The Public - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Public Reviews

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January 6, 2020
The canvas is broad, with lots of supporting characters and subplots, and while the writing is heavy-handed at times in the Golden Age of Television style, Estevez imbues the movie with a large and generous heart.
September 26, 2019
Yes, it's earnest and it tries a little too hard, but it sucked me in.
September 18, 2019
Well-acted but preachy, sometimes corny civics lesson melodrama that's just touching enough and funny enough to come off.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
September 11, 2019
There is something decidedly old-fashioned about the storytelling in The Public, but maybe there's truth to the idea that we need to understand and appreciate the past if we're ever going to be able to move forward together.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
September 9, 2019
Written, directed by and starring Emilio Estevez, The Public is a pleasantly old-fashioned crowd-pleaser, which argues that libraries are the last great bastion of modern democracy, since they provide free access to knowledge, community and shelter.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
August 16, 2019
It's a beautifully shot and directed film that openly wears its heart on its sleeve as an ode to one of the last surviving bastions of free information and public space - the public library.
August 11, 2019
Leaving you with something to think about as you leave the cinema, The Public is both entertaining and informative.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
August 2, 2019
Making a feature that pleads the cause of the homeless is a laudable achievement, so it's all the more unfortunate that Estevez is unable to eliminate some of the obvious flaws in an otherwise compelling, and timely, drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
August 2, 2019
Emilio Estevez's latest outing is a nobly-intentioned character piece that overstretches a little but just works, mostly due to a fine supporting full of his besties.
August 2, 2019
It's clear [Emilio] Estevez is well-meaning but ultimately, The Public is a movie that lacks any genuine depth.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
August 1, 2019
Emilio Estevez shows his flair for ensemble directing here, sculpting an affecting, unusual urban drama about the warmth of compassion in a cold climate...A small gem of a film that takes a simple idea and gives it the oxygen and room to flourish.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
July 31, 2019
...it's all well intentioned, it just overeggs the pudding.
Full Review | Original Score: 12/20
July 30, 2019
It's hard to play a good man doing the right thing. Saints are dramatically dull, but Estevez gets away with it here.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
July 26, 2019
A confident and compelling social issues drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
July 26, 2019
The obvious belief that Estevez and a committed cast share in highlighting such extreme measures gives The Public a lasting resonance that lives on in the memory for some time afterwards.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
May 20, 2019
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 10, 2019
The Public is overstuffed, but it's earnest and it tries to contribute to an important conversation. That nobility of purpose makes it worth watching.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
May 3, 2019
Despite its flaws, The Public is heartfelt, humorous, and enlightening.
April 30, 2019
Estevez gets points for effort and the assembly of actors but the finished product is a TV movie of the week.
Full Review | Original Score: C
April 30, 2019
The Public's large cast of charismatic actors help mask many of the film's flaws, and its finger-wagging themes make it a great conversation starter.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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