User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21

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  1. Aug 27, 2011
    Powerfully acted and visually appealing.James Franco is spot on as Allen Ginsberg.An interesting way to convey the poem and the man.Howl feels like a documentary and has the soul of a very personal project.
  2. Feb 26, 2011
    What a surprise - a thoughtful, creative and very enjoyable film that even a guy with a limited interest in poetry enjoyed. Yet another example of first-rate talent working outside "the system" and with limited funding yet delivering high quality film-making (Kids are Alright, I Love you Phillip Morris, Crazy Heart). One would never think of James Franco as Allen Ginsberg, talk about taking poetic license, but to me this all worked. The animation of poetry was a terrific plus. Try it! Expand
  3. Jan 9, 2011
    howls movie shows the poets life in intriguing mysteries makes you wonder where are all the poets now overall the movie was a bit lackey in some parts but the imagination in the animation makes realize there is life out there 7/10
  4. Nov 20, 2010
    This is not a biopic about poet Alan Ginsberg, but a cinematic interpretation of the titular poem that caused a stir in the art and legal community. It unfolds in several scenarios: Ginsberg (James Franco) reads the poem to a coffee house crowd, the poem is illustrated through animation, he talks to Time magazine (an interview that was never published), there are highlights from the court case that tried the poem as obscenity and a few glimpses into his relationships. If you're not looking for a straight narrative and appreciate artistic cinema, you might like this. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    Feb 21, 2011
    With a frustrating format and poor animation, it's still worth it for Franco and the chance to engage with a key work of poetry.
  2. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Oct 28, 2010
    Howl mixes a number of story lines and aesthetic approaches: We get glimpses of Ginsberg's early days as a poet, including his relationships with Kerouac and Neal Cassady, as well as a depiction of the trial, where a parade of critics and professors pronounced Ginsberg's creation either a work of genius or irredeemable filth.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Nilsen
    Oct 21, 2010
    This film is a wonderful act of imagination on its own.