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The Hoax Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… smart, morally conflicted, idiosyncratic … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The narrative engine leaves the rails when Irving, like Hughes, plunges into paranoia (though Irving actually is the object of a high-level plot) and the style turns to the sort of intensely manipulated surrealism that Charlie Kaufman practiced, not successfully, in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    Isn't all it could have been. But the filmmakers catch the right glittery look and paranoid intensity, and they make gutsy speculations about the story beneath the story.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Richard James Havis

    Entertaining and piquant. The film does possess some of the bittersweet qualities that usually mark Hallstrom's films, but it's generally a tougher, more incisive work that ranks as one of his best.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The Hoax lures you in with its captivating performances.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Gere is terrific at suggesting the kind of addictive cocktail of excitement, panic, chutzpah, creativity, and naked hunger for fame and megabucks that might inspire such big, fat lies.

    Read Full Review

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Amoral con artist's true tale will pull adults in.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that most kids and teens probably won't be interested in this sophisticated drama about literary fraud. Lying, criminality, greed, and other iffy behavior are treated with humor, and the man behind it all is portrayed as likeable -- even heroic -- in some instances. Characters break the law and hurt the people they love with ease and very little conscience, and there's lots of swearing and some drinking and drug use.

  • Families can talk about how Irving used the media to help make his fraud convincing. Do you think he could have pulled it off in today's more sophisticated media environment? With even more information about public figures now available on TV and the Internet, do you think they're more vulnerable to manipulation and deceit? How about regular people? Do you think it's appropriate to use humor to show serious themes? Families can also discuss how easily people can be fooled if they're willing to buy into a deception. Why did other characters believe Irving? Did they have something to gain?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The main character is a charming anti-hero who's manipulative, deceitful, and narcissistic. He's surrounded by people who either bend to his will or want to believe him for their own financial gain. Even his best friend -- a good, caring man -- is deceived by him and participates in his scam. Almost everyone pays a price for his/her iffy behavior, but that price is relatively small. No characters are portrayed as honest, moral, or corruption-proof.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Violence is limited to an imagined sequence that includes one punch and one fall.

  • sex false3

    Sex: No overt sexual activity. Two scenes take place after sex has occurred; one includes a glimpse of breast. It's later discovered that in one instance the sex was paid for.

  • language false5

    Language: Lots of swearing -- particularly "f--k."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: One shot of TAB cola.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking and smoking. Lead characters are drunk in several sequences. Main character is revealed to self-medicate with prescription drugs.