Fine Line Features | Release Date: October 18, 1991
7.8
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 46 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
37
Mixed:
6
Negative:
3
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6
RobertBroganOct 5, 2015
My Own Private Idaho is an interesting mix of acting, directing, setting, and subject matter. It is an interesting watch but the elements don't cohere very well or make for a solid movie. The main problem is that little is done to firstMy Own Private Idaho is an interesting mix of acting, directing, setting, and subject matter. It is an interesting watch but the elements don't cohere very well or make for a solid movie. The main problem is that little is done to first establish an emotional connection to the main character. Because of that, the rest of the film lacks in dramatic impact. Things happen, the film ends, and the impression is that while the film was decent enough, it could have been better. Expand
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10
AngelikiCoconiJun 9, 2012
Very loosely and even more creatively based on Shakespeareâ
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7
HalfwelshmanFeb 16, 2012
My Own Private Idaho is a dark, complex and emotional film journey. It centres on a spellbinding, honest and tender performance from River Phoenix, playing Mike, a young gay street hustler with narcolepsy who goes on a journey across the USA,My Own Private Idaho is a dark, complex and emotional film journey. It centres on a spellbinding, honest and tender performance from River Phoenix, playing Mike, a young gay street hustler with narcolepsy who goes on a journey across the USA, and eventually to Europe, to find his long-lost mother. He is accompanied by his best friend, and object of his unrequited love, Scott (Keanu Reeves), who is the son and heir of a rich and elderly aristocrat. Over the course of their journey, the unlikely pair encounter an array of colourful characters, and discover many things about themselves, and their place in the world. The film works primarily because of the strength of its two central performances, and the believability of their relationship - had Mike and Scott not been empathetic, the film would have crumbled early on. While Phoenix is the real highlight, Reeves gives an extremely charismatic performance as Scott, and William Richert also impresses as Bob Pigeon, a brilliantly eccentric **** figure who leads the gang of street hustlers who Mike and Scott associate with. I was not surprised to learn that writer/director Gus Van Sant loosely based his screenplay on the works of Shakespeare - at numerous points in the film, you certainly feel like you're watching a play, with its intricate dialogue presented in the form of monologues, and with the extreme flamboyance of some characters (particularly Bob and Udo Kier's Hans). While this is always entertaining, I found myself feeling that My Own Private Idaho would work better, and have far more impact on stage. While Van Sant's direction is always striking, it does sometimes get in the way of the story, and a stripped back stage production, free of unnecessary stylistic distractions would keep the characters and themes of this tale at the forefront of your mind. The film does drift a little in the middle section as well - while the scenes in Italy were necessary for Scott's character to evolve, Mike is given very little to do, and as he is the main focus of the story, this results in a slight loss of momentum. Van Sant redeems himself for this slight blip in a fine fashion shortly afterwards, though - the film's finale is powerful, moving and bittersweet. My Own Private Idaho is, for the most part, an extremely worthwhile, provocative viewing experience. Phoenix and Reeves both give the performances of their career, and their characters, though complex, are relatable and easy to root for on their life-changing journey. The difficult themes covered over the course of the film are handled by Van Sant sensitively, without ever appearing patronising, and he appears keen to provoke further thought and debate on the viewer's behalf. It's only a slightly unfocused middle section and slight over-emphasis on stunning visuals that detracts from the characters and their story. Generally, though, the film remains an immensely satisfying, very human affair. Expand
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10
Justinavery7074Mar 31, 2011
Van Sant scores once more with this amazing movie. It's just remarkable. Another close masterpiece for Gus Van Sant. Everything that I wanted in an indie movie is here. And River Pheonix is incredible. Quite possibly one of the few times thatVan Sant scores once more with this amazing movie. It's just remarkable. Another close masterpiece for Gus Van Sant. Everything that I wanted in an indie movie is here. And River Pheonix is incredible. Quite possibly one of the few times that Keanu Reeves is actually good. Collapse
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10
bradleywade1991Sep 18, 2010
A truly sad and touching film that can make you giggle at unexpected times, My Own Private Idaho is a testament to Van Sant and his two leads. Gallantly addressing narcolepsy, incest, drug use, sexuality, homelessness and prostitution in oneA truly sad and touching film that can make you giggle at unexpected times, My Own Private Idaho is a testament to Van Sant and his two leads. Gallantly addressing narcolepsy, incest, drug use, sexuality, homelessness and prostitution in one film, it couldn't have worked were it not for the talents of Reeves and Phoenix. An engaging and thought provoking piece of art, this movie will never die, and like it's star Phoenix, live immortalised in infamy. Expand
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9
EldonMar 4, 2005
This movie is intense and bizarre at times, I love it. And this new DVD release gives the movie new life and packaging worthy of it's art. A unique cinematic journey that deserves revisitation.
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8
PatC.Jan 6, 2004
It's an accurate visit to the hellhole some of us fell into in our adolescence. There's a lonely nostalgia about a place & time that would be a mistake on every imaginable level to return to. It is really a shame that a movie this It's an accurate visit to the hellhole some of us fell into in our adolescence. There's a lonely nostalgia about a place & time that would be a mistake on every imaginable level to return to. It is really a shame that a movie this good is about stuff that simply is not enjoyable to deal with, ever. Expand
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