The Public (2019) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Public (2019)



Critic Consensus: Its intentions are sometimes easier to appreciate than its execution, but The Public remains an earnest and reasonably engaging social advocacy drama.

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Movie Info

In "The Public" an unusually bitter Arctic blast has made its way to downtown Cincinnati and the front doors of the public library where the action of the film takes place. At odds with library officials over how to handle the extreme weather event, some homeless patrons turn the building into a shelter for the night by staging an "Occupy" sit in. What begins as an act of civil disobedience becomes a stand-off with police and a rush-to-judgment media constantly speculating about what's really happening. This David versus Goliath story tackles some of our nation's most challenging issues, homelessness and mental illness and sets the drama inside one of the last bastions of democracy-in-action: your public library.

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Alec Baldwin
as Detective Bill Ramstead
Emilio Estevez
as Stuart Goodson
Christian Slater
as Josh Davis
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Critic Reviews for The Public

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (18)

That everything ends on a weird happy-clappy high is indicative of a scattershot project that could have done with less ambition, more focus.

February 24, 2020 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

It is a film with its heart in the right place, but the dialogue and characterisation are both plonkingly unconvincing.

February 19, 2020 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

It's hard to play a good man doing the right thing. Saints are dramatically dull, but Estevez gets away with it here.

July 30, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Estevez's drama gets a little preachy in the second half, but "The Public" is passionate about its cause and the cast... deliver like the pros they are.

May 20, 2019 | Full Review…

Alec Baldwin, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Slater and Gabrielle Union all look like they'd rather be somewhere else.

April 25, 2019 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Writer-director-star Emilio Estevez turns a library occupied by homeless citizens as ground zero for our under-fire democracy. Bravo!

April 13, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

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