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The Flick

Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Slow, Original
82
Critics
83
30 reviews
Members
82
90 reviews
 

Annie Baker's Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the tiny battles and not-so-tiny heartbreaks of three underpaid ushers in a run-down movie palace.

... Read more

While they mop the floors and attend to the 35 millimeter film projector at a theater in central Massachusetts, the ushers' own stories play out in the empty aisles, becoming more gripping than the lackluster, second-run movies on screen. With keen insight and a finely-tuned comic eye, Pulitzer Prize-winner 'The Flick' is a hilarious and heart-rending cry for authenticity in a fast-changing world.

 

Cast & Creatives (11)


Reviews (120)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
83
Avg Score

90
The New York Times

"A work of art so strange and fresh that it definitely freaks people out...There’s nothing radical about the language or the story, nor anything visibly avant-garde to shock the sensibility...In ways subtle and smart, it glancingly addresses issues of class and race, of who gets ahead and who gets left behind, and why. And while its style might be called micro-naturalism, or naturalism on steroids, there’s much art in Ms. Baker’s construction and a large vision behind the play’s concept." Full Review

55
New York Post

"'The Flick' won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, but it wasn’t a home run for Playwrights Horizons: Some subscribers were so annoyed by the actionless, leisurely pacing that artistic director Tim Sanford felt compelled to respond with a letter...Now 'The Flick' is back, and at a commercial house, too. Just make sure you get the extra-large pack of Twizzlers." Full Review

85
Variety

"Annie Baker’s excruciatingly funny 2013 play, 'The Flick,' is back on the boards, none the worse for winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama...Helmer Sam Gold recreates his hyper-naturalistic take on the material for this 16-week limited engagement, in a brilliantly engineered production that features the original, dead-perfect cast of four." Full Review

90
Time Out New York

"Despite its length and aura of depressive inertia, 'The Flick' is a curiously light play about a shadowy topic: the difficulty of telling real life from projections—cinematic and the kind we put on each other...'The Flick' remains an extraordinarily engrossing, funny, weird, sweet and just plain concrete experience... Likewise, the acting has grown richer and keener, studies in longing and detachment that retain a teasing inscrutability." Full Review

90
Theatermania

"Even if you've already experienced 'The Flick,' see it again. And prepare to be even more blown away...What makes 'The Flick' so extraordinary is the confluence of Baker's writing style and Gold's direction. Just as much of the dialogue is communicated through long periods of silence as through the seemingly meaningless conversations the characters have about film, life, and romance." Full Review

85
The Hollywood Reporter

"There are times when 'The Flick' feels undeniably and willfully self-indulgent...The play could probably have made the same points at far less length. But then we would have been deprived of the opportunity of spending so much time with these characters, who by the evening's end have thoroughly burrowed under our skin." Full Review

90
AM New York

"Many (myself included) became strangely transfixed by the play's gentle texture, compassionate point of view, close-up realism and complex characters, as portrayed by an excellent four-member cast under Sam Gold's focused direction...There's no denying that 'The Flick' requires a good deal of patience from its audience. But by the end, after three hours and fifteen minutes, I was so hooked that I could have lingered even longer." Full Review

90
Deadline

"I’m strongly urging everyone I know to see it. Which will surely strike them as odd, because the first time around, I said it was about the worst play I’d ever seen, 3-plus hours of torture. Guess what? I was wrong...On second viewing, I found myself completely drawn into the private worlds and fumbled intersections of these three ordinary lives. Somewhere in the long spaces between words fitfully spoken are acutely and empathically observed people whose problems by the end I really got in to." Full Review

90
NorthJersey.com

"It's the play's great length that allows us to sink into their work lives, to experience, in a vicarious way, the soul-deadening tedium of endlessly repeating the same simple tasks. It also enables us to appreciate the characters' resiliency, the desire to form links with one another, however shallow and brief they might be. 'The Flick' compels its audiences to experience theater — to connect to characters — in a fresh way. That can only be a good thing." Full Review

70
WNBC

"The tediously natural two-act drama is aimed squarely at film appreciators...I’m talking hardcore cinephiles, who can play six-degrees-of-movie-separation between Michael J. Fox and Britney Spears while tossing back stale popcorn. It also feels like a remarkably genuine depiction of what we often hear tossed around as the human condition." Full Review

90
Broadway Blog

"The average audience member must simply settle in for the three-plus hours and trust that he or she will be carried on an emotional journey worth the investment. Most will feel the pay-off from Sam Gold’s delicate direction and supreme performances by the cast...This is Annie Baker’s story to tell. And that she does, one deliberate word and stage direction at a time." Full Review

85
As Her World Turns

"The play is a slice of life — or, at 3 hours and 15 minutes long, more like the whole pie — detailing little moments that happen over the course of numerous shifts at the movie theater. Annie Baker is not afraid to let her characters (and the audience) sit in silence for long stretches while Avery and Sam sweep up popcorn between the aisles. It’s unlike any play I’ve ever seen, and I mean that to be the highest compliment." Full Review

