Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. This is a superb picture, sharp, open-minded, wised-up and cinematically accomplished.
  2. As an anatomy not only of Polanski's psyche but also of the legal system he confronted, it's as baroquely compelling as "The Dark Knight."
  3. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    A mesmerizing portrait of the director as acclaimed artist and tortured human being.
  4. 88
    The most significant fact of the film is that the prosecutor Gunson, a straight-laced Mormon, agrees with the defender Dalton that justice was not served.
  5. 83
    Falls short of being a great film because it lacks a certain ambition.
  6. Engrossing and well-researched documentary.
  7. Its one-week theatrical run will make it eligible for Academy Award consideration, though given that organization's often pitiful record when it comes to nonfiction film, it seems unlikely that a movie this subtly intelligent would make its short list.
  8. It was a true media circus, and despite Polanski's work before and since, the film shows how it will forever be his first association in the public consciousness. In the U.S., at least.
  9. 80
    The mesmerizing narrative recounts a media circus of unrivaled malignance.
  10. The film walks a fine line between contempt for Polanski's crimes and sympathy for his trials and his screwed-up psyche, and it manages both while showing us why he fled the U.S. rather than face the corrupted judicial circus.
  11. The phrase in the title "wanted and desired" is offered by a producer friend of Polanski's who describes him as "wanted" in the United States, but "desired" in Europe, where sexual behaviour is treated more honestly and artists' dark sides are celebrated.
  12. I wish Zenovich wasn't forced to skate surfaces when it comes to Polanski's perspective -- his interviews are vague and archival -- but she skillfully works around him to craft a maddening look at one of Hollywood's most infamous trials.
  13. Reviewed by: Jeremy Mathews
    The film is most remarkable when it exposes the ease with which the press and a self-obsessed judge can pervert the country's justice system.
  14. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    If you go into "Wanted and Desired" with preconceptions, prepare to feel them challenged and altered, even if they are ultimately confirmed. The facts speak loudly.
  15. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Lively, exasperating documentary.
  16. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    With a subject like Roman Polanski, you don't really need to do much to capture audience interest. But maybe that's the reason Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired doesn't live up to its promise.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. BenD
    Jul 30, 2009
    A masterpiece of the documentary genre.