Storytelling

Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 31
  2. Negative: 3 out of 31

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. 90
    A movie that advances the career of a demonstrably gifted filmmaker, a fearlessly funny movie whose laughs draw blood, a bracingly provocative movie that won't apologize for its bad temper.
  2. Reviewed by: Chris Gore
    90
    A masterful comedy that will divide audiences, but it left me laughing hysterically. I hope that doesn’t make you think I’m a sick bastard, but if so, piss off.
  3. 88
    I saw it a third time. By then I had moved beyond the immediate shock of the material and was able to focus on what a well-made film it was; how concisely Solondz gets the effects he's after.
  4. None of this intellectualizing is necessary to the simple enjoyment of Storytelling -- provided the viewer has a taste for the pitch-black humor that emerges when Solondz's camera becomes a veritable blowtorch aimed at humanity's myriad failings.
  5. Solondz is a courageous social commentator and a canny provocateur at the same time. He'll never get to Hollywood if he stays on this track, but cinema will be a lot duller if he ever mends his incendiary ways.
  6. Solondz has finally made a movie that isn't just offensive -- it also happens to be good. He's still shouting, still violating our politically correct sensibilities, but the shocks now have thematic purpose. They don't just titillate, they resonate.
  7. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Loren King
    75
    Cleverly mocks the modern chronicler, raising questions that linger long after the film is finished.
  8. 70
    The leanest and meanest of Solondz's misanthropic comedies, feasts on the anguish of adolescence and confusion of college -- white suburban-style.
  9. Almost as uncompromising, and sometimes as funny, as "Dollhouse" or "Happiness."
  10. Although Solondz's view is omniscient, as a filmmaker here he condescends to his characters' innocence, ignorance and bigotry, making him guilty of the same narrative crimes.
  11. 60
    The film is all a little Lit Crit 101, but it's extremely well played and often very funny. But beware: Solondz uses humor as a booby trap, so be careful what you laugh at.
  12. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    60
    Does Solondz feel remorse for libeling his own kind? He might need to if his portraits didn't have the gift of dark wit, the ring of social truth. One makes allowances for a master storyteller.
  13. Solondz should have called this one "So-So Storytelling."
  14. 50
    Storytelling is no more likely than "Happiness" or "Welcome to the Dollhouse" to resolve the question of whether director Todd Solondz is a serious artist or a nasty little man with a perversely glum view of the universe.
  15. 50
    Satisfying to the degree that you agree, with Solondz and Thomas Hobbes, that life is on the whole nasty, brutish and short.
  16. Solondz's refusal to frame his dark, misanthropic impulses with an overriding point-of-view seems a cheap copout for a film whose title proposes that it's about the storytelling process.
  17. Solondz's singular game plan is to dangle profoundly obnoxious caricatures before us, then punish them mercilessly for their stupidity, which is amusing enough if you're in the mood for that sort of thing.
  18. 50
    Lack of any real substance.
  19. Newcomers should be advised that this is not an introductory course.
  20. 50
    An inelegant combination of two unrelated shorts that falls far short of the director's previous work in terms of both thematic content and narrative strength.
  21. The lower your expectations, the more you'll enjoy it.
  22. The most pleasing paradox in Storytelling -- a determinedly paradoxical and, in spite of much of what I've said here, a genuinely pleasing movie -- is that it sets out to debunk this notion and ends up affirming it.
  23. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    40
    A provocative but eventually dislikable two-part film that dares us to dislike it.
  24. 40
    Todd Solondz's newest debacle drips with contempt for his audience, his characters and his critics.
  25. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    40
    Less a rounded narrative than a pair of suggestive -- and unresolved -- exercises.
  26. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    40
    The urge to make viewers squirm is fair enough, but when it runs ahead of the urge to entertain -- when the jokes trail in the wake of the embarrassments -- you can't help leaving the theatre sad and soured. [4 Feb 2002, p. 82]
  27. 40
    It would be tempting to call Storytelling a narrow and simplistic examination of the creative process, if only Solondz weren't so quick to agree.
  28. Twisted and outrageous but ultimately artificial. Albert Brooks did this art-reality thing a lot better years ago in "Real Life," his takeoff on PBS's "An American Family," and was sidesplitting besides.
  29. 25
    Solondz is still stuck in an adenoidal whine.
  30. 25
    Another mean-spirited black comedy from Todd Solondz, tries even harder than the director's two earlier films to shock and outrage -- but the overall effect of his sophomoric excess is tiresome and dull, like watching someone else's 2-year-old act out for the 50th time.
  31. While there are maybe two moments of genuinely clever humor, Storytelling is the work of a previously promising filmmaker who, having no new ideas, has morphed into a sniggering schoolboy intent upon being mean.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. BKM
    Jul 13, 2013
    5
    The biggest problem I had with Todd Solondz's pitch black and relentlessly cynical portrait of modern life is that there is not one singleThe biggest problem I had with Todd Solondz's pitch black and relentlessly cynical portrait of modern life is that there is not one single character in the whole thing who generates any sense of empathy or understanding. I'm not one who insists that moves all be warm and fuzzy, but it would be nice to at least be able to feel something for any of these characters. Instead they are all selfish, mean and self deluded individuals. The fact that I didn't have any response one way or the other to any of them or their actions suggests that Storytelling is not nearly as provocative as it is trying to be. Full Review »
  2. Apr 8, 2012
    9
    Really intriguing, interesting, intense and original. This movie is obviously a reflection of Solondz childhood the young child being aReally intriguing, interesting, intense and original. This movie is obviously a reflection of Solondz childhood the young child being a younger version of himself. Very Moving and provocative film. Full Review »
  3. DavidC.
    Sep 24, 2006
    7
    The relationship between the "fiction" and "nonfiction" ends up being far more interesting than the stories themselves, which are plagued by The relationship between the "fiction" and "nonfiction" ends up being far more interesting than the stories themselves, which are plagued by caricature and stagey directing. All of this belies the fact that this is an entertaining, provocative film. The second half of "nonfiction" is impressive in the way that it brings both the film and the audience into self-referential territory. Whether you found the humour amusing (as I did) or mean-spirited is a matter of taste. Full Review »