Reel Paradise


Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Since Reel Paradise doesn't make the mistake of lionizing Pierson while it keeps up with him and his family, the results stay with you, like memories of an unexpected and surprising vacation.
  2. Reel Paradise is a deliberately untidy, open-ended, thoroughly absorbing chronicle that lets the lives of its characters spill across the screen without editorializing.
  3. 78
    True, the melodrama on display here can't compare to the likes of Larry, Moe, Curly, and the cannibals, but then this goofily charming quartet of Western outsiders is far more real than reel.
  4. 75
    While type-A Pierson worries about his projectionist showing up and a break-in at his family's home, his wife frets that the mass importation of American films will contaminate the local culture.
  5. 75
    The Piersons went, they showed movies, they returned. Taveuni is more or less the same. But by living and coping together for a year, the family is probably stronger and richer.
  6. 75
    An engaging if overlong documentary.
  7. Reviewed by: Jeremy Mathews
    An honest look at the experience of a family who lives a yearlong tropical movie adventure on a remote island in Fiji.
  8. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    It's an engrossing and often very funny tale.
  9. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    "Survivor" meets "Cinema Paradiso"in this wonderfully entertaining documentary about a film fanatic's quest to bring Hollywood movies to a remote South Sea island.
  10. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Overlong at nearly two hours but still a sharp and amusing and subtle piece of filmmaking.
  11. 70
    There's something magical about seeing a packed house of 300 Taveuni locals laugh equally uproariously, and, without a nanosecond’s worth of culture shock, at Queen Latifah in "Bringing Down the House" and Buster Keaton in "Steamboat Bill, Jr."
  12. 70
    The uproarious laughter that floats from the cinema wonderfully illustrates the universality of the moviegoing experience.
  13. The film is absorbing enough as an intimate family portrait, complete with friction.
  14. A documentary that uses Pierson's self-congratulatory mission to explore a deeper story about cultural clashes and the complex dynamics of the modern American family.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    An amusingly damning portrait of a man trying to impose his will on a world that, really, has better things to do.

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