90
New Jersey Newsroom

"The show remains a truly fascinating piece of hyper-real drama. Baker’s contemporary play regards the dreary days in the lives of three employees in a single-screen art movie house in Massachusetts...Sound dull? It isn’t. The playwright gradually and subtly reveals the inner lives and personal aches of these individuals who remain untouched by the magic that flickers on the screen." Full Review

95
Philadelphia Inquirer

"The emphasis is on visual image, not dialogue; film, as Edward Albee has said, hates words, and theatre loves them. The pauses here are of astonishing length—Pinter, in his wildest dreams, never risked this...I am enchanted and mystified by this long, long, fine, fine play that refuses to pander to either our need for sentimental reassurances or our impatience. 3¼ hours seems just right." Full Review

90
Entertainment Weekly

"Annie Baker’s moving, magnificent workplace comedy...'The Flick' is flawed, but in the way that all epic, idea-filled, great plays are. It’s overlong. So’s 'King Lear.' It’s repetitive. So is 'Long Day’s Journey Into Night.' More than anything, 'The Flick' is a masterpiece of tone. Baker knows that the greatest American dramas about how we live now rarely arrive at the party all dressed up as important works of art. We’d all be wiser for giving them a minute—or even 180 minutes—of our time." Full Review

90
Stage Buddy

"'The Flick' is consistently funny, the delivery of lines so delightfully playful at times in spite of the characters being a woeful bunch...Ms. Baker’s script is surprising in that as simple and as trivial as things first appear, an interesting story unravels slowly, revealing great insight into these three characters and their different worlds. Peeling like layers of an onion, its revelations sit with you long after it’s over." Full Review

90
The New York Times

for a previous production "Love, friendship and the daily grind all take on a distinctly sticky quality in “The Flick,” a moving, beautifully acted and challengingly long new play...Without question 'The Flick' requires your patience, but it rewards that patience too, bountifully." Full Review

70
New York Post

for a previous production "It’s good, sometimes very good, but it’s not even close to great...Baker renders the tedium of petty jobs and the filling of hours with deadpan accuracy, and she doesn’t shy from the painful impact of betrayal. But you also wish she’d get out of her comfort zone and test herself against greatness. A failure may be more powerful than her current success." Full Review

80
Variety

for a previous production "This never-dull and consistently surprising scribe observes the aimless lives of three movie theater ushers with sharp insight and grave tenderness...It’s the dramatic intention of this savvy scribe to convey, in something like real time, the stultifying, stupefying, brain-eating boredom of the no-exit lives these alienated young people are trapped in. But it doesn't take three hours to accomplish this, and after the first two hours, it feels like self-indulgence." Full Review

80
Time Out New York

for a previous production "We would tire of these flawed souls—each retarded, in the strictest sense of the word—were Baker not so sympathetic or the actors so perfectly cast and a joy to watch...Best of all: This hypnotic, heartbreaking micro-epic about movies and moving on is irreducibly theatrical; it could never be adapted for the big screen." Full Review

80
New York Theater

for a previous production "The cast is exceptional, and the play is quietly breathtaking...They want to capture the rhythms of daily life, the real way that people speak; this takes time. At the same time, Baker is also bursting with things she wants to tell us about the three central characters – about their life stories, about their interaction, about their relationship over time – and also about the evolution of the American movie theater. The result of these two impulses is a play that takes on too much." Full Review

90
New York Magazine / Vulture

for a previous production "No one does anything generally regarded as theatrical. So what does happen in The Flick? The tenderest drama — funny, heartbreaking, sly, and unblinking — now playing at a theater near you...It’s uncanny; rarely has so much feeling been mined from so little content. Something’s lost in the process, of course: brevity. Baker’s technique requires lots of time, not much of it devoted to speech...But for me, the silence, like a halo, makes everything it surrounds more beautiful." Full Review

75
New York Daily News

for a previous production "Annie Baker’s up-close portraits of ordinary people have earned her the label of master miniaturist. She remains true to form when it comes to the intimacy in her acutely observed and affecting new character study. But at three hours, the play is anything but mini...The pace is deliberately slow; the tone relentlessly mellow. 'The Flick' demands patience for a payoff. And it reaps satisfying dividends thanks to fine-tuned writing, acting and direction." Full Review

70
Gothamist

for a previous production "The dreary atmosphere that permeates life at 'The Flick' is recreated with militant realism; it rolls out over the real-life audience like a fog that starts to feel a little oppressive. It could be that, as Wallace Shawn once put it, I've 'always really been a lowbrow at heart,' but after a while I started hoping the workers would finish up so I could watch a movie." Full Review

75
The Huffington Post

for a previous production "Sometimes slow but very funny...While Gold gets engaging performances from all three actors, the action is stretched out way too long and the play sags in several silent scenes. The tedious, repetitive nature of these low-paying jobs could be conveyed onstage more concisely, with less unnecessarily prolonged silences or extended epilogue music from films." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
82
Avg Score

60
Quirky, Banal, Cliched, Slow, Sophomoric

See it if you like to see real life on stage. Events happen in real time (like cleaning up the movie theater). Banal philosophizing (cell call).

