, "Jersey Boys," directed for the screen by Clint Eastwood and the David Ives play "Venus In Fur," filmed by Roman Polanski.

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1:58 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

'Obvious Child': A Momentous Film Of Small, Embarrassing Truths

Jenny Slate plays Donna, a standup comic who gets pregnant after sleeping with an earnest, Vermont-bred business student named Max (Jake Lacy).
Courtesy of A24 Films

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 3:33 pm

Obvious Child centers on Donna Stern, an aspiring standup comic in her late 20s who's out of her depth in the grown-up world. After getting smashed and having unprotected sex with a guy she barely knows, Donna discovers she's pregnant and decides to have an abortion. It shouldn't be a particularly earthshaking turn. But in a world of rom-coms like Knocked Up and Juno, in which the heroines make the heartwarming decision to go ahead with their pregnancies, this modest little indie movie feels momentous.

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12:02 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Beautiful Acting Aside, It Isn't Hard To Find Fault In 'Our Stars'

Ansel Elgort (Augustus) and Shailene Woodley (Hazel) star in The Fault in Our Stars, the film adaptation of John Green's bestselling young adult novel about two teens with cancer.
James Bridges Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 2:40 pm

I know people who cried at the trailer of the romantic teen cancer movie The Fault in Our Stars — at the movie they'll need a life preserver to keep from drowning in a flood of tears. Me, I didn't cry, though at times my tear ducts tingled; I was on the verge. The film is a little slick for my taste, too engineered. But it's gently directed by Josh Boone and beautifully acted. Whatever the faults, it's not in the stars.

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11:04 am
Fri May 16, 2014

'Godzilla': A Fire-Breathing Behemoth Returns To The Big Screen

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 2:41 pm

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Since 1954, the fire-breathing behemoth Godzilla has had many incarnations. In the Japanese original he was a thinly disguised symbol of the atom bomb but in later films he would fight other giant monsters and even space aliens. In 1998 there was a poorly received American remake by Roland Emmerich. Now comes another American version at a time when the restored original is also in theaters and available on DVD.

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11:11 am
Fri May 9, 2014

'God's Pocket' Is Horrifying, Humanist And Heartbreaking

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 12:40 pm

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Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his final film roles, stars as Mickey in "God's Pocket," the new movie directed by John Slattery. Slattery is famous for his role as Roger Sterling on TV's "Mad Men" and over the years has directed several episodes of that AMC series. He makes the transition to feature film directing with "God's Pocket" which he and Alex Metcalf adapted from the 1983 novel by Pete Dexter.

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11:04 am
Fri May 2, 2014

'Ida': A Coming-Of-Age Story With An Eerie Luster

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 1:23 pm

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The Polish-born director Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski's is best known for the English-language movie "My Summer of Love," a lesbian coming-of-age film that was a breakthrough for actress Emily Blunt. His new film is called "Ida," spelled I-D-A and centers on an orphan who learns the secret of her past when she's on the brink of becoming a nun. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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12:31 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

In 'Locke,' A Man's Life Unravels En Route To London

Tom Hardy plays the title character in the British film Locke — in which a man's life unravels in the course of a solo drive from Birmingham to London. He's the only person the audience sees in this film, written and directed by Steven Knight.
A24

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 3:11 pm

Locke is a most unusual film. It might not seem so odd as a radio play or even a stage play. The protagonist, his situation — they're fairly conventional. But to do what Locke does as a movie — that takes daring. The film is set in one space at one time. The arc of action is continuous. There is only one character on screen and just the top third of him, a man in a car, southbound on a motorway toward London. His name is Ivan Locke, he's played by Tom Hardy, and he's upending his life in front of your eyes.

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12:52 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Undead Hipsters And An Abstract Alien Star In Two Arty Horror Pics

In Under The Skin, Scarlett Johansson plays an alien who adopts an English accent and cruises Scotland enticing hitchhikers into a darkened building.
Film4

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 1:20 pm

Every so often a high-toned arthouse director dips a toe into the horror genre and the results are uplifting: You realize vampires and space aliens are subjects too rich to be the sole property of schlockmeisters. That's the case with two new arty genre pictures: Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin and Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive — both slow, expressionist, non-narrative, the kind of films that drive some people crazy with boredom and put others in their thrall.

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Movie Reviews
10:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

In 'Noah,' Earth And The Bible Get A Computer-Generated Reboot

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 1:20 pm

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Darren Aronofsky had a surprise hit in 2010 with "Black Swan," which won an Oscar for its star, Natalie Portman. His latest film, "Noah," is a big budget Bible epic based on the story of Noah's Ark. Russell Crowe plays the title character, and the movie also features Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson.

Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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9:13 am
Fri March 21, 2014

'Nymphomaniac': Chasing Sex, But Only On Her Terms

Felicity Gilbert, Shia LaBeouf and Stacy Martin in one of the episodic flashbacks that spin out the story of Nymphomaniac: Volume I.
Christian Geisnaes Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 1:09 pm

Lars von Trier's latest provocation is an episodic sexual epic called Nymphomaniac, which comes in two two-hour parts, or "volumes," though it's basically one movie sliced in half. The thinking must have been, "Who wants four hours of hardcore sex and philosophizing?," and if you say, "Me, me!," I suggest seeing both back to back: It's an art-house orgy!

Should you see it at all? I recommend it guardedly. It's dumb, but in a bold, ambitious way movies mostly aren't these days, especially when there's sex in the equation. And it's funny, sometimes intentionally.

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