Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?


Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Nov 19, 2013
    This is a film to see and then see again, to soak in and marvel at and -- like its director -- try to keep up with.
  2. Reviewed by: Charlie Schmidlin
    Nov 20, 2013
    To his credit (and without affectation), Gondry doesn’t cloak the fact that he is often perplexed by his subject. Because of his confusion though, we are able to learn quite a lot.
  3. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 18, 2013
    Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? bears the stamp of Gondry quirk but allows it to feel a lot more intimate than anything he's done since "Eternal Sunshine."
  4. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Nov 21, 2013
    I don't know whether the tall man is happy, but I do know that Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? is intellectually and visually groundbreaking, and most certainly a film.
  5. Reviewed by: Steve Macfarlane
    Nov 18, 2013
    A magnificently quizzical diagram of two ceaselessly inquiring minds in perfect tandem, like a raw X-ray of atomized creativity.
  6. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Dec 12, 2013
    Overall, though, the combination of Gondry’s whimsicality and Chomsky’s stoicism creates fascinating oil-and-water patterns that reveal more the longer they’re contemplated.
  7. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 5, 2013
    Gondry’s illustrations are as fascinating as the chats. Sometimes they look like markers on a napkin. Other times they are reminiscent of something made on the old Lite-Brite toy. They’re always delightful.
  8. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Nov 22, 2013
    Gondry and his frisky hieroglyphs successfully convey Chomsky’s concept of language as the fleeting “meanings we impose on fragmentary experience.”
  9. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Nov 19, 2013
    The point, of course, is to get lost. As the soft-spoken sage himself notes, “The world is a very puzzling place.” What a pleasure it is, the film suggests, to be perpetually befuddled.
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Stamets
    Dec 5, 2013
    A diverting tutorial with this takeaway: “Let’s be puzzled about what seems obvious.”
  11. Reviewed by: David Lewis
    Dec 5, 2013
    Not so much a documentary as a rambling interview, almost all done in animation.
  12. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Nov 25, 2013
    Ever-curious, self-deprecating about occasions in which his fumbling English keeps him from making questions clear, Gondry works with sweet earnestness to understand his subject and convey that understanding to us.
  13. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Nov 21, 2013
    Blissfully unconventional as a documentary and as an intellectual endeavor, Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? won’t tell you everything you’ve always wanted to know about Mr. Chomsky, but its modesty is one of its strengths, along with Mr. Gondry’s entrancing, vibrant illustrations.
  14. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Nov 20, 2013
    Basically, Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? amounts to two men having a mellow discussion about the nature of ideas; it’s formally limited, yet wide-ranging in its material and ambitions. Call it a case of cognitive dissonance.
  15. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Nov 20, 2013
    Even though Gondry and Chomsky’s very different sensibilities don’t mesh in such a way that either man’s work gains substantially from the alliance, they’re each such good company individually that Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? is still entertaining.
  16. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Dec 5, 2013
    The film is probably of interest only to those viewers who, like Gondry himself apparently, already have an obsession with Chomsky.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Dec 11, 2014
    4/5★ Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?
    Noam Chomsky is a man of ideas, and Michel Gondry is a man of images. Combine the two, and with a little
    4/5★ Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?
    Noam Chomsky is a man of ideas, and Michel Gondry is a man of images. Combine the two, and with a little luck something cohesive and thought provoking will happen. ITMWITH? skates the line of confusion, and Gondry's thick accent doesn't help matters, but I was left with new points of view and the feeling that Gondry is the Wes Anderson of documentary filmmaking.

    Verdict: Not mindless entertainment.
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