Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
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  1. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Jun 5, 2014
    Fake Case assumes a certain familiarity with Ai and his work — explored more thoroughly in Alison Klayman's "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry." But as a follow-up and a companion piece to that 2012 documentary, Johnsen's new work is remarkably intimate and astute.
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    May 15, 2014
    Mr. Johnsen offers viewers the challenge and pleasure of an important artist’s company, and a chance to appreciate anew his wisdom, his wit and his bravery.
  3. Reviewed by: Graham Fuller
    May 15, 2014
    China’s government can’t handle dissident artist Ai Weiwei. He turns every move to suppress him into brilliant conceptual art.
  4. Reviewed by: Andrew Lapin
    May 14, 2014
    In Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case, a fascinating, essential marker in the ongoing saga of his exploits, the government fights Weiwei with artificial law to maintain an illusion of total control, fueling its target’s heroic persona in the process.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Nov 25, 2013
    With the aid of Johnsen’s doc to overcome the obstacles China has put in his path, Ai’s voice carries louder than ever before.
  6. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    May 17, 2014
    The clever and defiant Ai, who is forever filming himself and others on his phone, does in one instance capture Johnsen on camera, but mainly the doc is missing any explanation of how a dissident forbidden from giving interviews agreed to it – as well as much context about his personal life.
  7. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    May 16, 2014
    Watching him regain his confidence, sense of self and the rebellious spirit that defined him gives "The Fake Case" an unexpected and exciting feeling of momentum and, eventually, tension.
  8. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    May 14, 2014
    It’s curious that The Fake Case works best as a dark comedy, with one particularly memorable scene finding Ai sneaking up on a couple of newlyweds as they have their wedding photos taken and snapping a few of his own.
  9. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 25, 2013
    While Johnsen competently follows Ai over the course of more than a year of contemplation and anger, "The Fake Case" doesn't introduce anything new to the equation, and mainly succeeds by virtue of its subject's inherent appeal.
  10. Reviewed by: Neil Young
    May 15, 2014
    Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case is a professional, straightforward example of the behind-the-headlines sub-genre, executed in slick high-toned digital video and eschewing the soundtrack music so ubiquitous in documentaries nowadays.
  11. Reviewed by: Zachary Wigon
    May 13, 2014
    With such a compelling central figure it would be tough for the doc to not stimulate, but stimulation aside, its rather shapeless narrative can feel desultory.
  12. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jul 4, 2014
    The absence of legal details makes the movie something of a cheat. It offers few insights about the case from the official side, let alone about the machinations of Ai’s legal team.
  13. Reviewed by: Kenneth Baker
    May 26, 2014
    Will serve mainly to reassure his countless admirers that Ai has recovered his defiance and ingenuity: a heartening message, but one that may be lost on those still unacquainted with his true case against the Chinese state.

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