Howl Synopsis
The impact of Allen Ginsberg's landmark poem unfolds, as a court battle wages to ban the book.
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Movie Reviews

Critic Ratings


New York Post

By Lou Lumenick
This multi-pronged labor of love doesn't always work, but it often does, sometimes in ways that take your breath away.
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Washington Post

By Ann Hornaday
Howl mixes a number of story lines and aesthetic approaches: We get glimpses of Ginsberg's early days as a poet, including his...
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
One of the qualities I like about this film is that the writer-directors, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, are aware of the time when Beat...
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By Scott Tobias
Epstein and Friedman's doc-like approach also results in a certain dramatic stasis; Howl is a film aimed more for the head than the gut.
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By Michelle Orange
The result is more fancy than funky, but the directors' aim is true and occasionally hits its mark.
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The Hollywood Reporter

By Kirk Honeycutt
What's cinematic experimentation without a few failures in the lab? Maybe that's why Howl is so appealing: The filmmakers don't get...
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Chicago Tribune

By Michael Phillips
It's well-crafted, but I wish the film showed us an additional dimension or two of the central figure, who once said the great challenge in...
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New York Daily News

By Joe Neumaier
A movie with no clear narrative. It pushes boundaries and feels like one man's fever dream. But all those traits would certainly make Allen...
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Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
Well intentioned on every level, the movie is successful only on some, and it falls flat when trying to visualize the innards of the poem...
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San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
The result is a film of passion and ambition, but one whose success is intermittent at best.
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By ChrisNYC
Excellent film about the writing of the famous poem and the immediate impact on its times vis a vis the obscenity trial relating to its publication. James Franco does a remarkable transformation. ...


By mghaft
Unique film. Highly recommend it. James Franco was very good and the animation was really great and tracked the poem so well. You will understand Allen Ginsberg very well after seeing this film , to...

Fans of Franco Must See

By Sheltiemomm
Artists, biolovers, historians, and those who love well made, mature, cerebral movies, will want to see HOWL. I just saw it on cable; it wasn't playing anywhere :( Not for kids under fifteen; older...


By whitney_1117
This is one of the best films that I have seen in years. As someone who does not have an extensive background in literature, I found this movie instructive, as well as amazing. The mixed style...

A big part of this "film" is an animated cartoon

By review_central
Saw it last night. What some reviews don't mention -- and what you really need to know -- is that a very large portion of this movie is an animated cartoon -- literally, a cartoon with cartoon...


By FDoner
Brilliant, sensitive, faithful to Allen Ginsberg's legacy without romanticizing or exploiting it. A very honestly told story. The courtroom drama played well. The filmmakers took a risk with the...

Five Word Review

By nyimage
innovative capturing of the moment...


By marylizmartin

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Five Word Review

By Fencester
Important film with great acting...

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Rated R | For Strong sexual content including language and images, and for some drug material