• abisigna17 February 2017
    A beautiful Narrative
    With an excellent cast and compelling storytelling, Sidney Hall takes us through three different time periods of the main character's life and does a great job interweaving the different periods and gives us a deeper look into the character as the story progresses.

    The film has an epic yet grounded feel to it, and one can't help but root for and feel for the characters. I was emotionally affected by the film, but also had moments of laughter peppered in too. The cinematography was beautiful and there are lots of surprises along the way, and they all pay off.

    The entirety of the cast give great performances. Nathan Lane is in his element and the moments between Michelle Monaghan and Logan Lerman cut deep. Elle Fanning and Blake Jenner hit heavy with their characters, showing all is not as it always seems on the surface.

    Kyle Chandler and Logan Lerman really go for it and dig deep, and their scenes together really shine.

    I found myself laughing and crying throughout the film and am really happy to see that these types of films are being made. If you like stories that make you think and really dig deep, go watch this film.
  • jtncsmistad3 March 2018
    "The Vanishing of Sidney Hall": Good Riddance
    Warning: Spoilers
    "The Vanishing of Sidney Hall" is an overlong......WAY overlong......confounding and convoluted mystery drama featuring a legion of despicable and/or pitiable people you wish you'd never met. First and foremost among this cast of cruddy characters is the guy identified in the title of this crap fest.

    Director and Co-Writer Shawn Christensen is striving (it would appear at any rate) to fashion a "be careful what you wish for" cautionary tale about a teenage social outcast (Logan Lerman in about as listless and inaccessible a rendering as you're likely to suffer through all year). The enigmatic (that is to say utterly uninteresting) Hall exploits real life domestic tragedy and teen angst to make a financial killing off of a novel based upon such dismal despair. So we're talkin' just a little light reading.

    When the book's reception meets with unexpected, and far-fetched, consequences, Hall freaks out, going both AWOL and incognito. The largely admirable performances of Elle Fanning (who among us doesn't love that irresistible gigglish laugh?) as Hall's free spirited wife and Kyle Chandler as an admiring fellow writer help here. But ultimately not even these pair of solid turns can save the hopeless cause that is "The Vanishing of Sidney Hall".

    May it never resurface.
  • madman8259218 February 2017
    An exception tri-linear character study w/ outstanding performances both in front of & behind the camera.
    I saw this film at its premiere at Sundance and having gone in with no knowledge of the production or any expectations whatsoever I can honestly say to you that this film was AMAZING and HEARTBREAKINGLY BRILLIANT. From the get go, this all-American on-the-road tale told through THREE different timelines had me HOOKED. Writers Sean Christensen and Jason Dolan create a narrative that is part detective cat-n- mouse, part suburban tragedy, as well as being an immensely effective dramatic character examination. Their DP Daniel Katz presented their story through a lens that reminded me of the classic American Beat Novels that surely live and breath within the films protagonist. Not only did Logan Lerman give his strongest and deepest performance to date but Blake Jenner & Kyle Chandler & Elle Fanning (can she do any wrong?!) stole the show in their supporting roles. It's a film deftly crafted with heart & nuance - and it finales at an emotional crescendo where few films do. It's a film for the mad ones (to quote one of the films Inspirations). I could go on and on about how important and brave and sincere this film is - but why don't you just go see it for yourself, eh?
  • dokrauss2 March 2018
    Self-regarding dreck
    Warning: Spoilers
    This is a great movie ruined by its focus, its editing and its hubristic self-regard. Its focus is on the title character Sidney Hall, a 17-year-old writer of such power and greatness that merely glancing at one of his sentences induces orgasms. Or so we are led to believe. Sidney, who is a David Foster Wallace/JD Salinger amalgam gets a novel published through the machinations of his English teacher (yeah, that's how it happens) and world peace and love breaks out until A Tragedy causes the wounded Sidney to become a hobo rail-hopping across the country and burning copies of his books in libraries and book stores...a hobo who owns a billion dollar exclusively-designed desert house, by the way. The Tragedy is what this movie should have been about, not the self-absorbed Sidney's angst-ridden reaction to it. What dreck. What crap. This movie is full of contrived and artificially induced plot points, such as the stunningly beautiful girl across the street (Elle Fanning) who Sidney doesn't even notice until months later. Right. Turns out she's as insightful and brilliant and wonderful as he is, and she's also a creative type, a photographer. Because everyone in La La Land is a brilliant writer or photographer, doncha know. There are no trash truck drivers or plumbers. And, of course, she is the subject of More Tragedy. Really, Sidney is a walking curse that society should jail for its own safety. Oh, yes, there's ANOTHER brilliant writer involved in this, one whose words makes even Sidney Hall orgasm. La La Land has no dearth of brilliant writers, doncha know, all angst ridden and self-regarding except when they are regarding other brilliant writers. Really, we should all turn our lives over to them to manage. The eeeevil people are the parents, of course, and some vaguely right-wing politicians with a contrived censorship activity through which Sidney heroically suffers, because, you know, writers are Class Heroes Bringing The Truth (Christmas, does anybody involved with this movie actually live outside of a bubble?). One of those eeevil parents is the only intriguing character in this whole godawful mess: Sidney's Dad who, in his silence, speaks volumes. I wish the movie had been about him. Nathan Lane is in this movie being Nathan Lane and has the best line in the entire movie: "It's like throwing a party for Sylvia Plath." Indeed, it was. I would not watch this movie again at gunpoint.
  • karenmsoto-3214024 April 2017
    Unexpectedly BEAUTIFUL
    I knew nothing about this film prior to watching it at Sundance for its premiere. I never have high expectations for movies, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself laughing within minutes of the film starting. I have a short attention span and the only thing I watched this year that kept my attention and made me concentrate was The People v. O.J. Simpson, American Crime Story.

