Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 39 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Woody Harrelson stars as publishing maverick Larry Flynt, who becomes the unlikely champion of the First Amendment when he takes his fight against the Rev. Jerry Falwell all the way to the Supreme Court. (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Courtney Love's performance as stripper Althea Leasure is an amazement. Funny, unfettered and almost scarily alive in front of a camera, she's the definition of a "natural."
  2. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    Raucously entertaining.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Forman finesses the story's grimmer aspects as he did in "Cuckoo's Nest," and his ability to switch moods on a dime remains unsurpassed.
  4. Reviewed by: Barbara Shulgasser
    With its fine courtroom scenes, excellent performances, great writing and superb direction it reminds me more than anything else of Barbet Schroeder's "Reversal of Fortune."
  5. Milos Forman's drama is full of outrageous material that will offend liberals and conservatives alike, but it's positioned on the cutting edge of contemporary debates about free speech, feminism, and the effects of mass media on modern society.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    But long after you've grown tired of [Flynt's] escapades, the scenes in which he and Althea support one another against the slings an arrows of outrageous fortune are touching and, ultimately, genuinely tragic.
  7. We're really celebrating Hollywood's freedom to create biographies of anyone, no matter how high or low on the social ladder, and still come up with the same banal characteristics, messages and conclusions. In this sense, The People vs. Larry Flynt doesn't champion, so much as squander, freedom of speech.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. Aug 7, 2012
    This movie is truly amazing. Woody Harrelson's portrayal of Larry Flynt is so realistic and Courtney Love's portrayal of his wife is truly mesmerizing. What can't this woman do? Edward Norton's character is also amazing and realistic. A truly amazing, funny, but yet tear jerking and gasping film. Truly one of the best movies of all time. Expand
  2. PatC.
    Sep 12, 2005
    A precise solidly crafted movie in full control of its volatile actors, story line and editing. Not quite uplifting, but still reassuring, not to mention both cerebral and provocative. Expand
  3. Mar 5, 2012
    The People vs. Larry Flynt is a truly great biopic. When telling the story of such a controversial public figure, filmmakers are required to make their views of the person clear from the off, to come down definitively on one side of the argument or the other. Director Milos Forman and veteran writing duo Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski choose to present Larry Flynt as a defender of liberty, a man who bravely fought against the hypocritical American legal system to preserve what he believed in. Their argument is presented extremely convincingly, and Woody Harrelson's natural charisma and bad-boy charm make Flynt an extremely engaging, entertaining protagonist. A baby-faced Edward Norton is also extremely impressive in his second big-screen role playing Flynt's despairing lawyer Alan Isaacman, and Courtney Love is simply mesmerising as Flynt's increasingly broken-down and drug-addled wife Althea Leasure. What the film gets just right is the balance between fact and fiction - enough of the true events in Flynt's life remain to make the film credible as a biopic, but there is just enough romanticising to make the story dramatically effective and emotionally involving. If you want the facts about Larry Flynt's life and career, warts-and-all, then there are documentaries about, and both entertainment and academia-based books featuring the publisher widely available. If you're prepared to indulge a bit of artistic licence for the sake of big-screen drama, then The People vs. Larry Flynt is a very rewarding viewing experience. It has great performances, tragedy and comedy aplenty, and it bravely confronts attitudes to some of the more morally frowned-upon industries in society, making you think, and consider the validity of your own attitudes to the world. Simply put, it's a really good watch. Expand
  4. Sep 8, 2014
    Although this movie is essentially about a sleazy porn magazine publisher, The People vs. Larry Flynt never feels sleazy itself, thanks to great direction and a script that promotes the message of civil liberties without exploiting itself. There is character development, great performances, and clear themes and messages. It may run a bit long in the middle passages, but it is still an important film about standing up for what's in the boundaries of the law, and not exactly what is popular or moral. Expand
  5. EvanW.
    Mar 3, 2009
    Flynt is, ironically, moralistic. He stands up for what he believes in and doesn't back down.
  6. Apr 20, 2014
    Woody Harrelson performs at the height of his acting ability as the eponymous Prince of Porn, embodying Larry Flynt with a riotous irreverence interspersed by moments of superbly nuanced vulnerability and pain, particularly in the scenes where Flynt dissolves almost completely into madness. The chemistry between Harrelson and Courtney Love (who plays Flynt's wife Althea) is fantastic; they depict, in a way that's quite bittersweet, how the two came to need one another. The acting in this film is magnificent, and makes it worth seeing, especially for Harrelson and Love. "The People vs. Larry Flynt" is highly entertaining, and provokes some interesting thought about the ideal of freedom of speech, and what it should and does protect. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews