User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
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  1. SantiP.
    Jan 6, 2005
    7
    Hilarious! wonderful soundtrack!!!
  2. Jimh.
    Nov 10, 2003
    9
    This is a critically underrated little gem of a movie. Just before seeing it, I reviewed the BBC six hour television version. While Potter's genius for the telly is hards to beat, the film is offbeat and damn good to boot. Robert Downey's performance rivals the great Michael Gambon's and the use of 50's rock for the song track does not diminish the unique way Potter This is a critically underrated little gem of a movie. Just before seeing it, I reviewed the BBC six hour television version. While Potter's genius for the telly is hards to beat, the film is offbeat and damn good to boot. Robert Downey's performance rivals the great Michael Gambon's and the use of 50's rock for the song track does not diminish the unique way Potter used lipped-sync numbers to propel the plot. All true Dennis Potter devotees ought to see it. Expand
  3. Thewiseking
    Oct 22, 2003
    9
    Brilliant, innovative, and hilarious. this extremely offbeat and original dark comedy succeeds on many levels. robert downey is extraordinary, and the cameo performances are a pleasant surprise. although i was at first offput when i heard the haunting, lyrical, surrealistic 1930s popular music was not utilized (as it was in the BBC series and the Pennies From Heaven film) and a 50sBrilliant, innovative, and hilarious. this extremely offbeat and original dark comedy succeeds on many levels. robert downey is extraordinary, and the cameo performances are a pleasant surprise. although i was at first offput when i heard the haunting, lyrical, surrealistic 1930s popular music was not utilized (as it was in the BBC series and the Pennies From Heaven film) and a 50s soundtrack was used in its place, this in no way detracted from the film. this was an unexpected treat. Expand
  4. AndrewR.
    Aug 10, 2008
    9
    Crazy mental trip.
Metascore
45

Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 33
  2. Negative: 4 out of 33
  1. At one point, Downey's character is asked, "What are you gonna do with all this rage, this hate?" and he snaps back, "I'll probably just write serious literature." On TV, where the material seemed both serious and literate, that bit of black humour felt prophetic. On film, it's just a good joke.
  2. 50
    At once daring and hackneyed, absorbing and off-putting, a triumph of one sort and, more lastingly, a failure of another.
  3. Admiring The Singing Detective is easy, and so is appreciating the originality of the story's conceit, the artistry of the actors and the directorial intelligence of Keith Gordon. But loving it would take an act of will.