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Metascore
47

Mixed or average reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Phyllis and Harold is an astoundingly frank journey through a disastrous 59-year marriage. Drawing on a lifetime of her family's home movies and interviews made over 12 years, filmmaker Cindy Kleine mixes reportage, cinema verite and animation to uncover family secrets and tell a story thatPhyllis and Harold is an astoundingly frank journey through a disastrous 59-year marriage. Drawing on a lifetime of her family's home movies and interviews made over 12 years, filmmaker Cindy Kleine mixes reportage, cinema verite and animation to uncover family secrets and tell a story that could not be shown publicly as long as her father was alive. Phyllis and Harold delves into the mystery of time passing, the nature of living a life, and the challenges of losing those we love. But it is also a loving, funny expose on the sins of suburbia. Imagine Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage seen through the prism of I Love Lucy. (Rainbow Releasing) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Twelve years in the making, Phyllis and Harold has extraordinary breadth and depth and has been made with wit, compassion and imagination, and it reflects the complexity of life itself.
  2. 75
    Phyllis and Harold is really about Phyllis and how discontent has a way of spilling, then spreading. Kleine never quite says so, but her mother’s life was a tragedy.
  3. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    60
    Evocatively fleshed out with surprisingly iconic homemovies, passionate love letters and well-chosen pop tunes, Kleine's homegrown Jewish "Madame Bovary" escapes the navel-gazing boundaries of the personal-diary docu by the sheer force of its evocation of bygone sensuality.
  4. Reviewed by: Doris Toumarkine
    50
    Fortunately, Lisa Crafts' colorful animation intermittently brings welcome charm and life to this otherwise dreary tale.
  5. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    50
    What's interesting about the filmmaker's rummage through her parents' conjugal closet--another in a thriving sub-genre of domestic-turmoil docs as told by their spawn--is the abyss between the husband and wife's points of view.
  6. The problem with these my-family-was-messed-up-and-I need-to-share projects is that they require an audience of complete strangers to give a damn. And while we sometimes do, it’s usually because the material is inherently compelling (“Tarnation”) or the filmmaking uncovers truths beyond the template of family therapy (“51 Birch Street”). Sadly, Phyllis and Harold fulfills neither requirement.
  7. 25
    My only question: Why does Kleine -- who's married to Andre Gregory of "My Dinner With Andre" fame -- think that anybody outside her family gives a damn?

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