The Flick
82

The Flick NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(91 Reviews)
Positive
83%
Mixed
9%
Negative
8%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Slow, Original

About the Show

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.

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Member Reviews (91)

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60
Banal, Cliched, Sophomoric, Quirky, Slow

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 Read more

65
Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated, Slow, Banal

See it if you enjoy watching paint dry.

Don't see it if you like witty dialogue and fascinating characters.

Critic Reviews (30)

The New York Times
May 19th, 2015

"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."
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Time Out New York
May 20th, 2015

"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."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 18th, 2015

"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."
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Entertainment Weekly
May 18th, 2015

"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."
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Variety
May 18th, 2015

"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."
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Deadline
May 18th, 2015

"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."
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New York Post
May 19th, 2015

"'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."
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AM New York
May 18th, 2015

"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."
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Theatermania
May 18th, 2015

"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."
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Stage Buddy
May 20th, 2015

"'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."
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Broadway Blog
May 19th, 2015

"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."
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New Jersey Newsroom
May 19th, 2015

"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."
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NorthJersey.com
May 18th, 2015

"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."
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WNBC
May 18th, 2015

"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."
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As Her World Turns
June 29th, 2015

"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."
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Philadelphia Inquirer
May 18th, 2015

"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."
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The New York Times
March 12th, 2013
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."
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Time Out New York
March 12th, 2013
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."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
March 13th, 2013
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."
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Variety
March 12th, 2013
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."
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New York Post
March 13th, 2013
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."
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New York Daily News
March 12th, 2013
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."
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CurtainUp
February 12th, 2013
For a previous production

"One thing that was apparent was the preponderance of young people, almost all of whom appeared rapt in their recognition of the precisely distilled interaction between the play's characters. What was remarkable to witness was the willingness of a generation engaged in speedy if not instant visual and communicative gratification to plunge into Baker's signature world of people who articulate in halting, half-sentences and through the subtlest indications of body language. "
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New York Theater
March 12th, 2013
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."
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DC Theatre Scene
March 11th, 2013
For a previous production

"Now, if watching this sort of riveting activity is your cup of tea, you might find something of value up there on the stage. But this time out, all I could think, during most of the 180 minutes in my small seat, was that I was watching the Emperor without clothes...There is no plot. Well, there is a tiny one and I certainly won’t spoil what there is of it for you by giving it away. All I can say is it’s not worth waiting until deep in the second act to even discover what it is."
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The Huffington Post
March 13th, 2013
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."
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Gothamist
March 31st, 2013
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."
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Backstage
March 12th, 2013
For a previous production

“Playwright Annie Baker pushes her deliberately anti-theatrical approach to drama past the breaking point in “The Flick.” Despite the precise direction and fine performances, the artificiality of Baker’s attempt to dispense with artifice becomes glaringly apparent, while her characters aren’t interesting enough to justify the time spent with them.'The Flick' may be a worthy experiment, but not all experiments succeed."
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T
March 14th, 2013
For a previous production

"It is true that at times the play can feel like an experiment in theatrical duration, with more than a few false endings, one or two speeches of dubious import, and pauses that are often a touch too generous...but they are transformed into something other—something more humorous, less delicate, and therefore comprising an altogether more believable (and what’s more, watchable) catalogue of the petty but heartbreaking skirmishes that are the substance of our daily lives."
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Epoch Times
March 16th, 2013
For a previous production

"There were some amusing moments, enjoyed mostly by the younger viewers in their 20s and 30s. I felt that much of the material in Act 1 could be effectively emended. Playwright Annie Baker, a multiple theater award winner for her prior “Circle Mirror Transformation” has here failed to meet her own mark. Performances, as is so often the case in so much of New York theater, are excellent, though not vivid as the material does not lend itself to vivid performing."
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