Cinema Verite (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Cinema Verite2011

Cinema Verite (2011)



Critic Consensus: Cinema Verite is a disappointingly incurious dive into the birth of reality television, but terrific performances and the inherent intrigue behind the making of An American Family keep this drama compelling.

Cinema Verite Photos

Movie Info

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the first American family to be the subjects of a reality TV show.

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Tim Robbins
as Bill Loud
Diane Lane
as Pat Loud
James Gandolfini
as Craig Gilbert
Patrick Fugit
as Alan Raymond
Kathleen Quinlan
as Mary Every
Shanna Collins
as Susan Raymond
Thomas Dekker
as Lance Loud
Johnny Simmons
as Kevin Loud
Nick Eversman
as Grant Loud
Caitlin Custer
as Delilah Loud
Kaitlyn Dever
as Michele Loud
Jake Richardson
as Tommy Goodwin
Matt O'Leary
as Cameron
Willam Belli
as Candy Darling
Kyle Riabko
as Jackie Curtis
Richard Fancy
as Network President
Cory Blevins
as Production Executive
Don R. McManus
as Talk Show Moderator
Colin Campbell
as Political Analyst
Robert Curtis Brown
as Anthropologist Commentator
Dawn Hudson
as Morning Show Commentator
Mike Rad
as Chelsea Desk Clerk
Patrick O'Connor
as MOMA Curator
Sean O'Bryan
as Johnny Hall
Michelle Morgan
as Val's Salesgirl
Aliya Carter
as PBS Assistant
Emilio Rivera
as Nightwatchman
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Critic Reviews for Cinema Verite

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (26)

The film's real fascination is with the documentary's maker, Craig Gilbert, played with wonderful faux innocence by James Gandolfini.

June 10, 2020 | Full Review…

Like a history lesson in the genre that's taken over so much of cable and broadcast network programming. It's also the sort of intelligent drama that has to compete with the cheaper, flashier shows that An American Family eventually spawned.

June 10, 2020 | Full Review…

Cinema Verite is smart and often moving, but unsatisfying overall. It compresses seven months of shooting, 3,000 hours of raw footage, and 12 hours' worth of televised story into a little over 90 minutes, losing complexity along the way.

June 10, 2020 | Full Review…

Just as 12 hours probably wasn't enough time to establish the Louds as real people, not soap opera stick figures, two hours isn't quite enough to explain exactly what went wrong with An American Family, either.

June 10, 2020 | Full Review…

An informative but somewhat plodding re-creation of the 1970s PBS special, An American Family. James Gandolfini steals the show as the producer who persuades the naive parents to invite cameras into their soon-to-be shattered house.

June 9, 2020 | Full Review…

They'd found good matches for the original participants, and there was a certain fascination in watching the segues between documentary artifice and artificial documentary. But the script was so clunky it virtually came with visible bullet points.

June 9, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cinema Verite


Interesting, but I don't know the original show this was based on, so perhaps I would rate it higher if I did. Even without knowing, it was pretty good. Very authentic 60's/70's look to the movie and cast are all good.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

The story of the dirtbag producer who takes advantage of the sensibilities of people to make a fast buck is a commonplace story, but when its a true story, and one about the first reality show family you sit up and pay attention. The original process of reality television comes to life in this beautifully wrought film, using some of the original footage of the show and interviews the family went on to air their grievances. An American Family was a 10 hour special on PBS and was the first time a regular family was shown in the same introspective capacity as the natives of National Geographic. The family is a dippy liberal set from California, the mother a self aware but open individual who is described as too old for woman's lib but too young to be a frumpy housewife. She is portrayed by Diane Lane, and shown as a mother who is torn between her children, her philandering husband, and pleasing Craig Gilbert (Gandolfini) by giving him the most naked of footage of her family but still retaining a realistic view that doesn't degrade them in any way. She is naive to the process of film editing and the manipulative way Craig is twisting her emotions so she'll turn on her husband and give a performance that will make good television. Her children have the typical goals of seventies teens, including forming a popular rock band and seeing the world. Kudos go to Thomas Dekker who plays the flamboyantly gay son of the Louds who lives in New York and frequently feels embroiled in the judgment of the public but never of his family. They accept him for who he is, while his mother also doesn't want to completely give up her son for who he really is for the public eye to watch over. Though much of the conflict is typical of these kind of stars in their eyes protagonists, it's the family itself and Lane's hinging performance that make this so encapsulating. The ending is a little anti-climactic, but perhaps that's just because there just wasn't enough story to tell. Though it covers the backlash against the Loud family it still could have gone farther. For such a pointed story, Lane really brought everything upon herself to make this film the gem that it is.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


A decent film that portrays the controversial behind-the-scenes of the first reality show on American television, a risky format that would become what now is highly popular in the whole world. The highlights include the accurate '70s visuals and the solid performances.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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