    What I loved most about this film is that it isn't predictable, you had to piece the series of events together as the storyline evolved. I felt a roller coaster of emotions and towards the end found myself in tears.

    Definitely worth seeing and I look forward to watching it again.
  • Nika Gigashvili (www.running-reel.com)7 March 2018
    Don't believe the critics
    Even though Sidney Hall is not perfect, it's a compelling story with some nice writing, and in my opinion, superb acting by Lerman and Fanning. It has a weird way to tell the story, starts somewhere in the end and then jumps through timeline several times. But after all, it does make sense. In fact, I loved last 20 minutes of the movie. It gave all the answers, they made sense, and it was kinda sad.
  • AmandaCryer27 February 2017
    I loved this movie (SPOILER ALERT)
    Warning: Spoilers
    Let me just start by saying this - I generally don't prefer dramas, as I often find them slow. Don't get me wrong, dramas like Elizabeth, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Once Were Warriors, Almost Famous, The Danish Girl, Little Miss Sunshine...these dramas really moved me. There are other dramatic films I love as well (too many to list here). However, I find MANY dramas to be way too slow for my liking and therefore, this particular genre is rarely my first choice when selecting a movie to watch. I'm guessing I'm in the minority with this personal preference. But, I don't really care.

    I wasn't expecting Sidney Hall to be great. I had heard what the story was about, so I knew it would be good, but I also knew it was only Shawn Christensen's second feature film as a director. I expected something good, something decent. I never expected, however, to be moved to tears. Actual projectile tears and sobbing.

    I'm not going to tell you exactly what this story is about. I recommend you see Sidney Hall for yourself. What I WILL tell you, is how it made me feel while watching it and the effect the movie had on me in general. This is how I rate a movie - emotional and thought provoking impact.

    So, let me go back...to the beginning of the movie. Almost right from the onset, I found myself laughing out loud and my constant giggling continued as the story carried on. The script is excellent and I found some of the conversations between the actors to be outright hysterical. Ever since I saw Birdcage, Nathan Lane has always managed to bring a huge smile to my face. And he did that again here in Sidney Hall. Lane is an exceptionally talented comedic actor and he appears to do this effortlessly. He just IS that funny. All of the actors did an exceptional job in this film. Michelle Monaghan's character portrayal of Logan Lerman's mother filled me with rage. And Logan Lerman, Blake Jenner and Kyle Chandler's performances were outstanding. Their story arcs and personal struggles in Sidney Hall consumed me.

    Moving on to my projectile crying - Again, I didn't expect this movie to be great, so I thought it was safe to put a lot of makeup on before going to the premier. I simply did not anticipate this film having such an emotional impact on me. I was so, SO wrong. I had one napkin in my purse...just one, and I needed several more to soak up the tear filled mascara that continually streaked down my face. But the woman sitting next to me (a girl friend of mine) was crying so hard as well, that I felt compelled to tear my ONE napkin into pieces so she could have some relief, too.

    I saw Shawn Christensen's raw talent as a director (and actor) when I watched his short film Curfew. It was impressive, to say the least. I also watched his first feature film Before I Disappear and while I did LIKE the latter, it didn't jump off the screen for me. Don't get me wrong, Before I Disappear isn't a bad movie (I've seen a lot of BAD movies). It was good, but in my personal opinion, it wasn't great.

    In Sidney Hall, the story, the acting, the camera angles, the music composition, the EMOTIONS Christensen captured and evoked from those actors...ripped my heart right out of my chest. I have never personally experienced exactly what Sidney went through, but I related to him and what he was dealing with on so many different levels. This story broke my heart into pieces when I realized the film was going to end with him dying. I thought, no f*cking way!! This guy HAS to have SOME relief, SOME good, positive, happy things happen to him....before he leaves us. But Christensen and his writing partner, Jason Dolan, didn't do that with Sidney Hall. This movie wreaked havoc on my emotions. Sidney's story didn't just grab my heart out of my chest...it stomped all over it. And for this, I'm GRATEFUL.

    While I love happy endings, I respect and admire directors (and writers) that have the courage to withhold spoon-fed happiness as the story comes to an end. In my opinion, this takes guts.

    I watch a lot of movies. And I tend to watch the movies I like more than once; sometimes, even many times. Before writing this review, I wanted to get a fairly accurate account of just how many movies I watch a year. Last year in particular, I watched between 80-100 movies, give or take. There are a considerable amount of good movies out there and there are even great ones that have you thinking about them for days, months and even years after seeing them.

    Sidney Hall is one of those great movies. I saw it over a month ago and I still think about it. The story is still present in my mind. It took my breath away. Maybe that sounds like a cliché...but again, I don't really care...because it's the truth.

    Thank you to the director, writers, actors, and to everyone else who worked on this film. I thank you for stomping on my heart and for what you all gave me (and my friends) the night I saw the movie...and for what you gave so many of us with Sidney Hall. I'll be watching this film again and again...and again.
  • seth slick18 February 2017
    an excellent character drama
    Warning: Spoilers
    I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to see Sidney Hall at Sundance this year and thought it was a fantastic film. Logan Lerman pulls off an amazing performance and Elle Fanning is fantastic. I thought the film was beautifully shot allowing heavy moments to breathe nicely. I was invested all the way through and never once felt lost. the film is portrayed in a unique style jumping between three points in Sidney's life and i was never bored. over all i thought the film was a great character drama and i look forward to getting an opportunity to catch it in theaters later this year.
  • shil05009 March 2018
    Gee, actually a real movie to comment on!
    If you are tired of all the blue screen, green screen super female hoopla. Watch this real movie that will give you a ride & make you have some conscious thoughts about life, love, happiness & tragedy. A well written & acted story from start to finish. No spoilers here. The editing was amazing as it would give you a piece that kept you wanting more faster. You have to watch, listen & give your attention to a deserving story movie! Relax, pause & reflect upon things to look forward to as you enjoy your 2 hours of escape into Sidney Hall's life. Enjoy
  • niutta-enrico11 March 2018
    The Vanishing of Sidney Hall: a good movie: almost a novel.
    An entertaining 2-hour movie, catching (manipulative...) since the first page: undoubtedly Shawn Christensen has talent (I liked very much his 'Before I Disappear, 2014') and a personal style.

    The present title is based on a rich and convoluted plot. You might find it somehow 'old fashioned' because it's a little bit too dramatic and celebrates writers and writing a little too much...

    But the overall result is actually good. And so are books' parts: hadn't been a movie, it could have been a good novel.
  • Mr Spark10 March 2018
    A coherent non-linear narrative
    Shawn Christensen's the Vanishing of Sidney Hall while certainly not a masterpiece of film-making manages to captivate, perplex and leave the viewer with a lot to think about. The non-linearity of Christensen's direction is nicely implemented and clearly translates the script to the screen. The cinematography, I believe, is beautiful and produces a pleasing effect. As for the acting, it is above average but not inspiring enough to make the viewer jump out of his seat. Finally the overall delivery of the story is what make's most critics negatively view this film. It somewhat feels rushed, the climax is supposed to enrich us with drama and inject us with emotions about the characters but in fact fails to do so. I believe it should have revealed more drama during the progress of the story and not the finale. Still, this film does not deserve a low rating, it is not as bad as critics say.
  • bobjag7 March 2018
    Well worth the experience
    I am so glad that I did't go by the not-so-kind reviews of this film! I applaud the review critic Chris Evangelista and I quote: " As always though, I urge you to make up your own mind; give the film a shot, it might surprise you. Or it might not! What the hell do I know!?" Well said Chris and that is how it should be!

    I loved the mystery, the many twists and turns and the surprises along the way. Shawn Christensen did a great job directing, the acting was memorable as well as the cinematography and the music.
  • Colin Connor7 March 2018
    Finding Sydney Hall
    This movie is unfairly flying under the radar. Logan Lerman is continuously showing what an amazing young actor he really is, I've said it before and I'll say it again Logan Lerman has a bright future in Hollywood as long as he doesn't screw it up. The movie reminds me much of the perks of being a wallflower I'm not sure if it's the plot, or just the actor but it is a must see. It is well acted and well written I very much enjoyed it and will be one of the best movies of 2018.
  • dr-abeer7614 March 2018
    Heavy drama
    A slow heavy drama with confusing manner of jumping between events and tenses. Regarding the main character (Sidney), he has a cloudy personality. I felt that the film lasted 20 hours.
  • mjasoncarswell13 March 2018
    Pretentious Waste Of Time
    Empty hero worship of a character that achieves nothing on screen but is allegedly a supreme poet and deep author who shows no indication of any exceptional linguistics, vocabulary, interesting ideas, goals, or superlative life interests beyond generic teen dreams and "travel". Boring. A stereotypical flash in the pan tortured artist gone mad story.

    The casting is very good but their performances of two dimensional archetypes are not particularly notable, certainly not enough to support nor carry the film.

    The cinematography is generally unimaginative with a few exceptions that still fall flat, especially within the greater context. Some of the music is good and some not. The non-linear narrative tries to make a bad movie better but the editing can't save it.

    Attempting to cultivate precious moments and sentimental mystique they try too hard with tired Hollywood stereotypes that wish they were half as creative or clever as their main character is supposed to be. It's as if square old advertising executives tried to write a quirky script to sell you on the fun of artsy teens suffering existential angst, forgetting to add anything quirky, artsy, or authentic.

    I went in knowing nothing about it. I don't usually do reviews but felt compelled before even finishing. I regret watching this movie and was tricked by its undeservedly high rating and the "Drama" and "Mystery" labels. Drama requires conflict, especially between characters. The main character is conflicted with everything internal and external for undefined reasons generating no sympathy nor does it drive the choppy story. Mystery is missing in the obvious story telling

    The only real mystery is how this got funded and produced. Like a high quality student film that desperately tries to be professional this movie is not worth watching as nothing stands out, even for a precious poetic moment.

