Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 15
  2. Negative: 3 out of 15
Watch On
  1. 25
    Apprently novice filmmaker Angela Ismailos' definition of a Great Director is one who's willing to sit or walk with her while she lobs innocuous questions and gives herself lots of awed close-up reaction shots.
  2. Despite the title, Ismailos' documentary is not a study of what constitutes great direction. Rather it's a nicely arranged film in which a variety of filmmakers Ismailos likes discuss their inspirations and influences.
  3. Movie actors are notoriously inarticulate about their craft, but what about movie directors? If the documentary Great Dir­ectors is any indication, the returns are a bit more promising.
  4. It shouldn't be surprising, but some of these directors are more interesting than their work. French director Breillat, never a personal favorite, is an absolutely hypnotic speaker who holds the screen the way her films rarely have.
  5. 38
    Rarely have clips from so many good and great movies been put to such dull use.
  6. To eavesdrop on Bernardo Bertolucci, Stephen Frears, Ken Loach and John Sayles, as they talk politics; David Lynch and Todd Haynes, discussing inspiration; and Catherine Breillat, Agnès Varda, Richard Linklater and Liliana Cavani as they riff on controversy and aspiration, even for a little while, is a real treat.
  7. Her (Angela Ismailos) generic questions about the politics, economics, and aesthetics of film yield predictably generic responses from her subjects.
  8. As an interrogator Ms. Ismailos is no Torquemada; she lobs softballs that her subjects genially accept.
  9. Her (Angela Ismailos) heart's in the right place, but her subjects' ruminations demand a much larger canvas.
  10. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Some viewers will doubtless argue over Ismailos' choices or balk at her adherence to a romantic single-vision theory of a highly collaborative art. Still, her eclectic pantheon weighs in with entertaining anecdotes and illuminating comments, illustrated with well-chosen samplings of the artists' work.
  11. 20
    Ten interviews with 10 "name" American and European directors--including Todd Haynes, David Lynch, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Catherine Breillat--diced into a documentary as asinine and fawning as its title suggests.
  12. 70
    Though the movie is largely vanilla in its pleasures, film lovers will eat it up.
  13. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    But more often, the film jumps around in dizzying disorganization, illustrating the fact that part of what a director provides to a film is not just vision and leadership, but also, as the word suggests, a narrative direction.
  14. 60
    First time documentarian Angela Ismailos has interviewed ten noteworthy international directors about their art, and then cut them together by skipping back and forth between their voices like an iPod in shuffle mode.
  15. What is most interesting is hearing the directors speak of their work in general, rather than any film in particular.

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