My Own Private Idaho 1991

Critics score:
82 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune: This is a very rich, very sympathetic piece of work. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Holding all these elements together is Van Sant's sensibility, such an elusive thing it instinctively squirms away from any attempt to pigeonhole it. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: Director-writer Gus Van Sant sets up disturbing -- and, often, oddly comic -- situations and then gives his characters (and actors) the freedom to explore them. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: Although River Phoenix has distinguished himself as an actor ever since his second film, Stand By Me, nothing he has ever done before prepares you for his performance in Private Idaho as the motherless, homeless, loveless piece of human driftwood. Read more

Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times: One of the most original cinematic talents at work in this country, Van Sant has a knack for pulling disparate elements together and twisting them into wildly funny lyrical odysseys of the mind and heart. Read more

Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine: [Van Sant] disdain[s] narrative. He got away with Drugstore Cowboy because its band of drugged-out dodoes were engaged in a petty crime spree that almost passed for a plot. But My Own Private Idaho is a different story. Or rather nonstory. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: An essential testament to the beauty and chops of the late River Phoenix... Read more

Vincent Canby, New York Times: The performances, especially by the two young stars, are as surprising as they are sure. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: A simultaneously heartbreaking and exhilarating road movie. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: My Own Private Idaho lacks the dramatic punchiness of Drugstore Cowboy, yet it's a rich, audacious experience. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: My Own Private Idaho is a far cry from seamless, but I would gladly trade a dozen well-made studio movies for one of its vital parts. Read more

Terrence Rafferty, New Yorker: Van Sant takes a lot of chances, and, visually, the movie is so imaginative, so fiercely alive, that it carries us along. But when the over-all design of the picture becomes clear, we feel cheated rather than enlightened. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The achievement of this film is that is wants to evoke that state of drifting need, and it does. Read more

Wally Hammond, Time Out: The film's uniqueness lies in its remarkable emotional open-heartedness. Read more

Variety Staff, Variety: One of those ambitious, over-reaching disappointments that is more interesting than some more conservative successes. Read more

Hal Hinson, Washington Post: Van Sant's sensibility is wholly original, wholly fresh. My Own Private Idaho adds a new ingredient: a kind of boho sweetness. I loved it. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Even though it falters toward the end, it soars above the fray. Read more