Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    90
    The best thing the filmmakers did was to pull a cast out of the stage productions. Importantly, the actors convey a sense of history and comfort with each other.
  2. One reason the film version of Terrence McNally's play Love! Valour! Compassion! is so moving is that this complicated group portrait never loses its slippery emotional footing.
  3. 80
    Yet the pride and sympathy McNally brings to his characters reminds us how far gay film has progressed from the long, self-lacerating whine of "The Boys in the Band".
  4. 80
    While director Joe Mantello (who also helmed the stage production) often uses the opened-up space of the movie well, he doesn't always avoid some of the common pitfalls that come with adapting plays.
  5. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    80
    It is so sharply written and entertaining that in its stage-to-screen transfer the material easily overcomes its theatrical sensibility and the static direction of Joe Mantello, who also staged the Broadway production.
  6. 75
    Yet Love! Valour! Compassion! has power and insight, and perhaps what makes it strong is its disinterest in technical experiments: It is about characters and dialogue, expressed through good acting--the very definition of the "well-made play."
  7. There are endearing and powerful moments which thankfully overshadow the occasional clich├ęd passages.
  8. McNally adapted his Tony-award winning play for the screen, and for once a movie is an improvement on the stage version.
  9. 75
    It's rare for homosexuals in mainstream motion pictures to be presented as individuals rather than icons; Love! Valour! Compassion! defies tradition by proffering its characters as real people with believable problems.
  10. But the great revelation in this version is the terrific, beautifully controlled work of Alexander -- Seinfeld's most gifted actor, whose recent movie roles have not allowed him to show his range.
  11. Most of the cast (along with director Joe Mantello) have been recruited from the stage play, and they all do a fine job of trimming their performances for the screen.
  12. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    60
    It's all about as white and bourgeois as you can get, but the film does take a few risks, and some actually pay off.
  13. Reviewed by: Giala Murray
    60
    Potentially horribly worthy, or even irritatingly superficial, the film succeeds simply by not trying to be too clever or too intense.
  14. But what McNally, director Joe Mantello and a cast brought straight from the original New York stage production all accomplish is the creation of an honest, clever, poignant work about men who also happen to be gay, rather than a self-conscious polemic about gays who it turns out just happen also to be men.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    50
    Even the nasty zingers here seem tiresomely windy. [16May1997 Pg 02.D]
  16. Yet, the problem goes beyond the film's staginess (although there's plenty of that to go around). It could even have something to do with the delicate difficulties involved in the successful transfer of stage camp to the more intimate level of film.
  17. Candor about homosexuality is now so widely accepted as part of theater-film possibilities that plays and films offering not much more than such candor seem dated. In that sense Love! Valour! Compassion! is an important, if dull, milestone. [09Jun1997 Pg 30]
  18. That this is the first film for director Joe Mantello, who was nominated for a Tony for directing the stage version, may be compounding the problem. But frankly, if someone wanted to do a parody of a gay film like this, it's hard to imagine the sloganeering being much different.
  19. Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    30
    Terrence McNally's Tony Award-winning work has been called "one of the major plays of our time." Moviegoers who aren't stage-struck may wonder, "What's the fuss?"
  20. Love! Valour! Compassion!, an adaptation of Terrence McNally's Tony Award-winning play, which has piano music and exclamation points to spare, is excruciatingly predictable, creatively inane and almost offensive in its depiction of gay characters.

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