• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 23, 2011
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Apr 21, 2011
    50
    Cinema Verite is smart and often moving, but unsatisfying overall.
  2. Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Apr 25, 2011
    80
    Cinema Verite is short (not even 90 minutes), smooth and brisk.
  3. Reviewed by: Rob Humanick
    Apr 25, 2011
    63
    Looks notwithstanding, these TV and movie vets fashion thoughtful, flesh-and-blood individuals whose efforts at achieving happiness seem locked in a perpetual reach for self-awareness. Too bad they're nearly wasted in this hour and a half of paint-by-colors television.
  4. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Apr 25, 2011
    80
    HBO's drama Cinema Verite is a searing and irresistible look at the making of An American Family and an incisive dissection of the mendacity of what we so absurdly call reality TV.
  5. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Apr 25, 2011
    60
    An intriguing but often clumsy new movie about the making of the TV show.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Apr 25, 2011
    83
    Additional time would have made Verite more convincing. At 90 minutes, it runs short, especially as the family copes with its newfound notoriety
  7. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Apr 25, 2011
    60
    Cinema Verite is not a bad movie at all but its failing is an ironic one: it smooths out the messiness and non sequiturs of real life to fit its story into a neat feature-film arc.
  8. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Apr 22, 2011
    60
    It plays, for better and worse, like a slightly elevated version of one of those issue-of-the-week telefilms of the old school, with their teen traumas and kitchen-sink melodramas.
  9. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Apr 22, 2011
    70
    HBO's punchy, pungent but ultimately facile Cinema Verite dramatizes the making of 1973's revolutionary PBS (!) docu-series An American Family, a precursor to today's exhibitionistic "reality" freak shows.
  10. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Apr 22, 2011
    60
    As the Loud family fractures and then reunites to fight back against their critics, Cinema Verite settles into melodrama that Lane's solid performance can only partly hold together.
  11. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Apr 22, 2011
    50
    As an attempt to tell the truth about an attempt to tell the truth about the state of domestic relations in a time of changing values, Cinema Verite fails--it cannot help but fail--as anything but a platform for some interesting performances and a few explicitly, loudly and briefly argued ideas about where one should draw the line when you point a camera into innocent people's lives.
  12. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Apr 22, 2011
    50
    Cinema Verite dramatizes the making of "An American Family," but it dwells too long on the setup and doesn't spend nearly enough time on the public response to the program and the impact that reaction (much of it negative) had on the Louds.
  13. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Apr 21, 2011
    60
    Cinema Verite is a clever, beautifully made but somehow underwhelming re-enactment of the breakup of the Loud marriage, on camera and off.
  14. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Apr 21, 2011
    100
    Even without the original source material, Cinema Verite offers provocative insight into how far we've become lost in the reality-TV wilderness in the past 40 years.
  15. Reviewed by: Paige Wiser
    Apr 21, 2011
    88
    At the end, Cinema Verite shows how the Louds dealt with the notoriety after the series aired, and where they are now. Cinema Verite blurs the lines even more - but there's a perverse logic to that.
  16. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Apr 21, 2011
    75
    Cinema Verite works in the same off-kilter way that HBO's "Grey Gardens" worked.
  17. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Apr 21, 2011
    80
    A finely constructed docu-dramatic piece, Cinema Verite folds together the stories of the Louds of Santa Barbara and the PBS filmmakers who took over their home, and it adds in both real and expertly re-created footage from the 12 episodes of "An American Family."
  18. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Apr 21, 2011
    50
    Cinema Verite harbors some merit, and is worth seeing if only for Lane. That said, it's a disappointingly shallow treatment considering the wealth of potential within the premise and period.
  19. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Apr 21, 2011
    83
    Cinema Verite's strength is in dramatizing the off-camera seductions and betrayals that led to the Louds being vilified in many quarters before the entire family went on The Dick Cavett Show to both tell their side of the story and confront filmmaker Craig Gilbert.
  20. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Apr 20, 2011
    100
    Not a dull or wasted moment, and Lane may have just turned in the one of the best performances of her career.
  21. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Apr 15, 2011
    91
    This wonderful docudrama about its [An American Family] making, chronicles a loss of media innocence. [22/29 Apr 2011, p.92]
  22. Reviewed by: Dorothy Rabinowitz
    Apr 15, 2011
    100
    They [the Loud family] are to the contrary enlarged, explained, their family loyalty honored, in a film that ends up packing an emotional punch that's as surprising as it is eloquent.
  23. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Apr 15, 2011
    100
    In Cinema Verite, 90 minutes might not do justice to the historical impact of An American Family. But it makes you wish there were 90 more minutes to the story, which is saying something.

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