This is a bold, inspiring piece of work, putting experimental techniques in the service of a heartfelt, insightful and surprisingly audience-friendly work of art.
- Tom Huddleston, Time Out, February 23, 2011
It's sweet stuff, a portrait of an artist in turmoil, under fire and laying himself bare. Howl captures Howl beautifully.
- Tom Long, Detroit News, January 28, 2011
Admirable if fundamentally academic.
- Todd McCarthy, Variety, January 03, 2011
What could have been a trivial exercise in nostalgia instead becomes a powerful case for the cathartic power of art.
- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, October 29, 2010
It's about literature itself, the ways in which it works on the reader and the folly of applying some objective standard of decency and meaning to words on a page.
- Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News, October 22, 2010
Howl is a disappointingly mundane movie about a vibrant, iconoclastic subject.
- Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald, October 22, 2010
Epstein and Friedman didn't write the film as much as assemble it, using actual interview quotes and court transcripts. And while the loose structure takes some getting used to, it's ultimately effective and at times thrilling.
- Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times, October 28, 2010
The film forces us to face what a powerful poem "Howl" remains. That poetry isn't just pretty language, it has the ability to make us think about our lives, even to change our lives.
- Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic, October 21, 2010
Despite James Franco's smart performance as poet Allen Ginsberg, this film rings hollow.
- Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, October 14, 2010
The language of that poem, which periodically pours out from the screen, is the best thing in the movie.
- Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor, October 08, 2010
The result, though clearly flawed, is passionate and ambitious, celebrating that long-gone era when a book of verse could spark a revolution in consciousness.
- J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader, October 08, 2010
The best thing about the film Howl is the poem Howl.
- Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail, October 08, 2010
How do you make poetry cinematic? "Howl,'' a new film about beat writer Allen Ginsberg, asks that question without realizing the question is backward. It should be: How do you make cinema poetic?
- Ty Burr, Boston Globe, September 30, 2010
It's well-crafted, but I wish the film showed us an additional dimension or two of the central figure, who once said the great challenge in writing, any kind of writing, is "to write the same way you are."
- Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, September 30, 2010
The bold, outspoken man of later days is seen here as still a middle-class youth, uncertain of his gayness, filled with the heady joy of early poetic success, learning how to be himself.
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, September 30, 2010
By the time this movie's over, you've spent an hour and a half just working your way through the words of "Howl" and some related source material, and that turns out to be a surprisingly satisfying thing to do.
- Dana Stevens, Slate, September 24, 2010
An exemplary work of literary criticism on film, explaining and contextualizing its source without deadening it.
- A.O. Scott, New York Times, September 24, 2010
Howl is a movie with no clear narrative. It pushes boundaries and feels like one man's fever dream. But all those traits would certainly make Allen Ginsberg happy.
- Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News, September 24, 2010
A film of passion and ambition, but one whose success is intermittent at best.
- Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, September 23, 2010
Happily, Ginsberg's words still cut recklessly through the years.
- Keith Phipps, AV Club, September 23, 2010