Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Beth Pinsker
    Who knew that Brat Packer Sheedy would shine as a heroin-addicted photographer who had too much fame too early?
  2. 90
    What makes High Art remarkable is Cholodenko's refusal to put her characters or story through a filter, her unblinking willingness to dive right in.
  3. 88
    So perceptive and mature it makes similar films seem flippant. The performances are on just the right note, scene after scene, for what needs to be done.
  4. Reviewed by:  Peter Rainer
    With more angst than you can shake a stick at, High Art sets a new course for the indie American film. Instead of the usual Scorsese-esque buddy confab, we have something closer to the funky Fassbinder world of marginalized, pansexual depressives.
  5. To their credit, the actors immerse themselves deeply in the film's self-conscious aura. Ms. Sheedy reinvents herself as a tough, fascinating presence, while Ms. Mitchell's earnest bewilderment also serves the story well.
  6. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Compassionate and deft as Cholodenko's helming is, pic's overall impact largely depends on its central triangle.
  7. As storytelling it isn'’t always as clean as it might be, but this 1998 first feature by writer-director Lisa Cholodenko is an interesting debut for its nuanced sense of character and its terrific sex scenes--scenes that actually serve character development for a change.
  8. A work that shellacs itself into your consciousness.
  9. Sensitive acting and imaginative filmmaking help rescue the movie from potential excesses of its own.
  10. Reviewed by: Sandra Contreras
    First-time director Lisa Cholodenko, who has made a powerful and modish film with a subtle and knowing script, is more than ably assisted by a spectacular cast.
  11. 70
    Though High Art has more than a few awkward touches--all the male characters take up less than one dimension, for example--it's otherwise a nicely underplayed, memorable, beautifully filmed movie.
  12. 63
    I suppose High Art is as good a name as any for this pretentious melodrama, an often- diverting but ultimately pointless attempt to wed intellectual twaddle with a soap-opera-ish lesbian romance.
  13. Has a subtle magnetism, and a real human pulse, especially as it concentrates on its two main characters.
  14. 60
    Solid debut effort from Lisa Cholodenko.
  15. It is wonderful to see how Sheedy gives shape to this performance -- her eyes, a photographer's eyes, carefully sizing everything up. [18 June 1998, Daily Notebook, p.E1]
  16. Cholodenko's strategy of having the actors, in every scene -- whether it involves Lucy, the boyfriend or the Frame editors -- perform with an intonational flatness approaching monotone pretentiously undermines the effectiveness of her subject matter.
  17. Reviewed by: Jack Mathews
    High Art is, unfortunately, full of itself and its artistic pretensions.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jun 21, 2014
    There have been almost 4 years since lesbian director/writer Lisa Cholodenko’s mainstream breakthrough dramedy THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (2010, 9/10), and we still have no clue of her follow-up, she might be in a writer’s block, so I root out her 1998 director debut HIGH ART, a post-modern romance between Syd (Mitchell), a greenhorn assistant editor of Frame magazine and a hedonistic former photographer Lucy (Sheedy) in Manhattan.
    read rest of my review on my blog, google cinema omnivore, thanks
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