Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1996. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Filmhaus, Illusion Entertainment, Ixtlan, Phoenix Pictures. Screenplay by Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski. Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot. Produced by Michael Hausman, Oliver Stone, Janet Yang. Music by Thomas Newman. Production Design by Patrizia von Brandenstein. Costume Design by Arianne Phillips, Theodor Pistek. Film Editing by Christopher Tellefsen.
Excellent biopic about Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and his struggles with censorship, its enjoyment not at all marred by the film’s cloying overemphasis on turning Flynt into a cuddly hero. Woody Harrelson gives his finest performance to date as the famed publishing magnate, a self-made man who believed strongly in his work and its right to liberal expression. Courtney Love as his wife Althea stops the show, her charisma matching Harrelson’s winsome humour the whole way, while Edward Norton is a breath of fresh air as Flynt’s long-devoted lawyer Alan Isaacman (in reality he’s an amalgamation of three or four of Flynt’s lawyers). Director Milos Forman’s use of Flynt’s trials as a representation for all artists who have their work challenged by censors may not go over well with the film’s entire audience, but as dramatic entertainment goes, it’s a winner. Of trivial note, production designer Patrizia von Brandenstein created the final Supreme Court sequence’s set in an old train station.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Actor (Woody Harrelson); Best Director (Milos Forman)
Berlin Film Festival Award: Golden Bear
Golden Globe Awards: Best Director (Milos Forman); Best Screenplay
Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Actor-Drama (Woody Harrelson); Best Actress-Drama (Courtney Love)
Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination: Best Actor (Woody Harrelson)