Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic 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. An uncompromising and ultimately chilling look at individual creativity trampled by corporate greed, and its timing could not be more appropriate.
  3. 75
    Kearns' conflict is readable in Kinnear's every word and gesture. His performance is worth cheering.
  4. 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.
  5. Kinnear does what he's done in the past: You underestimate the guy's acting chops, and suddenly, strikingly, he floors you.
  6. An enjoyable way to start the Oscar season.
  7. 75
    It's a smart movie for grownups, an increasingly rare commodity.
  8. That movie is not half bad, either. The trial, by comparison, will feel familiar to anyone who has ever watched any David take on any corporate Goliath before a court of law ("Erin Brockovich," "A Civil Action," etc., etc.).
  9. The individual components of director Marc Abraham's David-and-Goliath drama are roundly unexceptional; the script, soft and teach-y; the performances, earnest.
  10. 63
    The flaws of Flash of Genius are worth putting up with for Kinnear's committed performance.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    The courtroom scenes emphasize the movie's potency as a David and Goliath saga. But the film's strength lies in its fact-based story of a wronged man turned crusader, played with vigor by Kinnear.
  12. 63
    In short, Flash of Genius fails to make viewers care with any depth about the story it's telling.
  13. The problem with Flash of Genius is that a windshield wiper is an awfully thin mechanism on which to hang a feature movie.
  14. It's not a lightning show, but "Flash" still shines.
  15. 58
    No matter how noble, not everyone's life should be made into a movie.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Brunette
    50
    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.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    50
    The problem with Flash of Genius isn't that the subject is dull but that the movie is.
  18. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    50
    Maybe he was a sucker, but it was his belief in the fundamental decency of American institutions that made his struggle for redemption so winning, much more so than the movie that was made to honor it.
  19. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    50
    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.
  20. It has the tone and texture of a well-made but forgettable television movie.
  21. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    Moderately inspiring in the way such true-life stories of "the indomitable human spirit" are always constructed to be.
  22. The cast is excellent--especially Kinnear, who's perfected his wounded everyman persona--and Marc Abraham's direction is elegant and understated. But their work is seriously undermined by the skeletal script.
  23. 40
    The role is ill-suited for Kinnear's talents. Abraham's pacing is glacial, the cinematography is flat, the score by Jill Savitt is suited better to a supermarket and then there's the fact that the climax can be seen coming a mile away. Maybe the biggest, though, is its failure to play fair with the audience.
  24. Mr. Kinnear is fine; he's an actor we always like, and he gives a skillful, heartfelt performance. The problem is the material -- dramatic in the describing but painfully predictable in the telling.
  25. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    20
    Greg Kinnear, usually kinetic, is unusually (and unbearably) dull.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Oct 4, 2011
    7
    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. Full Review »
  2. AdamL.
    Feb 10, 2009
    9
    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. Full Review »
  3. BobW
    Oct 9, 2008
    8
    Not flashy, but an engrossing story with good performances. Literate, simple, and enjoyable.