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Fay Grim Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… artfully stylized scenes about who knows what. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The faux espionage plot, with its winks at terrorism, is really just a convoluted plea for the relevance of precious indie artistes (i.e., Hal Hartley).

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The result is that we feel deliberately distanced from the film. It is not so much an exercise in style as an exercise in search of a style. The story doesn't involve us because we can't follow it, and we doubt if the characters can, either.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    Hartley's kooky cosmopolitan caper can never be accused of slumming, but the shift from dry, offbeat wit to politically charged drama is a little jarring, to say the least; it's a bit like taking in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" and having it morph mid-way through into "Shadows and Fog."

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The movie opens with wit and dash, then devolves into a rather generic spy thriller.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    Strikes me as something of an elaborate mistake, a wasted opportunity and a script Hartley should have discarded. But I liked it anyway.

    Read Full Review

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Parker Posey spy satire won't interest kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this dryly funny spy movie satire probably won't interest younger viewers (unless they're into conversations about aesthetics, morality, and recent global and economic history ...). A running joke touches on pornography, and a 14-year-old supposedly gets a blow job at school (nothing is shown). Violence is pretty minor (shooting and some fighting, a couple of bloody wounds and falls) and shot in a highly stylized manner with exaggerated handheld camerawork. Lots of smoking and some swearing (mostly "f--k").

  • Families can talk about what this movie is satirizing. Are there certain spy movie conventions that it's spoofing? What are they? What makes something a satire? Are satires always funny? Families can also discuss how the movie's spies and terrorists behave similarly -- and how they're different.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Spies lie and cheat to get information; affiliations and loyalties change according to convenience; Fay's love for her son and Henry is true.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Lots of talk about espionage, nuclear missiles, torture, and war zones (mostly abstract); some fights and shoot-outs (which tend to be stylized, in slow- and stop-motion and close-up); bomb threat; spy threatens to shoot a 14-year-old boy; French cops assault a building like a SWAT team.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Ned receives a pornographic device in which he can view an orgy (it's never visible, but multiple viewers describe it, mentioning three participants and a goat); Fay says she read the "dirty parts" of Henry's confessions (no details); Ned is suspended for reportedly getting a blow job from two schoolgirls (again, no details); Fay appears in her tub while talking to her son (viewers see her from the neck up).

  • language false3

    Language: Several uses of "f--k," plus other occasional language, like "s--t," "a--hole," "half-assed," and "hell."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Mention of Haagen-Dazs.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters (Fay, Henry, and Andre especially) smoke cigarettes and drink wine and liquor. Fay appears giddily drunk after drinking (off-screen) during a flight to Europe.