The Armstrong Lie 2013

Critics score:
84 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: As an embarrassingly obvious liar, I am constantly fascinated by how others do it, and Gibney gives you many opportunities to study a master. Read more

Sara Stewart, New York Post: Overall, Gibney does a fine job documenting the timeless nature of Armstrong's fall from grace. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: "The Armstrong Lie" is truly singular, a tale of ambition that's almost mad enough to be mythic. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: Alex Gibney delivers not just a detailed, full-access account of his subject, in all his defiance, hubris and tentative self-reckoning, but also a layered inquiry into the culture of competitiveness, celebrity, moral relativism and hypocrisy. Read more

Ben Kenigsberg, AV Club: The film offers a definite sting as Armstrong's former teammates dish on who saw what and when. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: To look at Armstrong as he semi-justifies his decisions is to see the definition of arrogance. He defies you to challenge him, as he has done for so long. Read more

Sandy Cohen, Associated Press: An unforgiving, unflattering portrait of a fallen athlete and inspiration. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: The movie captures a very modern approach to public scandal: Confession without remorse. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Gibney assembles a damning case against the athlete, but what distinguishes this from other accounts of the scandal is the filmmaker's admission that, while shooting a documentary about Armstrong's 2009 comeback, he smothered his own innate skepticism. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: To mixed success, "The Armstrong Lie" allows Gibney generous time and space to explain what sort of movie he started out to make and what kind of confessional he ended up making. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: "The Armstrong Lie" simply offers up the Armstrong lie. Sorry, but we've all already heard that one. Read more

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ While there are no new explosive revelations in The Armstrong Lie - and, at just over two hours, it's a touch too long - it's still a mesmerizing cautionary tale. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: It's a fascinating film that points the finger at a charismatic master of deception - as well as our willingness to buy his deceit. Read more

Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter: A quite absorbing but never riveting or revelatory overview of Armstrong's career and testy personality. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: Gibney took a film that was supposed to be about the resurrection of a sports star and turned it into an epic indictment of one man and an entire culture. The lesson is obvious: Never throw anything out. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: The bitterest parts of Gibney's movie are the interviews with the former teammates who were caught doping, and whom Armstrong, when he was still officially clean, viciously turned on. Read more

Ella Taylor, NPR: The Armstrong Lie is rarely boring, and it's beautifully shot by French-born cinematographer Maryse Alberti. But the film is more illuminating about the corrupt sports industry than it is about its subject. Read more

Stephen Holden, New York Times: Mr. Armstrong, for all his gifts and hard work, emerges as a hollow man, corrupted by glory, protecting what remains of his reputation. Read more

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register: The Armstrong Lie is one of the best batches of lemonade ever made from a severely bruised lemon. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: The Armstrong Lie is eye-opening and myth-shattering and more than a little depressing. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: The movie rambles at two-plus hours, but the provocation never stops. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, A film that's supposedly about a disgraced bicycle racer becomes a film about why we're so eager to believe things - or invent things - that are evidently untrue, or at least unlikely. Read more

Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle: None of the athlete's words really answer Gibney's central question. Perhaps we're just supposed to see it in his eyes. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: The tale has plenty of resonance off the race course. As sportswriter Dan Coyle says in the film, "It's not a story about doping, it's a story about power." Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: While the movie includes enough details about the physiology, strategy and marketing of bike racing to satisfy some of our curiosity, other questions remain unanswered. Read more

Bruce Ingram, Chicago Sun-Times: You'd have to start looking into ancient Greek tragedy to top it as a showcase for pure, unadulterated hubris. That's one of the things that makes The Armstrong Lie, which has more on its mind than the mere debunking of a tarnished hero, so worthwhile. Read more

Jon Frosch, The Atlantic: Gibney's own conflicted feelings toward Armstrong -- awe and admiration mingled with a true fan's fury at being duped -- make for a compellingly nuanced depiction. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Gibney gives the truth as full an airing as seems humanly possible, given that the subject is a world-class liar. Read more

Todd Gilchrist, TheWrap: The film seems complicit in his "don't hate the player, hate the game" attitude about doping which fails to justify his own metastasized dishonesty, and especially the vindictiveness with which he destroyed the lives and livelihoods of his opponents. Read more

Cath Clarke, Time Out: What will take your breath away is how viciously Armstrong crushed and humiliated anyone who dared to make allegations against him, Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: Given Armstrong's squirminess on the couch, you'll wish this profile had traded a portion of its deep background for a little in-the-moment boldness. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Lance Armstrong's next career could be sleazy politician or used car salesman. He lies with such conviction it's terrifying. Read more

Chuck Wilson, Village Voice: To use a phrase from the film, The Armstrong Lie is a "myth-buster." It's wholly necessary, brilliantly executed, and a complete bummer. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: There's a palpable sense of sadness, more than outrage or betrayal, to the film. Read more