(out of 5)
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.
Columbia Pictures Corporation, Filmhaus, Illusion Entertainment, Ixtlan, Phoenix Pictures
Directed by Milos Forman
Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot
Music by Thomas Newman
Production Design by Patrizia von Brandenstein
Film Editing by Christopher Tellefsen