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Flash of Genius Review Critics


Dave White Profile

TV movie-ready mulch. 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.

  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Mr. Kinnear is fine; he's an actor we always like, and he gives a skillful, heartfelt performance. The problem is the material -- dramatic in the describing but painfully predictable in the telling.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    It's also solidly constructed throughout and the acting is impeccable. The problem is that it just lumbers along for two solid hours, never rising to any significant emotional or philosophical heights.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The courtroom scenes emphasize the movie's potency as a David and Goliath saga. But the film's strength lies in its fact-based story of a wronged man turned crusader, played with vigor by Kinnear.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The individual components of director Marc Abraham's David-and-Goliath drama are roundly unexceptional; the script, soft and teach-y; the performances, earnest.

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  • See all Flash of Genius reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Inventor fights for recognition in feel-good film.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fact-based "feel good" drama focuses on a determined man's unflagging quest to receive credit for his invention. Ultimately, it's heartening to see how far he gets, though some scenes may be overwhelming for very young children (for example, when the main character has a nervous breakdown). At times, the protagonist seems neglectful of his marriage and kids, but overall they're close and supportive. There's some swearing (including "s--t" and one use of "f--k"), social drinking, and smoking, but there's no violence or age-inappropriate sexual content.

  • Families can talk about why Robert Kearns' story made a good subject for a movie. How accurate do you think the film is? Why might filmmakers bend the truth when making a movie based on real life? How could you find out more about Kearns if you wanted to? Also, why do you think his struggle took over his life? Why was it so important to him to get credit? Did he go too far? What were the consequences of his obsession? What makes someone an inventor? Was his idea stolen, or are the facts of the case not cut and dried?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: A large company betrays a man who decides to fight obsessively to get the credit he thinks is rightfully his. To a certain extent, he sacrifices his family life in doing so. Nevertheless, the family is portrayed as supportive and encouraging, even in times of great difficulty.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: A man shows up unannounced at a company event and makes a scene; he's ushered out by security. A man throws a drink at a car. Otherwise, the battles are largely in the courtroom.

  • sex false1

    Sex: A little bit of kissing and sexual innuendo.

  • language false3

    Language: Some use -- at times by children -- of the words "bastard," "damn," and "s--t." One use of "f--k."

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Since the film is set in Detroit, there are many mentions of the big American automotive companies: Ford, Chrysler, GM. Car decals and logos are displayed, as is signage for dealerships and manufacturers. Some mention of Case Western University and Pepsi.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some social drinking; some smoking by minor characters (accurate for the time period).