Universal acclaim - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Oct 31, 2012
    With marvelous discipline, Mr. Shapiro crams a wealth of material into a tight 77 minutes, smoothly communicating the group effort required to achieve the perfect shot.
  2. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Mar 7, 2013
    It is a rare thing to witness the creative process. But in the excellent new documentary Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, filmmaker Ben Shapiro gives us fly-on-the-wall access over a 10-year period to an acclaimed artist as he envisions, designs and executes his surreal commentary on small-town American life in the form of an epic photo installation, "Beneath the Roses."
  3. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Oct 31, 2012
    Brief Encounters reps a must-see for art lovers.
  4. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Oct 31, 2012
    Creepy doesn't begin to describe these masterworks of control freakery, nor does beautiful - they look as if they're glowing from the inside out, even as Crewdson's scenes of furtive common people make viewers feel like voyeurs.
  5. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Nov 1, 2012
    These elisions give an odd feeling to a film so long in the making. Crewdson's work ultimately begins to seem less enigmatic than he is himself.
  6. Reviewed by: Sebastian Smee
    Nov 15, 2012
    Crewdson's work is distinctive, and this film does a great job helping us understand the specific nature of his vision.
  7. Reviewed by: Ela Bittencourt
    Oct 31, 2012
    Brief Encounters is great entertainment.
  8. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Oct 31, 2012
    Crewdson and others (including Russell Banks and Laurie Simmons) speak eloquently about his project, but it's the on-set agonies - to achieve the fleeting expression here, dark kiss of light there, and the peculiar relief they bring our maestro - that fascinate.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Mar 18, 2014
    Looking at the other user reviews for this film, I can see both sides. If you are not interested in the guy's photography, it will be an ordeal. I too get the impression that the photos' content is obsessively dedicated to overly enigmatic and possibly prurient imagery. But if you accept that as part of the art shown, this is a fascinating documentation to a a successful artist's craft and astounding dedication to his work. And even if the images don't appeal to you, are derivative or upsetting, there's a lot of mastery of color and lighting on display, which is admirable in any case. To watch these qualities created for the elaborate photo sets this man orchestrates is entertaining and instructive. Full Review »
  2. Aug 17, 2013
    A beautiful documentary that takes the viewer through the thought process of a brilliant mind. Gregory Crewdson is an exceptional artist and this documentary tells the story of each of his works which in turn have their own stories to tell. A must watch! Full Review »
  3. Jul 17, 2013
    87!?! I guess you can't expect film critics to be good photography critics. This film should be renamed close encounters of the worst kind. The artist tips his hat to Edward Hopper and David Lynch yes yes, but noticeably Jeff Wall goes unmentioned, maybe because acknowledging this would be admitting that his techniques are as derivative as his content.

    After you look beyond the tired and the cheesy surrealist gambits all you will find here is a super-sized serving of poverty porn, processing and straight jacket-ing its underclass subjects into a romanticize catatonic state. The overlong film does succeed in proving that brief encounters are the best kind when it comes to these photos.
    Full Review »