Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    60
    Picture is particularly well-crafted, managing to avoid the ambulance-chasing tenor that might easily have turned this into a voyeuristic freakshow.
  2. A performer of formidable self-absorption, Johnston has inspired a film with the same trait, and the results are about what you might expect.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Jun 10, 2011
    10
    I actually think Daniel Johnston was mis-diagnosed. I think he is on the autistic spectrum and originally had aspergers, but lack ofI actually think Daniel Johnston was mis-diagnosed. I think he is on the autistic spectrum and originally had aspergers, but lack of understanding of his condition due to mis-diagnosis, accompanied by his drug use made his condition worse. He is totally a genius in what he was interested in, as are most people with aspergers. Full Review »
  2. ChadS.
    Dec 10, 2007
    8
    To the uninitiated, the lucky ones whose lives weren't destroyed by music snobbery, watch Stephen Frears' "High Fidelity" to To the uninitiated, the lucky ones whose lives weren't destroyed by music snobbery, watch Stephen Frears' "High Fidelity" to understand indie fandom. It'll help you better deal with the guy who thinks that Daniel Johnston is better than Brian Wilson. He's not. Johnston is an acquired taste(you have to understand the aesthetics of indie-rock). His music is for people who thinks Jonathan Richman doesn't keep it real enough. "The Devil and Daniel Johnston", however, along with Jonathan Caouette's "Tarnation", is another stunning example of how the proliferation of home-movie cameras during the eighties produced a treasure trove of archival footage. Without it, you don't have a movie, because the subject matter wouldn't be interesting enough. If you're befuddled by the accolades thrown Johnston's way, think of how radical the Sex Pistols sounded next to Fleetwood Mac. Johnston doesn't play punk rock, but he captures that do-it-yourself spirit, which used to be the ethos of alternative music before "Teen Spirit" commodified amateurism. To the uninitiated, "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" will seem like an inside joke, or worse, a black comedy like Hal Ashby's "Being There". Full Review »
  3. PaulJ.
    Oct 29, 2006
    5
    The Devil and Daniel Johnston is a well enough done film, and benefits greatly from archival film from various sources, but ultimately is The Devil and Daniel Johnston is a well enough done film, and benefits greatly from archival film from various sources, but ultimately is somewhat difficult to appreciate if you are not a manic music fan of some sort. You certainly do feel sorry for Daniel Johnston, his has been a rough life, and I give the filmmakers credit there, for this could easily degenerated into a "this guy was nuts" sort of thing. And if you get the DVD, whatch the extras, as parts of his obsessions are more fully explained. But ultimately, for the non-manic non-Dylan type music non-fan, the film gets a little tedious, so I don't regret watching it, but it was really not the best film of the year. Daniel Johnston has done some amazing things over the years, and you certainly get a good feel for what he's been through, and maybe just at the end appreciate the progress in treatment as you can see him clear up some (hopefully not at the loss of his art), but still a bit of a slog at times. Full Review »