Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    100
    Both a memoir and a history lesson, the film looks back on their late father - a crusading civil rights lawyer who later defended a host of unsavory characters - with a combination of love, admiration and bafflement for the man he was and the career he forged.
  2. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    90
    Terrific archival footage from a range of seminal civil rights events, as well as affecting narration written by Sarah Kunstler and spoken by Emily Kunstler (who also edited the film), round out this superior documentary.
  3. His pluck and chutzpah shine through.
  4. 75
    It is said that everyone either loved or hated radical defense lawyer William Kunstler. A documentary by his daughters asks, "Why choose 'or' instead of 'both'?"
  5. It's a view filtered through a prism of memory and emotion, but one well worth investigating.
  6. 75
    This engrossing and provocative documentary is also about a tragic kind of liberal guilt.
  7. Ultimately, William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe is a defense, not a prosecution, and the principal witness remains a shining star.
  8. Compelling portrait of famed radical lawyer by his daughters.
  9. 67
    Disturbing The Universe doesn’t mix it up enough.
  10. Although the film, with its home movies and family reminiscences, portrays him as a heroic crusader for justice, it is by no means a hagiography of a man who earned widespread contempt late in his career for defending pariahs.
  11. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    50
    In attempting to address its subject's ideological discrepancies, "Kunstler" lacks the objectivity needed to put the lawyer's shift from '60s fist-pumper to '80s and '90s headline-grabber in proper context.
  12. This doc, made by Kunstler's daughters Emily and Sarah, doesn't pretend to be unbiased, but it nonetheless has an unblinking view of its subject. They must have learned a thing or two from dad.
  13. The film slowly loses the sobering toughness of its initial inquiry, and finally comes off as bloodline-biased hagiography.
  14. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    40
    What makes the film fascinating is the anguished dance around hagiography performed by two of his daughters, who wrote, directed, and narrated the movie.

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