User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 74 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 74
  2. Negative: 1 out of 74
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  1. Nov 1, 2013
    7
    With some truly striking imagery camerawork from Roger Deakins, a characteristically bleak narrative from the Coens, and some thematically rich ideas all throughout, "Barton Fink" slides faultlessly across genres with surprising ease and grace.
  2. Aug 1, 2013
    7
    This is most certainly an odd movie. The acting and directing are predictably good and the plot is interesting for sure. A very cerebral film, this one is most certainly unsettling. Not sure how to react to this one other than; it is definitely a good film that will keep you intrigued throughout.
  3. Dec 15, 2012
    7
    I love the Coen brothers. I will get that out of the way first off. While I didn't love this movie, I did like it quite a bit. This film is full of interesting characters and even more interesting imagery. Like most thoughtful movies it is a lot unravel in written word for wannabe critics like myself. The acting and writing in this movie is first rate, the scenes with Turturro and GoodmanI love the Coen brothers. I will get that out of the way first off. While I didn't love this movie, I did like it quite a bit. This film is full of interesting characters and even more interesting imagery. Like most thoughtful movies it is a lot unravel in written word for wannabe critics like myself. The acting and writing in this movie is first rate, the scenes with Turturro and Goodman are especially entertaining and the highlight of the film. This movie does drag a bit through the first half, and can feel a little like a rip off of The Shining at times. But overall this movie is more than a little interesting, worth more than one viewing and will keep you thinking about its meanings probably for years. Expand
  4. May 5, 2012
    10
    This may be my favorite movie of all time, it is one of the Coen's best movies made. Even though this movie is very difficult to figure out, it works very well and is one of the cone's best. I love the Johns in this movie, they play their role very well. The more I watch this movie the more I fall in love with the movie. The cones are at their best here.
  5. Aug 27, 2010
    9
    Just shows what amazing things the Coen Brothers can do even when they have writer's block. The performances are all top-notch and there's enough symbolic and surrealist glee to leave you scratching at your head for hours, yet everything seems fits nicely in place in the end.
  6. MikeG
    Dec 1, 2006
    10
    Barton Fink is arguably the Coen Brothers masterpiece. Not a single scene is wasted, and that includes the washed out backgrounds, the costumes worn by the characters, and every single bit of juicy dialogue. In a movie filled with awesome supporting performances by John Goodman, Judy Davis, a scene-stealing Michael Lerner and even Tony Shalhoub, John Turturro is the glue that holds this Barton Fink is arguably the Coen Brothers masterpiece. Not a single scene is wasted, and that includes the washed out backgrounds, the costumes worn by the characters, and every single bit of juicy dialogue. In a movie filled with awesome supporting performances by John Goodman, Judy Davis, a scene-stealing Michael Lerner and even Tony Shalhoub, John Turturro is the glue that holds this film together. Some actors fail in Coen Brothers movies because they seem too much like spectators...not in their skin and almost watching the movie with the rest of us. Turturro is perfect - an inhabitant of the insane world he's in but also an interloper at the same time. As mentioned above, the dialogue is all wonderful, crisp, sharp, funny, and meaningful all at once. Watch this movie twice if you don't quite get it the first time...the pay-off is simply incredible. Expand
  7. BennyD
    Dec 16, 2004
    10
    The blackest of black comedies and maybe the ultimate Coen brothers flick. Last time I saw "Fargo" I wasn't that impressed, but this movie is amazing. And, of course, it's not for everyone. If you're not laughing you'll probably walk out of the theater, and if you're laughing you're sick. But this movie has the courage to laugh in the face of Death, embodied The blackest of black comedies and maybe the ultimate Coen brothers flick. Last time I saw "Fargo" I wasn't that impressed, but this movie is amazing. And, of course, it's not for everyone. If you're not laughing you'll probably walk out of the theater, and if you're laughing you're sick. But this movie has the courage to laugh in the face of Death, embodied by somebody who could be Satan or Hitler himself, and if you wanna know what I mean you need to rent "Barton Fink" immediately. Expand
  8. georges.