Don't see it if you want action; this is talky. I was bored and annoyed. Can't understand why it won the Pulitzer. Gold's direction exacerbated the banality

Also I have to admit that I left at intermission. I was too unimpressed. It... Read more Read less

75
Great acting, Banal, Overrated, Slow, Too long

See it if You're a fan of more character-driven pieces, rather than action filled ones.

Don't see it if You are easily bored.

95
Must see, Quirky, Refreshing, Riveting, Slow

See it if you love incredibly inventive storytelling & staging & acting. The play turned me into a lifelong fan of Annie Baker.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with long drawn out silence.

95
Funny, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Slow

See it if You appreciate brilliant writing and nuanced acting. Bonus points if you're a film geek but not necessary to appreciate its greatness.

Don't see it if You lack patience - it's long and at times can feel slow. Those stretches are deliberate and necessary to the overall vibe if this piece.

54
Great acting, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You want to see a Pulitzer Prize winning play. You want to see a mildly entertaining yet boring play about youth working in a movie theater

Don't see it if You have something better to see. You want profound writing and to be entertained all the way through.

83
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You want to see great theater which - in simple ways - explores themes of human connection, love, and responsibility.

Don't see it if You're not prepared for a thoughtful, compelling piece of theater - by watching the interaction and relationships unfold among three people.

92
Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Must see

See it if If you love great writing and great acting. This play as it all

Don't see it if you can't handle a 3 hr play. I could have watched this go on for another hour.

90
Quirky, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you want to see a play with fantastic writing which is very relevant today and brings common yet dynamic characters to the stage

Don't see it if you don't like long plays or lengthy pauses between dialogue. you have no interest in cinema or movie references.

95
Original, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Must see, Great writing

See it if cool-headed & warm-hearted, funny, haunting, & deft. Recalibrates your clock with long silences, spurs you to think, invites you to change

Don't see it if you don't want a play to ask more of you than 90 mins

71
Original, Edgy, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you like plays with character development.

Don't see it if don't like talk-based plays.

85
Original, Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Slow

See it if you want to see fantastic acting, beautiful writing and staging of a play in which little happens, but many little details are revealed.

Don't see it if you want a lot of plot or a lot of action, or if you don't want a slow play with a long running time. This one demands your attention.

97
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing

See it if you love people dealing with very ordinary situations and naturalistic acting

Don't see it if you want a true plot line or the thought of sitting through a 3 hour play doesn't appeal to you

100
Original, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Slow

See it if You can tolerate a script that moves at the speed of life; maybe you meditate? And you are interested in real people with current problems

Don't see it if you can't physically sustain a very long play (try the matinee)

94
Absorbing, Enchanting, Surreal, Transporting, Otherworldly

See it if You loved any of the other Sam Gold + Annie Baker collaborations (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, John, etc.)

Don't see it if You disliked any of the other Sam Gold + Annie Baker collaborations (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, John, etc.)

93
Absorbing, Smart, Kyle beltrain, Interesting characters

See it if You like a show with good character development, something smart and engaging. Has humor, drama, asks good questions.

Don't see it if You do not enjoy dialogue based plays, do not want to be too involved with the characters.

84
Funny, Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if You're the type of person that needs to see any play that's won the Pulitzer.

Don't see it if You can't sit still for three hours or require a lot of action in your plays.

94
Funny, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You want to see a unique play with fantastic acting that will stay with you for a long time.

Don't see it if You find long plays where not much happens boring. But this play is worth it if you have the time.

69
Original, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you are a fan of Annie Baker, enjoy her writing and her use of pauses for dramatic effects.

Don't see it if are not a fan of Annie Baker and her over use of overly long pauses which IMO got monotonous after a while.

75
Original, Great acting, Masterful, Quirky, Slow

See it if you're drawn to the bare bones of theatre. In a mundane setting, The Flick features intricate characters brought to life by skilled actors.

Don't see it if you prefer fast-paced performances. The production is long and contains many pauses.

100
Enchanting, Intelligent, Masterful, Profound, Great writing

See it if You care intensely about the nuance and quality of the scriptwriting

Don't see it if You need a fast moving plot or don't like long awkward pauses

100
Original, Absorbing, Must see, Quirky, Great writing

See it if Like real time minimalist plays. The state of living in America today.

Don't see it if Dislike the above

90
Ambitious, Masterful, Profound

See it if You're a patient theater-goer who does not mind a great story that takes its time.

Don't see it if You've got someplace to be by 11 pm.

90
Original, Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you're interested in one of the brightest voices in American playwriting who can craft believable young people

Don't see it if you can't stand pauses or you hate good theater

95
Original, Absorbing, Ambitious, Epic, Profound

See it if slice-of-life-talky-with-long-silences dramas where little happens is your thing. Was totally riveted the entire 3+ hours.

Don't see it if slice-of-life-talky-with-long-silences dramas where little happens is not your thing.

90
Funny, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Slow, Entertaining

See it if you're ready to be absorbed in the world of the play, ready to laugh and to slowly understand each character. Use the bathroom before act 1

Don't see it if 1 hour 40 minute acts aren't for you. Not much happens on stage, so if you don't like the characters you won't like the play