Share:  

Reviews

Being Flynn Rolling Stone Review
Peter Travers
"Undeniably powerful! Robert De Niro gives a great performance!"
A young writer, coping with addiction, finally meets the drunk, delusional father he never knew at the homeless shelter where the writer works. That’s the improbable truth at the core of Being Flynn, the undeniably powerful film from writer and director Paul Weitz. Based on Nick Flynn’s potent 2004 memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (great title), Being Flynn is a film that aches with sadness. Paul Dano excels as Nick, the budding writer, poet and playwright who drifts through his twenties until he takes a job at the New York homeless shelter that employs his girlfriend, Denise (Olivia Thirlby). Seeing his father, Jonathan (Robert De Niro), lining up for the shelter is a jolt. Jonathan is a writer too, claiming to be on par with J.D. Salinger and Mark Twain. He talks obsessively of his magnum opus, Memoirs of a Moron, and unearths long-buried memories of Nick’s childhood and his troubled mother, Jody (the ever-superb Julianne Moore). The film is a duel between father and son, with Nick providing narration for each in the hope of understanding his old man. From L.I.E. to Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood, Dano has shown himself to be an actor of subtle brilliance. His quiet intensity is a wrenching contrast to De Niro’s unhinged flamboyance. Weitz directed De Niro in Little Fockers, a strained farce that barely tapped the actor’s skills. Here, you can feel De Niro’s full engagement in a character that echoes his roles in Taxi Driver and Awakenings. It’s a great wreck of a performance that feels bruisingly true.
Being Flynn Vanity Fair Review
Paul Mazursky
"Robert De Niro is magnificent. A smashing performance in a very fine film."

Go see Being Flynn! A movie that has really powerful feelings in it, something you don’t get much of these days! Robert De Niro is magnificent. A smashing performance in a very fine film. I think he’ll get nominated for an Oscar. Paul Dano is wonderful as the complicated younger Flynn. Julianne Moore turns in a perfect performance.

Being Flynn New York Times
A.O. Scott
"There is honest feeling, genuine humanity & real intelligence in this movie"

There is honest feeling, genuine humanity and real intelligence in this movie… Provides a reminder of what a resourceful, unpredictable and subtle actor Mr. De Niro can be. Mr. Dano is a quiet, inscrutable presence…a blend of sensitivity and bottled-up rage, that makes him an intriguing foil for Mr. De Niro, as he was for Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will be Blood.

Being Flynn Time Magaizne Review
Mary Pols
"Moving! Paul Dano is one of America’s best young actors."
On several occasions in Being Flynn, a bleak but moving study of familial and societal estrangement, Paul Dano, one of America’s best but most offbeat young actors, lets his tiny Raphaelite mouth hang open in surprise. Dano’s natural remove, which already served him well in movies like There Will be Blood and Little Miss Sunshine, is exactly right for Nick. Cinematically, Dano brings just the right edge of dazed uncertainty to the part — even knowing this movie was based on a successful memoir I wasn’t sure onscreen Nick would ever get his own act together. It’s no wonder the movie is no walk in the park, even with a pretty soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy (again, like About a Boy). Julianne Moore can do much with little (she conveys all of Jody’s resentment and resignation with a single dismissive “ha”) but Jody is underwritten to the point that a key decision she makes remains a nagging mystery.
Being Flynn Life&Style Review
Dan Jewel
Being Flynn 4 stars
"The first great movie of 2012! Moving, funny and whip-smart."
4 stars! A struggling writer reconnects with his troubled dad (Robert De Niro) after 18 years apart – and both of their lives start to unravel. Based on a true story – and with a brilliant cast, including Julianne Moore and There Will Be Blood’s Paul Dano – this moving, funny and whip-smart drama is the first great movie of 2012.
Being Flynn The Hollywood Reporter Review
Todd McCarthy
"Robert De Niro gives an honest, vibrant performance. Paul Dano is a splendid counterbalance. His performance is restrained but open-hearted."
Robert De Niro and writer-director Paul Weitz find the most congenial material either of them has had in quite some time in Being Flynn. When it sinks in after a while that this film actually provides a meaty, serious role for De Niro rather than just a cameo, you wrack your brain trying to remember the last time the actor had a really good lead part in a quality movie. The answer is, probably 17 years ago, in 1995, when both Casino and Heat came out. Shocking, but true. It's also the case that De Niro, playing crazy old Jonathan Flynn, who claims that he, Mark Twain and J.D. Salinger are the only great American writers, gives an honest, vibrant performance after an overextended sojourn through paycheck territory. Happily, he's got a splendid counterbalance in Paul Dano. The sources of the film's gratifying equilibrium would seem to lie equally with the carefully balanced structure of Weitz's script and Dano's restrained but open-hearted performance. De Niro supplies the volatility associated with the Elia Kazan school of acting, but Dano refrains from responding in kind, offering an unusual sort of serene transparency that is not only dramatically effective but quietly suggests the nature of a thoughtful formative writer digesting life experience for future use. Badly Drawn Boy, aka singer-songwriter Damon Gough, provided the effective musical backdrop for About a Boy, which Weitz co-directed with his brother Chris in 2002, and does the same here with an engagingly offbeat selection of songs. Declan Quinn's sharp cinematography and Sarah Knowles' attentive production design, linked to New York-area locations (Flynn's memoir is set in Boston), are major pluses.