Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jan 3, 2013
    70
    Solid, enjoyable, good, but not great.
  2. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jan 4, 2013
    40
    Now that his passion project is out of the way, I look forward to seeing what Chase does next. He's sure to have his editor's pen back in hand by then.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Dec 27, 2012
    50
    It's both achingly affectionate and a terrible mess.
  4. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jan 4, 2013
    38
    I hope his life was less dull than the movie he's made from it.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 27, 2012
    75
    If any one aspect of Chase's film keeps it from being more than merely coolly engaging (which it is), it's the casting.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 23, 2012
    58
    Gandolfini, though, is a standout as the old-school father who can't abide his new-style son (but loves him anyway).
  7. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jan 2, 2013
    75
    Not Fade Away is Chase's reward to himself - a transparently autobiographical work, his first feature-length film, and one that he's said he has wanted to make for years.
  8. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Dec 4, 2012
    58
    It's a period piece composed of familiar pieces, none of which have much to say beyond surface elements that have been explored countless times before. Using a typical coming-of-age mold, Chase turns cultural ephemera into formula.
  9. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Dec 20, 2012
    80
    A stirring snapshot of America from 1963 to 1968 and the many rock 'n' roll thrills, cultural and political watersheds, and whirling emotions that erupted in between. It's also deviously smart and darkly funny.
  10. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 20, 2012
    40
    Mood is more important to Not Fade Away than anything, but writer-director David Chase, who turned mood into masterpiece with every season of "The Sopranos," allows nostalgic feeling to be the sole reason for this, his first feature film.
  11. 70
    A glancing, disjointed little movie that captures as well as any film I've seen the mind-expanding mojo of rock and roll at the dawn of the counterculture - particularly rhythm-and-blues-oriented rock, particularly the Rolling Stones, the group that synthesized R&B and made it commercial.
  12. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Dec 20, 2012
    50
    The acting is OK, but none of the leads has the kind of sizzle that might have turned this into something as special as another film set roughly in the same era, "Diner.''
  13. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Dec 20, 2012
    50
    Music drives the movie, and the producers popped for the real stuff: Robert Johnson, Moby Grape and - curiously - the Sex Pistols are all here. The soundtrack is so overstuffed that it relegates Beatles and Dylan tunes to the end credits.
  14. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 27, 2012
    75
    Mostly, Not Fade Away is a hit.
  15. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 18, 2012
    75
    His (Chase) ardent, acutely observed debut makes him, at 67, a filmmaker to watch.
  16. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 31, 2012
    75
    Not Fade Away is a movie by a filmmaker who treasures his memories, cares about social history and relishes getting it right.
  17. Reviewed by: Jaime N. Christley
    Dec 4, 2012
    88
    Triumphs when David Chase's empowerment as a kind of autobiographical historian is balanced with the thrill of submersing the viewer in the tidal pool of his memories
  18. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Dec 19, 2012
    83
    Chase deals with the mundane reality that squashes those dreams, but he doesn't downplay the dreams themselves, which he keeps honoring throughout Not Fade Away, right up to an audaciously abstract final scene that rivals the end of "The Sopranos" for sheer nerve.
  19. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Dec 31, 2012
    63
    Ultimately a disappointment – this is a movie easy to watch and even easier to forget.
  20. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Dec 4, 2012
    80
    The film may be too meandering for mainstream acceptance, but its focus will make the Paramount Vantage release connect directly with many baby boomers. It's also a warm, funny, poignant scrapbook that evokes a spirit of youth still relatable in later eras.
  21. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Dec 20, 2012
    90
    By focusing on musicians who are talented but finally not good or persistent enough to succeed in the big time, Not Fade Away offers a poignant, alternative, antiheroic history of the big beat.
  22. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Dec 23, 2012
    58
    Though not a poor effort per se -- David Chase's Not Fade Away does authentically captures the heart and soul of the music of the era and the intoxicating/naive dream of making it big -- the picture isn't exactly a remarkable one either.
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 20, 2012
    40
    Painful, and not in a good way. A glimpse into the '60s should give us not just the warm bath of recognition but the shock of the new, as least as it felt in days of old. That doesn't happen, in a movie that evokes less empathy than apathy.
  24. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Dec 18, 2012
    100
    It isn't until the story reaches its fancifully abstract final passages, where cinema displaces music as Douglas's weapon of choice, that Chase's reverie reveals itself as a particularly exceptional exploration of how art ceases being an idle hobby and becomes an obsessive vocation.
  25. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jan 3, 2013
    63
    The highlight of Not Fade Away, a meandering and bittersweet coming-of-age story, is its killer '60s pop-rock soundtrack.
  26. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Dec 18, 2012
    90
    It's a small gem with a killer rock soundtrack, well worth seeking out amid all the awards-season Sturm und Drang.
  27. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jan 3, 2013
    75
    In writer-director David Chase's heartfelt delivery, this same old tune somehow comes out sounding fresh.
User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Dec 29, 2012
    9
    As an avid music fan & aspiring rock musician, I was very interested when I saw the trailer for this movie, and all that interested was definitely justfied, and then some, because Not Fade Away is simply fantastic. First of all, I appreciate that rather than being centered around the big & famous musicians like a lot of similar films would do, this film follows a band, The Twylight Zones, that suffers a lot & even ends on a rather bleak & ambiguous note as to whether or not they'll make it as a band at all. Not only that, but the characters here all seem very realistic. There are no cheap one-note stereotypes or clear antagonists, but rather a group of generally reasonable people that run into very believable problems & misunderstandings. Something like this definitely helps with the relatability factor. Another thing to note is that this is set in the mid-late 60s, and even as someone who was born decades after this time, I could easily believe that the settings here are accurate, with possible minor embellishements here & there for added effect. Steven Van Zandt produced this, and it's very easy to tell that a musician was involved with this. Even though I don't have an impressive amount of band experience yet, a lot of subtleties of being a musican are covered here, mainly in the songwriting process. Speaking of the music, in addition to great older songs being used very often (which would be implied in a film like this) the original song here main character Doug wrote about his breakup, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, is also very impressive, and I'm so glad they released the soundtrack on iTunes cause it's a genuinely good song. M only real gripe with this movie is the last minute, where a girl starts talking to the camera & dancing in the middle of the street. It just lost me there, and would've been much better if it ended on what was happening rght before that. Overall, Not Fade Away is a very well-rounded movie, creating moments that are fun, emotional, relatable & sweet, while never losing focus & keeping a very good & steady pace, making it's over 2 hour running time very justified. Full Review »
  2. Sep 1, 2014
    6
    The film's take on music in the 1960s is well thought and presented. The music may be the best part; however, Chase does certainly know how to make a film like this special. Full Review »
  3. Jun 27, 2013
    9
    If you are from this era, this milieu, this will resonate like few other movies (Dazed and Confused is in the same class, but for a different decade and region).
    For everyone else, this will likely seem lame.
    David Chase is to be admired for doing this niche film. I was transported.
    Full Review »