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The Congress

Sci-Fi . Animation . Science Fiction . Drama

An aging, out-of-work actress accepts one last job, though the consequences of her decision affect her in ways she didn't consider.

Actors: Robin Wright , Paul Giamatti , Harvey Keitel , Kodi Smit-McPhee , Danny Huston , Sami Gayle , Michael Stahl-David , Jon Hamm , Jörg Vincent Malotki
Directors: Ari Folman
Release: 2014-07-24
More Info:
  • Eric Kohn

    A wholly original and thoroughly surprising fusion of sensory overload and liberal philosophy bound to confuse and provoke in equal measures.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Scout Tafoya

    The Congress, playing fast and loose with a source novel by Stanislaw Lem, splits from its version of reality at the 45-minute mark, and at that point becomes a decadent post-modern classic. Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    The first half of “The Congress,” while still fascinating, does suffer a bit from keeping its focus on the gripes and accusations between Hollywood actors and producers...Once the Philip K. Dick-meets-”Inception” second half kicks in, the implications grow more universal. Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    The film has a transcendent spookiness.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Israeli director Ari Forman, whose 2009 "Waltz with Bashir" earned a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination, is a master at exploiting diverse animated styles, and draws a brave starring performance from a performer who, in her mid-40s, seems to be just hitting her stride.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    Ari Folman’s genre mash-up The Congress could use a freakier title, something either more appealing or appalling to go with the weird, sometimes wonderful visions flowing through it.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    This potent emotional undercurrent goes a long way toward counteracting the movie’s clumsier moments, carrying us aloft to a finale that, in its strange mix of trepidation and tenderness, is truly sublime.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Robert Abele

    In conjuring a fantastical slippery slope in which technology, pharmaceuticals and the entertainment industry co-star in a takeover of our lives, The Congress boasts a propulsive image-making pull.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Stephen Kelly

    Whether visual or thematic, Folman’s bold, eccentric ideas never fail to astound; but they also never truly cohere into a satisfying narrative throughline.

    Total Film Full Review
  • D.W. Mault

    For a film that looks at a believably nightmarish future, The Congress sits out of its time; a feverish relic of a post-revolutionary cinema of the mind that attempts to transcend the confines of a bloated filmic space that appears no longer interested in discourse, and would rather parley its audience into a stupefied boredom.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    The Congress doesn’t fully live up to its lofty ambitions, but it does attempt something most filmmakers wouldn’t even dream of — a dystopian blend of live-action and animation that acidly comments on some of Hollywood’s touchiest issues before drifting off into an existential fog.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Geoff Pevere

    There’s something to be said for a movie that manages to baffle and dazzle in equal measure. If Daffy Duck had taken up political and media theory, his brain might look like this.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Amy Nicholson

    Like its actress, it's an ambitious knockout that doesn't quite live up to its potential. But its argument is worth hearing: Instead of crying for the collapse of one actress, Folman is crying for the collapse of civilization, the triumph of the synthetic over the real.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Guy Lodge

    It's precisely as bonkers as it sounds, and at two hours, both wearisome and claustrophobic... But flashes of fury and beauty remain.

    HitFix Full Review
  • Jessica Kiang

    Overloaded with too many ideas, it does scant justice to the more interesting ones that crop up, while regularly diverting from any sort of central narrative to follow tenuous and ill-explained threads that end up in a foggy limbo. But just when it threatens to wholly frustrate, someone cracks an enjoyable inside-baseball meta movie-making joke and we're back on side for a bit.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Tom Russo

    Lem’s story is merely a springboard for Folman’s wildly sprawling meditations on what the advent of virtual performance means — for artistic integrity, creative spirit, celebrity culture, human identity, even our hold on reality.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    [Folman's] film is an alluring curio, a protest against the digital frontier which gets stuck with a knotty internal paradox – it starts out as thoroughly its own experiment, and ends up like a counterfeit of too many others.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Tom Huddleston

    Folman’s vision is just too personal and obtuse, and the result can feel rather like watching someone else drop acid, enjoying their giddy descriptions of all the pretty colours but unable to fully engage.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Dan Jolin

    A fascinating and visually impressive intellectual helter-skelter ride, but the lack of narrative coherence lets down its promising sci-fi concepts and satire.

    Empire Full Review
  • Noel Murray

    Too much of Ari Folman’s half-animated science-fiction feature The Congress feels just a bit off—but every now and then, the concept, the performances, and Folman’s visual flair combine to produce something extraordinary.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Ambition markedly outstrips achievement in The Congress, a visionary piece of speculative fiction that drops the ball after a fine set-up.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Xan Brooks

    The Congress contains tricks aplenty and ideas in abundance. The problem comes in herding these scattered, floating elements towards a satisfying whole.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    It’s fascinating and boring, intriguing and exasperating, but ultimately it felt like a jambalaya of ideas that didn’t quite mesh into a satisfying experience.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    Ari Folman's meta-commentary on Hollywood in the soulless digital age starts off promisingly, like a Charlie Kaufman mind scrambler. But then it spirals into logy animated nonsense.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    Wright is terrific – sensitive and alert – in the live-action opening. But that opening runs more than 45 minutes long, a way too heavy-handed preamble to the crazed animation to come, and the actress’ vocal delivery – soft-spoken, gently bewildered – is too soporific to pull off lines like, “Look at me, I’m your prophet of doom.”

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Mike D'Angelo

    It’s a folly of the first order, but one that many people will nonetheless want to see, if only because it’s so out there.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Chuck Bowen

    The film lacks the manic fly-by-night invention of, say, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or even the ripe erotic ambiguity of something like Avatar.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    On the one hand, there's a thrill in such experimentalism. On the other, it doesn't always deliver a fully satisfying moviegoing experience.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    It’s almost painful to watch the immense promise of The Congress, Ari Folman’s spectacularly ambitious experiment, dissipate into nothing.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    Apart from its general knock against ageism in Hollywood, The Congress doesn’t have much insight to offer on the subject.

    Variety Full Review
  • John DeFore

    The film is ambitious and heartfelt, with pressing concerns about the virtualization and fantasization of reality. But it’s a blunder, one interesting mostly for what it might have been.

    Washington Post Full Review
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