Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 18
  2. Negative: 9 out of 18
  1. Ethan Hawke, in his feature directorial debut, has brought Nicolette Burdette's play to the screen with fluid grace and a perfect blend of dreaminess and grit, expressed in camerawork that seems to float and in Jeff Tweedy's shimmering, gently insistent score.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 3 out of 8
  1. MatthewP
    Apr 26, 2009
    Ethan Hawke obviously has no idea how to make a movie. From the beginning, I feel like I'm watching actors act, not characters in a story. The film rushes me around to several scenes and nothing from any of them sticks (the bad camerawork makes an impression though). Plus everyone is just spouting pseudo-philosophical jargon. Hasn't Hawke taken Creative Writing 101? SHOW, Don't tell...This film actually made me angry. I couldn't finish it. It's the worst movie I've seen in a while. Full Review »
  2. AdamM
    Aug 10, 2007
    I thought that the movie was above avg. It did have a unique plot, but some of the senes were kind of lengthy. I have been by this place on my rollerblades going to the chelsea skate park on the pier. Anyways I like the music and the art keep these movies coming. THANKS. Full Review »
  3. PJ
    Jun 30, 2006
    I don't understand the series of 10's this film earned in the user ratings. If a film like Citizen Kane represents a generally accepted level of supreme fillmmaking, and therefore worthy of a 10, Chelsea Walls is nowhere near that mark. In addition, the notion that anyone giving this film a poor review, is either not very bright or didn't view the film with an open mind, is rather immature. This film was recommended to me by a friend, with whom I share a similar taste in film. So, I went into this expecting to like the Chelsea Walls...but that's not how it turned out. First off, the grainy digital picture and lifeless camerawork make the visuals an absolute chore to take in. The dim interior and exterior lighting doesn't help matters any. As far as the actual performances go, there were a few actors that turned in intermittently compelling performances. However, the amount of time devoted to most of the characters is brief which doesn't allow for much development. Not only were the individual story arcs quite thin, they also failed to interweave in a manner that added anything of value to the plot line. In general, everything about this film seemed very contrived and amateurish. It plays more like a documentary than an ensemble drama. Had this been a documentary chronicling the lives of actual Chelsea residents, I would've been more receptive, and been able to take the characters seriously. Yet, it's a fictional tale of struggling artists pretentiously portrayed by established actors in somber settings. The most pressing question this film raises, is just what the filmmakers were trying to express about the Chelsea and its residents. Apparently, what was once a grand hotel that housed some of histories greatest American artists, is now nothing more than a run-down haven for aimless deadbeats who's personal problems will prevent them from ever making great art. That seemed to be the sentiment of the two cops in the film, and is what makes them, sadly, the only two characters I could really identify with. If I had to describe this film in one word, that word would be "bleak." Full Review »