The Public - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Public Reviews

February 19, 2020
It is a film with its heart in the right place, but the dialogue and characterisation are both plonkingly unconvincing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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
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.
April 25, 2019
Alec Baldwin, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Slater and Gabrielle Union all look like they'd rather be somewhere else.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
April 13, 2019
Writer-director-star Emilio Estevez turns a library occupied by homeless citizens as ground zero for our under-fire democracy. Bravo!
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
April 7, 2019
The problem is, there's only just enough story to go round. You can hear the creak as both characters and subplots get jacked up out of proportion.
Top Critic
April 5, 2019
Its heart is in the right place, but because it's mired in too many of Estevez's questions about public duty versus public safety, The Public struggles to stay on track and keep the viewer involved.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
April 5, 2019
It's a noble effort, but "The Public" never makes a convincing case for its cause.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
April 5, 2019
Its presentation of real, painful issues is too simplistic and its approach too preachy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
April 4, 2019
Estevez does an elegant job with this setup, creating a low-key, uncondescending portrait of lives on the edge.
April 4, 2019
Well-intentioned parable about the plight of the homeless falls flat.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
April 3, 2019
Estevez, directing himself, knows what emotions Estevez, the actor, is trying to put over. He's the only one.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
April 3, 2019
It's hard to disagree with anything in "The Public." Estevez is fighting the good fight. But it's also hard to swallow an argument, however well-reasoned and emotionally compelling, when it feels like it's being shoved down your throat.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
April 2, 2019
A clunky and at times ridiculous affair, taking a situation that might reasonably happen and turning it into something melodramatic and ultimately unbelievable.
April 2, 2019
[A]n often implausible, stacked deck of social issues, contrived conflicts and feel-good activism.
September 14, 2018
Consistently engages despite the relative obviousness of its dramatic tactics.
September 10, 2018
The dialogue often has a stilted, unnatural ring to it, and it is a tribute to the cast that they manage to bring out the essence of the film, its political heart, so strongly.