Directed by Milos Forman (129 minutes, rated R)
Selected Members of the Cast:
|Woody Harrelson||... Larry Flynt|
|Courtney Love||... Althea Leasure Flynt|
|Edward Norton||... Alan Isaacman|
|Brett Harrelson||... Jimmy Flynt|
|Donna Hanover||... Ruth Carter Stapleton|
|Jim Grimshaw||... C. J. William Rehnquist|
|Rand Hopkins||... Justice Scalia|
|Janice Holder||... Judge Kirk - Roanoke Court|
|Larry Flynt||... Judge Morrissey - Cincinnati Court|
|James Carville||... Simon Leis|
|Richard Paul||... Reverend Jerry Falwell|
|Burt Neuborne||... Roy Grutman|
New York Times
By Janet Maslin
The People vs. Larry Flynt" is a blazing, unlikely triumph about a man who is nobody's idea of a movie hero. Smart, funny, shamelessly entertaining and perfectly serious too, Milos Forman's film describes the Hustler publisher and his many liberties, civil and otherwise. Above all, the film emerges as an object lesson in open-mindedness, winning a reluctant respect for its main character's right to crude self-expression just as Flynt has won his days in court....
San Francisco Examiner
By Barbara Shulgasser
MILOS FORMAN'S "The People Vs. Larry Flynt" depicts the publisher of the pornographic magazine Hustler as a vulgar, coarse, arrogant, reckless, lascivious, self-centered boor whom you root for 100 percent.
It has been Larry Flynt's singular burden and redemption to be both the icon of trashy excess and the upholder of one of the Constitution's most democratizing elements, the First Amendment. As we behold Flynt in all his loathsomeness, we tend to forget that popular speech doesn't require protection. It's unpopular speech that needs a legal system's backing. Inevitably, the guy who will test the strength of such a protection is going to be someone easy to despise.
In so many ways Flynt, played by the versatile Woody Harrelson, is reprehensible. Scores of feminists have denounced him for his depictions of violence to women. His famous Hustler cover bearing the legs of a woman whose torso has presumably just been consumed in a meat-grinder epitomizes a sensibility that could easily drive the most dedicated libertarian to call for government sanctions.
But Flynt was also gleefully irreverent enough to show Santa and Mrs. Claus in an intimate moment, and witty enough to satirize the deserving Rev. Jerry Falwell by describing him performing unnatural acts in an outhouse with his mother. I guess which of these images is most personally offensive would depend on where you stand politically and whether you believe that allowing Julia Child to have a television show threatens to turn America into a nation of gourmets....
By Rita Kempley
Larry Flynt went from rags to riches, from born bad to reborn, and in his most unlikely metamorphosis yet the hillbilly hustler has wriggled from his chrysalis, no longer a pornographic worm but a soaring champion of the First Amendment.
"The People vs. Larry Flynt," an enormously entertaining and surprisingly touching bio-pic starring Woody Harrelson, practically canonizes the Pappy Yokum of sexploitation....
Though Flynt's political opponents were plentiful and though many were feminists alarmed by Hustler magazine's depiction of sexual violence against women, there's little evidence of thoughtful critics here. In the film, most of his foes are middle-American stuffed shirts and ladies who spend their time making jello molds....
By Charles Taylor
....What's fun about the movie is that it pisses on things like virtue, monogamy, God and patriotism. (It's fitting that, in the second half of the movie, after Larry has been paralyzed by a would-be assassin's bullet, Harrelson talks in the nasal squawk of W.C. Fields.) By the time Larry is giving a lecture while intercutting slides of porn with slides of the Holocaust and asking which is more obscene, or appearing as the Spirit-of-'76 flag-bearer at his bicentennial party, the ironies have started to thud. And when Larry starts to cherish his Constitutional rights, the picture gives up the chance to make a tougher point.
When Larry appears in court in battle helmet, wearing the flag as a diaper, talking gibberish or openly abusing the judge, he's not just grandstanding. He's in contempt of court because the court is in contempt of him. The method to his madness is this: if a law protects your right to free speech, a law can take it away. That's a rather sophisticated point, and not one likely to be seconded by people who are intent on making "Mr. Flynt Goes to Washington"....
...."The People vs. Larry Flynt" is ultimately a worse disappointment than an out-and-out stinker would be, because of its lively, entertaining first half. Forman clumps through the material like Larry's hillbilly parents who show up one night at his mansion, Ma and Pa Kettle stumbling into an orgy. Even a sleazebag's story deserves to be told with a little style.