An Unreasonable Man


Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24

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Critic Reviews

  1. Nader became famous as a "consumer advocate," but as the thrilling first hour of An Unreasonable Man makes clear, that humdrum bureaucratic term didn't do justice to his courage, his vision.
  2. 100
    Through it all Nader, as ruefully funny as ever, comments on his adventures.
  3. 91
    The film begins like a Frank Capra movie--pure-hearted idealist takes on corporate fat cats against impossible odds and triumphs--but ends like a Shakespearean tragedy.
  4. Skrovan swears that during two years of filming, Nader's only demand was, "Make sure you talk to people who oppose me."
  5. 80
    It's a nice refresher course to remind us how hard Nader has fought for everyday citizens, ultimately saving hundreds of lives in the long run.
  6. 80
    If the film shows that few men are as unreasonable as Ralph Nader, it also shows that few have so succeeded in shaping their world: His legacy of progressive legislation will affect generations to come.
  7. 80
    An entertaining tour of this endearing, infuriating absolutist's life and legacy, guided by talking heads more pro than con, prominent among them the former Nader's Raiders who split over their leader's disastrous insistence that there was no difference worth talking about between Democrats and Republicans, yet retain enormous affection for his wit, integrity and incorruptible sense of mission.
  8. 80
    Nader haters may not be mollified, but An Unreasonable Man, like its subject itself, is a one-stop civics lesson no one should miss.
  9. Naive or wicked, idealist or egomaniac: Nothing in Ralph Nader's character is agreed upon by everyone in this fascinating biography - with one exception. And the title says it all.
  10. 75
    So why does the Democratic Party hate him so much? The answer, as this valuable (if blatantly pro-Nader) documentary makes clear, is hypocrisy.
  11. Reviewed by: Scott Warren
    It may most aptly sum up the who the hell Ralph Nader is and why he insists on creating such a ruckus.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The ‘"unreasonable man" himself is interviewed, too, and he comes across as patient, articulate, and maddeningly uncompromising.
  13. Mantel and Skrovan's documentary astutely reminds us of why we need the world's Naders. It's a reasonable movie about an often admirably unreasonable man.
  14. 75
    A worthy and compelling look at a unique and essentially American figure.
  15. Those who love Nader will appreciate the respect and attention given his career. Yet others, even those for whom the mere sight of Nader's face is enough to cause a spike in blood pressure, will appreciate the film's evenhanded elucidation of Nader's faults.
  16. States straight off that the man's legacy has been tarnished in most of the liberal world's eyes by his being the spoiler of the 2000 presidential election. "It will be engraved on his tombstone," says his friend Phil Donahue.
  17. What makes An Unreasonable Man so compelling is its perfectly fluid line. Simply put, the private Nader and the public Nader are the same: There are no contradictions with which to grapple, no byways to explore.
  18. Editors Alexis Provost and Beth Gallagher cut back and forth between the talking heads so deftly that you have the illusion that Nader is answering his critics in real time in a very lively debate.
  19. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    A basically admiring if critical portrait, documentary by Henriette Mantel and Stephen Skrovan (strangely, both standup comics and TV comedy writer-producers) finds more than enough absorbing material to hold interest through nearly three-hour runtime.
  20. 70
    May indeed induce dizziness, sweating and hot-and-cold flashes among politically minded leftists.
  21. 70
    Though the second half contains the fireworks, it's the film's first hour that is ultimately most memorable. Mantel and Skrovan do a commendable job in covering a lot of territory, mixing pertinent and entertaining archival footage with interviews.
  22. 67
    Irony and unwavering idealism are bound up in this lengthy but instantly engaging and informative documentary.
  23. 60
    Its ideological leanings are evident and unsurprising, but more screen time for Mr. Nader's pre-2000 (or pre-post-2000) adversaries would have made a richer film.
  24. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    The film contends admiringly, and convincingly, that Ralph Nader's authentic sense of outrage is the reason he persists when he can't prevail.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jon
    Apr 2, 2007
    The directors obviously like Ralph Nader, and so do I. They are fair to those who dislike or hate him, but Ralph comes across as the more The directors obviously like Ralph Nader, and so do I. They are fair to those who dislike or hate him, but Ralph comes across as the more reasonable (actually) both in argument and presentation. Ralph is witty and humorous, talks substance and issues, does not descend to invective and ad hominem, and this is pretty much true of his defenders. It's not true of his opponents. They come across as humorless fanatics. Although it's two hours long, I remained engaged and interested throughout. Excellent photography, use of archival film, and editing. Should be seen by all who considiser themselves a citizen. Full Review »
  2. [Anonymous]
    Mar 11, 2007
    A good, at times fascinating, documentary about a bad man. It is well made and flows very well from point to point. It contains crucial A good, at times fascinating, documentary about a bad man. It is well made and flows very well from point to point. It contains crucial background information that most people would not know and it has some priceless interviews. It could use a little more about Bush's stance on Nadar, but all in all, it is a honorable 2007 documentary worth seeing if you have a political mind. 7.4 Full Review »