Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Oct 24, 2013
    90
    Joseph Levy's sneakily stirring documentary opens up feelings you would never have expected from the premise — a portrait of three American restaurants.
  2. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Oct 22, 2013
    90
    A love letter to that singular intersection of artistic innovation, cultural legacy, community pride, and family-sustaining (or -straining) commerce known as the restaurant.
  3. Reviewed by: Bruce Ingram
    Oct 24, 2013
    75
    A surprisingly personal and moving documentary about three very different types of restaurants.
  4. Reviewed by: Kalvin Henely
    Oct 24, 2013
    75
    Spinning Plates may inadvertently be one of the year's best films about class differences in America.
  5. Reviewed by: Josh Modell
    Oct 23, 2013
    75
    As separate snapshots of three fascinating businesses, it’s vivid and engaging.
  6. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Oct 23, 2013
    75
    Spinning Plates navigates an industry that is more diverse and challenging than ever, but with this simple, fulfilling sampling, we learn that those behind the stove aim for the same kinds of rewards, accomplishments and satisfaction as their predecessors did.
  7. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Oct 24, 2013
    70
    What raises this film to a more interesting level is that in addition to the food, each segment presents a personal drama that extends beyond the table.
  8. Reviewed by: Adam Nayman
    Dec 5, 2013
    63
    Yet another smoothly produced doc for the foodie set.
  9. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Nov 7, 2013
    63
    The movie doesn’t always feel cohesive, but the stories are unexpectedly touching.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Nov 7, 2013
    63
    So here’s a tip: Don’t desert this film before giving it a chance. You might not want seconds, but eventually it dishes up a satisfying slice of life.
  11. 63
    Spinning Plates is a surprisingly affecting juggling act, with each story having its compelling third act revelations of the extreme obstacles each eatery and its owners have faced and will face.
  12. Reviewed by: Justin Lowe
    Oct 28, 2013
    60
    Without a strong thematic throughline, Levy relies on a highly episodic structure, letting the subject matter lead him along, rather than shaping the material into a compelling package.
  13. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Oct 25, 2013
    60
    Given that his subjects are so inspiring, surely Levy could have spiced up his storytelling with a bit more creativity.
  14. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Oct 23, 2013
    60
    Spinning Plates is a slow starter... But the documentary finds more of a rhythm once it moves beyond generalities and starts getting into particulars.
  15. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Oct 22, 2013
    60
    The overall effect is not unlike watching a chef de cuisine experimenting in his off-hours; not everything takes, but you still come away with a pleasingly stimulated palate.
  16. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Oct 7, 2013
    60
    Little in the way of a unified theme emerges to turn Joseph Levy’s feature into something more than a semi-random survey of restaurant life.
  17. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Nov 7, 2013
    50
    The tales are worthwhile, but it's challenging to find a common thread among them that goes beyond vague generalities.
  18. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Oct 24, 2013
    50
    This dully structured film makes its points early and often, treading water before a purposely delayed big finish.

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