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All the King's Men Review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0
    37

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 10

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    What a botch. All the King's Men, a remake of Robert Rossen's classic 1949 film about the rise and fall of a Southern demagogue, has no center, no coherence, no soul and no shame.

  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Writer-director Steven Zaillian's version stultifies, especially when compared with Robert Rossen's fiery 1949 Oscar winner. How could such dullness defeat the retelling, when Willie Stark is one of the most vivid characters in 20th-century American popular culture?

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  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    You can't help but have high expectations from Zaillian and this stellar cast. But the result this time is a thuddingly tedious soap opera.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Audience can certainly find entertainment in this movie, so long as no one takes things too seriously. One suspects, however, that Zaillian and a vast team of producers and executive producers that includes political consultant and pundit James Carville believe they are making a serious commentary on American politics. It comes closer to kitsch.

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  • See all All the King's Men reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Ambitious, slow-moving, trite political drama.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this intense political drama will probably be of little interest to their kids. Women are sexual objects for men. Some women dance onstage wearing scant clothing and striking provocative poses, while another young woman, romanticized in soft light, appears both naked in a river and undressing for sex with her partner. A politician travels with a bodyguard who carries and shoots a pistol. Two bloody shootings, one of which is a suicide. Characters frequently smoke cigars and cigarettes, and a couple of them are alcoholics.

  • Families can talk about the political process. Candidates are often elected based on promises to voters -- what happens after they're elected, when their efforts to fulfill those promises encounter roadblocks like lack of funding or loss of idealism? Do voters really believe that campaign promises will be kept? Should politicians be more accountable to their constituents? What are the strengths and weaknesses of America's political system?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Politicians, lawmen, and reporters engage in corrupt activities (including graft, blackmail, and exchanges of favors).

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Characters fight, awkwardly; there's talk of a school fire that kills children (but only the funeral is shown on screen); after a suicide by shooting, there's blood on the wall; two men are shot to death, with blood on the bodies and oozing onto the floor around them.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Many images of women in the movie seem based solely on men's fantasies. Dancers on stage reveal cleavage, legs, and bottoms to Willie, who selects each night's sex partner from these semi-private auditions. In repeated flashbacks, Jack watches Anne naked in a river (from the back, in the moonlight) and remembers her undressing for bed, only to be disappointed at his own inaction (all of this is shown from his point of view, and the footage is "romantically" blurry).

  • language false3

    Language: Variation of n-word used by white men; other mild language ("hell").

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Frequent cigarette and cigar smoking; a couple of characters are alcoholics, and they and others drink to the point of drunkenness (including passing out).

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