    Dec 12, 2004
    9
    The sounddesign of this movie is absolutely fabulous. You guys seem to look primarily at the way the story is told, but for this movie, attention should go to the sound. The way the sound is engineerd, very selective and using a lot of silence, is the basis of the good image they give of the writers block. It also adds a lot to the symbols in the movie... hotel hell!
  9. CariS.
    Apr 22, 2004
    10
    Even if one doesn't like this film for the story, one must admit it is a masterpiece technically. The acting is superior, the directing and cinematography fit the mood and storyline like a glove. Everything in this movie makes sense (well..kind of). However, the best part of the film is that one must meet the Coen Bros. halfway. One can't just sit back and watch the story Even if one doesn't like this film for the story, one must admit it is a masterpiece technically. The acting is superior, the directing and cinematography fit the mood and storyline like a glove. Everything in this movie makes sense (well..kind of). However, the best part of the film is that one must meet the Coen Bros. halfway. One can't just sit back and watch the story unfold...one has to analyze and actually THINK about the events and words that are being said. This movie is "simply marvelous," and definitely NOT "for the common man." Expand
  10. PatC.
    Jan 10, 2004
    4
    A story about writer's block. I suspect it was also about how the script was written. Intriguing clear through, but a big so-what at the end.
  11. YoonC.
    Sep 14, 2003
    8
    A dark tale of ambition, self-doubt, and self-deception, it suffers from the Coen Brother's signature self-mocking cleverness that undermines the truly disturbing nature of the movie. But beyond the Coen Brothers usual bag of mannerist tricks, the film gradually climaxes and edges over into a fascinating, subdued realm of psychic horror.
  12. SimonD.
    Jun 26, 2003
    10
    An unjustly forgotten classic from the Coen Brothers, this film remains their surreal masterpeice ahead of later, more popular work. I never understood why this failed to find audience.
  13. PaulaW.
    Aug 17, 2002
    10
    This is the best movie you'll ever see about writer's block, and the Coen brothers' most underrated effort. John Turturro is Barton Fink, a nerdy bespectacled playwright with a penchant for social realism. He somehow finds himself in Hollywood, in a creepy hotel with peeling wallpaper where it seems that the only other humans are Steve Buscemi in a monkey suit (!) and the This is the best movie you'll ever see about writer's block, and the Coen brothers' most underrated effort. John Turturro is Barton Fink, a nerdy bespectacled playwright with a penchant for social realism. He somehow finds himself in Hollywood, in a creepy hotel with peeling wallpaper where it seems that the only other humans are Steve Buscemi in a monkey suit (!) and the jovial traveling salesman played by John Goodman. As Fink struggles with his assignment to write the script for a wrestling picture (which must feature either an orphan or a dog) he comes across a sparse and strange cast of characters, most notably William Faulkner and his toothsome assistant played by the memorable Judy Davis. No other movie captures better the desolation of sitting idle and alone in a shuttered room while the sun blazes outside, although a few (Insomnia, Apocalypse Now) have tried. And if there's anything more powerful than the scene in which a man runs down a burning hallway screaming, "I'll show you the life of the mind! I'll show you the life of the mind! THIS-IS-THE-LIFE-OF-THE-MIIIIND!" I don't know what it is. Do yourself a favor and see this. Expand
  14. MichaelF.
    Jul 14, 2002
    10
    I am a HUGE, die-hard fan of the Coens, first off. This is a typical Coen bros. movie. Turturro and Goodman are amazing as always. It's funny, it's dark. It's one of their best, even though everything they do is incredible, aside from Raising Arizona and Big Lebowski. My favorite Coen film is MILLER'S CROSSING, this is definitley one of my favorites.
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 19
  2. Negative: 2 out of 19
  1. Billed as a comedy, but it could also be billed as a drama, a satire, an allegory, or a film (partially) noir. It wouldn't matter, or help... Not since Robert Altman has any American filmmaker been as overrated as this pair. [30 Sept 1991]
  2. 100
    What "Raising Arizona" was to baby lust, "Barton Fink" is to writer's block -- a rapturously funny, strangely bittersweet, moderately horrifying and, yes, truly apt description of the condition and its symptoms.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    Creepily beautiful, acted with relish, Barton Fink is a savagely original work. It lodges in your head like a hatchet. [26 Aug 1991]