88

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Steven Rea
At once a deeply personal film and an important historical document, The Man Nobody Knew leaves us with an incomplete portrait of a man. Did Colby have a moral core? Did he know what was truth, and what was a lie? Did he sanction assassination plots? Did he love his family? Was he even capable of love?
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80

The Hollywood Reporter

By Frank Scheck
Carl Colby's deeply felt exploration of his father's life and career is as emotionally, as it is historically, intriguing, even if the filmmaker ultimately admits that he's never quite able to get to the bottom of his subject's enigmatic personality.
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80

Time Out New York

By David Fear
The film occasionally skews a little on the PBS-dry side, but in terms of looking back on a legacy of American skullduggery and high-level shenanigans, its access and acknowledgment of our dark past make for one intimate indictment.
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80

Village Voice

Respectful, loving, but never lionizing, Carl's thorough investigation transcends his personal catharsis to become an enduring treatise on how character flaws affect policy.
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80

The New York Times

Carl Colby's smart, fact-packed film The Man Nobody Knew operates on many levels, all riveting.
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75

Slant Magazine

At the same time that director Carl Colby probes into the true character of his mysterious father through an arsenal of interviews with those that knew him, he gives equal weight to the dark chapters of America's history that his father's life traversed.
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70

Wall Street Journal

By Joe Morgenstern
The Man Nobody Knew is packed with knowledge of another sort. It amounts to an absorbing, sometimes appalling course in how U.S. foreign policy evolved and functioned following World War II.
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70

Variety

By Ronnie Scheib
Oddly, the director's personal connection with his subject adds little warmth, filmmaker Carl proving nearly as unemotional as his deadpan dad.
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63

Boston Globe

By Mark Feeney
The family snapshots are more revealing. The sight of Colby wearing a tie at family picnics really says something about the sort of man he was. But they're not that much more revealing.
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50

San Francisco Chronicle

By Amy Biancolli
Even his wife barely knew him, recalling for her son the peculiarities of raising a family amid Daddy's cloak and dagger - and if she's baffled by his behavior, what hope is there for anyone else?
Full Review
71 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.