Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Based on the true story of college professor and part-time inventor Robert Kearns' long battle with the U.S. automobile industry, Flash of Genius tells the tale of one man whose fight to receive recognition for his ingenuity would come at a heavy price. But this determined engineer refused to be silenced, and he took on the corporate titans in a battle that nobody thought he could win. (Universal Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25
  1. 100
    It's exhilarating in an authentic, pathos-streaked way to see Kearns, through Greg Kinnear's inspired characterization of a wary obsessive, representing himself during his trial against Ford Motor Co. for stealing his design.
  2. 75
    It's a smart movie for grownups, an increasingly rare commodity.
  3. 75
    Alda gives the film's strongest performance. Kinnear, often a player of light comedy, does a convincing job of making this quiet, resolute man into a giant slayer.
  4. The problem with Flash of Genius is that a windshield wiper is an awfully thin mechanism on which to hang a feature movie.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Brunette
    It's also solidly constructed throughout and the acting is impeccable. The problem is that it just lumbers along for two solid hours, never rising to any significant emotional or philosophical heights.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Wants so much to be liked, even with its prickly, difficult hero, that it misses the mark of nonobviousness necessary not only for a patent, but also for a thrilling, original work.
  7. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    Greg Kinnear, usually kinetic, is unusually (and unbearably) dull.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. LindaK.
    Oct 8, 2008
    Engrossing throughout. Lots of lovely, subtle things in the setting. The way Greg Kinnear played Kearns, the viewer understood why he could not quit the quest. Alan Alda surprise me because I had type cast him into being a very honorable character instead of a very practical one. Expand
  2. DennisL.
    Oct 7, 2008
    Doesn't deserve the tepid score. Kinnear is very good, the court room scenes are compelling, and the afterglow is quietly strong.
  3. AdamL.
    Feb 10, 2009
    While the film may lack the novelty or high artistry necessary to earn it a "10," the beauty, focus, and superb performances of this movie make it more than worthy of a "9." The lukewarm response of many of the professional critics above is unwarranted. Expand
  4. Fantasy
    Oct 8, 2008
    Good movie not great. GK does another outstanding job. A bit long but otherwise okay with a predictable ending.
  5. Oct 4, 2011
    Its not a movie that stands out in any way and if it was not for Kinear's decent acting (not incredible, but decent), the movie would have done far worse. Kinear definitely carried out his portrayal to make the film believable and there are some other saving performances. The movie makes a visible lifte when Alan Alda makes his appearance. Also on the plus, it was shot well and pacing was acceptable. On the negative side, its predictable and a little too toned down. To quote a character "Let's tone down the language." (against Ford). The movie could have listed the countless other inventors marginalized and by corporations and could have made a much stronger statement. Expand
  6. ChadS.
    Oct 6, 2008
    The intermittent windshield wiper is his Mona Lisa; only one person painted the Mona Lisa. In another century, prior to the Italian Renaissance, Bob Kearns(Greg Kinnear) would have been considered an artist, as the distinction between artisan and artist hadn't been made yet. When Bob invented the intermittent windshield wiper, he did it independently, not by committee. During therapy, the tortured "artist" asks the doctor how'd he feel if another man's name appeared on his published books. This is the sort of question Bob should be asking the team of engineers at Ford, whose labored fruits carry the corporate logo. They're like clusterf***** Hollywood screenwriters at an arbitartion hearing before the Writers Guild of America, who rules against their claim for on-screen credit. When Bob's case is brought up before the court, he's like Arthur C. Clarke trying to get his "patent" on HAL back from MGM Studios. Blind in one eye, due to a honeymoon mishap with an errant champagne cork, Bob sounds like pioneering Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov as he describes the Kearns Blinking Eye Wiper operating under the principles of an eyelid. This inventor was like "The Man with a Cor-ko Eye" in approaching Ford; the maverick trying to woo the establishment, with the naive notion that he wouldn't be co-opted. (If Vertov came to Hollywood and worked with John Ford, he'd try to cut "The Searchers" like "". This Constructivist filmmaker unwittingly predicted the language of the music video.) Despite its winning story about the underdog going after "the man", "Flash of Genius" is hampered by a dramatic inertness as Bob waits for his day at court. Surely, the DaVinci of the pantograph arms(thank you, Wikipedia) attempted to paint another Mona Lisa during the interim, when he wasn't alienating his family and friends. That's the direction "Flash of Genius" should have taken, a dramatization of Bob Kearns' realization that you can't catch lightning in a bottle the second time around. Losing his Tesla girl was tough, losing his invention was tougher, but knowing that he peaked was probably the greatest source of the inventor's angst. Every artist, or artisan, fears this; the loss of creativity, having hot flashes of unimaginativity. Expand
  7. DanielR.
    Oct 3, 2008
    Really?....Really?....A 55? This movie was bad. Simply very bad. It suffers from a sever pacing problem and Kinnear's character is an imbecile who's self destructive behavior only makes this underdog film feel bland. It's hard to feel bad for him when he behaves like such a greedy child. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews