Metascore
48

Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Jonathan Foreman
    Jun 2, 2013
    75
    Greengrass' direction is uninspired, but there is powerful chemistry between a workmanlike Branagh and (real-life girlfriend) Bonham Carter. And her original, seductive and always believable turn as the difficult-but-lovable Jane raises the movie above all its flaws. [23 Dec. 1998, p.44]
  2. 75
    It's a sweet, low-key and satisfying film -- and it deserves a heap of credit for treating its subject with humor and humanity.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jun 2, 2013
    75
    The Theory of Flight is far from a perfect movie, but it offers enough highlights that, on balance, it's worth a recommendation. The solid acting camouflages a great many other deficiencies.
  4. Reviewed by: Ellen Futterman
    Jun 2, 2013
    63
    What saves the movie from taking a nose-dive is the confident performance of Helena Bonham Carter and some genuinely funny scenes involving her character. She plays Jane, a smart, feisty, rebellious young woman who is confined to a wheelchair because she is dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). [22 Jan. 1999, p.E3]
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Jun 2, 2013
    63
    The Theory of Flight is built from the kind of material that either soars or crashes with audiences. And here, it doesn't quite hold together. But if the film, as a whole, never takes flight, the actors do. Watching them bicker and sail up is so delightful, you only wish their vehicle could keep them aloft longer.
  6. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jun 2, 2013
    63
    The Theory of Flying is actually fairly enjoyable. At least it doesn't drown its message in syrup and cornball sentiment.
  7. Reviewed by: David Baron
    Jun 2, 2013
    60
    A key strategic decision in the success of this 100-minute feature is Greengrass' determination to accentuate the humorousness of his salty-tongued heroine and valiantly resist the temptation to sentimentalize her plight. The upshot is a touchingly off-kilter, bravely platonic love story that -- wonder of wonders -- never turns sticky. [5 March 1999, p.L28]
  8. Reviewed by: Rita Kempley
    Jun 2, 2013
    50
    The Theory of Flight, an unlikely marriage of malady movie and romantic comedy, never quite soars, but beats its wings with the desperate tenacity of a wounded butterfly. Alas, the proportion of lift to drag isn't quite enough to defy the gravity of its subject.
  9. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jun 2, 2013
    50
    A TV-movie-ish love story laden with heavy-handed metaphor... The Theory of Flight is feeble stuff.
  10. 50
    The difficulty with the film starts with the amount of improbability one must swallow. [24 Dec. 1998, p.D10]
  11. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Jun 2, 2013
    50
    A risky idea only occasionally gets both wheels off the ground in "The Theory of Flight," a sometimes wryly amusing, oftimes dramatically awkward story
  12. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jun 2, 2013
    50
    [A] gimmicky actors' holiday.
  13. Reviewed by: Dennis Lim
    Jun 2, 2013
    40
    Earnest and misguided in equal measure, The Theory of Flightis ostensibly a bold and rare attempt at depicting disabled people as sexual beings, but the notion is couched in such spurious and schematic terms that the film never really stands a chance.
  14. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jun 2, 2013
    30
    The novelty of hearing Ms. Bonham Carter spew four-letter words fades quickly. So does the sight of Mr. Branagh elaborately rehearsing how to rob a bank. This versatile actor has many strengths, but as his wooden turn in ''Celebrity'' has already demonstrated, comedy isn't one of them.
  15. Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    Jun 2, 2013
    20
    Theory of Flight follows the standard inspirational formula. [23 Dec. 1998, p.43]

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