Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 65 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 19
  2. Negative: 2 out of 19
  1. 100
    Stimulating entertainment, as rigorously challenging and painfully funny as anything the Coens have done. But it's necessary to meet the Coens halfway. If you don't, Barton Fink is an empty exercise that will bore you breathless. If you do, it's a comic nightmare that will stir your imagination like no film in years.
  2. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Creepily beautiful, acted with relish, Barton Fink is a savagely original work. It lodges in your head like a hatchet. [26 Aug 1991]
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Scene after scene is filled with a ferocious strength and humor. Michael Lerner's performance as a Mayer-like studio overlord is sensational.
  4. Very competently mounted and acted (there are also juicy parts for Judy Davis, Tony Shalhoub, and Jon Polito), this is basically a midnight-movie gross-out in Sunday-afternoon art-house clothing--an intriguing novelty that revels in effect while oozing with cryptic signifiers.
  5. Barton Fink has an atmosphere of languid comic anxiety (it's like a cross between "Eraserhead" and "Angel Heart"), and it's fun to watch, if only because you have no idea what's coming next.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    [The Coens] are therefore entitled to patience, respect and, yes, perhaps a special gratitude for this movie, which never once compromises its fundamentally unpromising yet courageously aspiring nature. [26 Aug 1991]
  7. 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]

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. May 5, 2012
    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. Expand
  2. MikeG
    Dec 1, 2006
    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
  3. Aug 27, 2010
    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. Collapse
  4. Dec 15, 2012
    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 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
  5. Aug 1, 2013
    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. Expand
  6. Nov 1, 2013
    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. Expand

See all 14 User Reviews