Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 90
    Sketches was produced for PBS's American Masters series, but it's in theaters now and deserves to be seen on the largest possible screen.
  2. It's a stirring portrait of a singular artist, a gorgeously photographed album of his buildings, and, perhaps most importantly, a film that manages to demystify the way he works without diminishing it.
  3. Gehry sketches and free-associates about how he's not nearly the menschy aw-shucks pussycat from Canada he appears to be but rather a wily, complicated L.A. lion.
  4. The camera drinks in the angles, curves and textures, and the way it all shapes the light as if it's yet another of Gehry's non-traditional materials, and Pollack creates his own video sketchbook of Gehry impressions.
  5. Reviewed by: Christopher Hawthorne
    80
    Pollack does give a substantial chunk of screen time to Milton Wexler, Gehry's longtime analyst, who proves to be a winning, charismatic presence.
  6. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    Lucid and engaging, Sketches of Frank Gehry provides the enormously gratifying opportunity to spend an hour-and-a-half with an artistic giant.
  7. 80
    Critics, clients, and colleagues all weigh in on the architect, but Pollack is more interested in the mysteries of the creative process, and his studies of Gehry's buildings, deftly edited by Karen Schmeer, capture their dramatic sense of movement and resolution.
  8. 75
    The result is not a formal doc but an extended chat between two professionals who, as Pollack puts it, search for "a sliver of space in the commercial world where you can make a difference."
  9. Providing a tart balance to such enthusiastic admiration, Gehry's own blunt musings on his motivations, revelations and desires prove especially interesting.
  10. 75
    Rescued from its inclination to smug, celebrity-testimonial-driven hagiography by Gehry's own considerable charm and infectious enthusiasm.
  11. The footage of Gehry's work, notably the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, is often startlingly beautiful, and Gehry is forthcoming about how he achieved his effects. But too much of the film is taken up with gushy self-serving talking-head testimonials.
  12. You learn as much as you need to know to understand Gehry's architectural process and to appreciate his enormous contribution to modern art and architecture. Which is not a bad thing. Just sketchy.
  13. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    70
    This enjoyably breezy portrait of genius architect Frank Gehry is drawn doodle-style by first-time documentarian Sydney Pollack.
  14. This absorbing documentary, the first directed by Sydney Pollack, is a modest undertaking, offering glimpses of the architect and his work rather than a full-scale portrait or catalogue raisonné.
  15. Just when Sydney Pollack's new film about super-architect Frank Gehry, Sketches of Frank Gehry, threatens to get really interesting, Pollack, perhaps unconsciously channeling about 100 years' worth of bad movies about great artists, reverts to fall-back mode.
  16. 67
    Gehry is a fascinating subject, a strangely magnetic combination of rumpled, aw-shucks humility and Herculean ambition and hubris, but every time Pollack stumbles onto a fascinating topic like Gehry's battles with anti-Semitism, he pulls away instead of delving deeper.
  17. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    63
    Whatever you think of Gehry's architecture, if you have any interest in art, or the interplay between light and shadow, or the way buildings create space and community, you're likely to enjoy this film.
  18. Best of all is the ride through the architect's own domestic space in Santa Monica, dubbed by locals "the house that built Gehry."
  19. What benefits the picture early on, giving it a casual air, becomes cloying in the later going, making it feel like a smug exercise in mutual admiration.
  20. Reviewed by: Patrick Peters
    60
    A fond and always accessible portrait, but the lack of objectivity and drooling images of Gehry's work deprives this documentary of any objectivity.
  21. 50
    The Sketches of Frank Gehry will appear this fall on PBS' "American Masters," which seems a more appropriate venue than theaters.
  22. Reviewed by: Kenneth Baker
    50
    When Pollack admits that he is not a documentary filmmaker and that he knows nothing about architecture, Gehry says that makes him perfect for this project. But the joke does not redeem the frustration Pollack creates by the choppy, restless views he gives us of Gehry's buildings.
  23. The film has lovely moments – Gehry buildings can be extremely photogenic, after all – but it doesn't sink its teeth in the way it probably should.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. JonR.
    Oct 1, 2006
    9
    A delightful insight to a man and his work. There should have been fewer shots of his architecture but longer in time to give the viewer A delightful insight to a man and his work. There should have been fewer shots of his architecture but longer in time to give the viewer enough time to enjoy each one. Full Review »
  2. [Anonymous]
    Aug 22, 2006
    8
    The camera drinks in the angles, curves and textures, and the way it all shapes the light as if it's yet another of Gehry's The camera drinks in the angles, curves and textures, and the way it all shapes the light as if it's yet another of Gehry's non-traditional materials, and Pollack creates his own video sketchbook of Gehry impressions. Gehry sketches and free-associates about how he's not nearly the menschy aw-shucks pussycat from Canada he appears to be but rather a wily, complicated L.A. lion. Lucid and engaging, Sketches of Frank Gehry provides the enormously gratifying opportunity to spend an hour-and-a-half with an artistic giant. Pollack does give a substantial chunk of screen time to Milton Wexler, Gehry's longtime analyst, who proves to be a winning, charismatic presence. Critics, clients, and colleagues all weigh in on the architect, but Pollack is more interested in the mysteries of the creative process, and his studies of Gehry's buildings, deftly edited by Karen Schmeer, capture their dramatic sense of movement and resolution. Full Review »