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Rated NR · 84 minutes · 2010

Biography, Docudrama, Drama
I don’t know much about Allen Ginsberg, but after seeing Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s film about the man, I would like to know more. Epstein and Friedman, normally documentary filmmakers, make a film that doesn’t shoot for a biographical feel, but more of a poetic vibe. Much of the film involves Ginsberg (James Franco) simply reading the legendary “Howl” in a coffeehouse. There’s also some interesting, free-flowing animation that accompanies some of the readings, and a re-creation of an early interview with Ginsberg that has, not surprisingly, a documentary feel. Also thrown into the mix is an obscenity trial (with David Strathairn and Jon Hamm playing lawyers) during which “Howl” was put under the microscope. Franco does very good work here, as do Hamm and Strathairn. The film feels more like a documentary re-creation than a standard narrative film, and that makes it all the more interesting.
Official Site: howlthemovie.com
Director: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Producer: Elizabeth Redleaf, Christine Walker, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Gus Van Sant and Jawal Nga
Cast: James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Bob Balaban, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams, Alessandro Nivola, Todd Rotondi, Jon Prescott and Aaron Tveit

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Howl

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What others are saying (7)

East Bay Express Bohemian Rhapsody: Howl and Jack Goes Boating James Franco blazes as Allen Ginsberg; Philip Seymour Hoffman quietly simmers. by Kelly Vance 09/22/2010
Boise Weekly Howl In the end, this movie is interesting, but it commits the original sin of cinema. by George Prentice 11/03/2010
Portland Mercury Of Allen Ginsberg and Gay Nazis The Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival returns. by Brad Buckner, Alison Hallett, Sarah Mirk, Ned Lannamann and Zac Pennington 09/30/2010
4 more reviews...
Memphis Flyer Beat Happening Howl: Better than a poetry reading. by Addison Engelking 10/29/2010
Creative Loafing Atlanta Poetry in motion James Franco's Howl proves more than the sum of its parts by Curt Holman 10/22/2010
Charleston City Paper Allen Ginsberg rocks the literary world in Howl On one hand, you have the straight bio-pictures: the Rays and Amelias and Malcolm X's, which hit the key milestones in a life. And then there are the rarer expressionistic portraits, the Jackson Pollock splatters which strive more to capture the spirit of a life. David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch is one, and Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is another. by Felicia Feaster 11/03/2010
Boise Weekly The Projector: Movies opening Friday, Nov. 5 Galifianakis (again?) as the hilarious sidekick (again?); Franco reads Ginsberg; the Coen Bros. reimagined; 20 stories of issues colored women deal with; the first 24 hours of the Lebanon War; and how the line between the good guys and the bad guys sometimes gets blurred. Plus a slew of special screenings. It's all at the movies. 11/05/2010

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