    The chicken said, "I crossed the street." I said, "Big deal."
  • phate00819 March 2018
    Don't listen to the critics
    I swear, in this day and age, it seems like the critics look right past the quality films, and ignorantly try to simplify a film into a 1 sentence review. At the time of writing this, Rotten Tomatoes gave this a critic score of 10%. Don't listen to them. This movie isn't excellent, but it is enough to incite a spectrum of emotions in the viewer, and can very easily be considered a decent movie. It is mostly the SJW critics who view this film in a misogynistic light, and attribute the character development of Sidney Hall as the plights of a white (privileged) man. Most of the critics who reviewed this are just mindless snobs who are afraid to say they liked it out of fear that they will be alienated by their fellow critic colleagues. The movie was good. It had some confusing moments with the timeline, slighted development, and predictability, but overall it was a good movie. I personally trust the reviews on IMDB far more than I would trust Rotten Tomatoes. I will never fully understand the mindset of the critics over there. They sometimes will praise a mediocre movie, and bash good or great movie in a bandwagon type fashion. They are 1 of 3 things: a) they are being paid to leave biased reviews, b.) they have horrible taste in movies, or c.) each review is based on a centipede mentality where their opinion categorical agrees with the author prior. Whatever the case, Rotten Tomatoes is a fraud. Trust your peers with reviews, don't listen to the snobs.
  • thomasvdbossche19 March 2018
    one of the better movies I ever saw
    It is one of the few movies that gave me the wow effect afterwards. that's the reason why i give my first review ever at this movie, because it's a beautifull movie that really stuns you at the end.
  • pplward19 March 2018
    It grips you and then holds you for a ride!
    The paid critics are dead wrong about this movie. Pretentious? No! If you have been or know someone who was at a young age very talented and famous, but you found out later they had a troubled past haunting them, while this movie nails it. It is honest, heart wrenching and true to life. If you can't sit still for ten minutes without checking your phone, don't watch it. It's not for the immaterial world. It is a must see movie. It will leave an imprint on your soul. This movie should have been acclaimed for awards. The great acting and storyline are compelling. See it and tells your friends.
  • prithwi205018 March 2018
    Multi Timeline Storytelling, Mysteries held on well, only to be dished out at the appropriate time.
    Even The Shawshank Redemption was heavily criticized but later it turned to be the best film ever. People often think of boring as bad and that is a common misconception within the critic community. Having said that, I don't intend to compare with TSR, however this movie definitely reminds me of Into the Wild, which was really an excellent movie. And I think this movie is really one in that league.

    Here, we have the primary character (Sidney), who is a brilliant writer and happens to have kissed a girl in his first grade. Eventually the girl's family relocated the very next day they kissed and Sidney happened to move on. In the years to come Sidney will develop his passion for writing and his creativity in writing would find its place in his school magazine on a daily basis. So one fine day he receives a letter from a girl named Melody stating how she felt about his pieces of creativity and that she adored them. Sidney wasn't such a popular figure to have received such a letter from a girl and that too a name he hadn't heard of before. So he would go about the whole school chanting 'Melody' but in vain. Meanwhile there's a brute in school who would bully other kids in school named Brett. And one day out of the blues, he comes to Sidney for help in digging up a box which they had buried when they were much too young. Sidney agreed to it for a deal that Brett would give up bullying a kid in their school. Brett agreed and voila! They both got onto the mission and had successfully acquired the box. However while returning Brett's father would catch hold of him as the duo were late in carrying out their search mission. Brett would hand over the box to Sidney to keep it safe and later would oblige. Meanwhile, Melody turned out be some new girl whose family moved in recently in the stay opposite. So after some initial hiccups they turned out to be together and Melody shows Sidney a picture of a dream home somewhere South. Melody's obsession of finding the exact house now became a fodder for both and they agreed on a date (which happens to be 25th May) on which they could be there together just for that 1 night (irrespective of the fact whether they are together or not), just that one night would be theirs and theirs 1 only!

    However just the next Monday, news of Brett committing suicide would reach Sidney and he would be quite devastated by that. One wouldn't quite understand as how someone who bullied others, could affect someone so much. As he always cherished to become a writer, Melody would advise him to write a Novel on Brett. Sidney agrees and writes a few chapters which he sends to his school teacher (Duane) who publishes his small time articles from time to time in the school magazine. Duane was mesmerized by the honesty in the story and would forward the same to some publishing houses. One got back to him and voila. The story then directly transcends to being a writer who already has sold millions of books. Now Sidney appears to have problems in his personal life. Melody (now his wife) isn't so happy with the relationship as her husband seems to have no time for her. So she moves away to some other place. Coincidentally at the same time, an author named Francis beats Sidney to the Pulitzer prize. Also there were reports about students committing suicide after reading his novel. At around the same time he would develop mentally unstable behaviors mainly out of some past injuries. Meanwhile Sidney gets entailed into a physical relationship with the publisher's daughter (which is mainly for lustful reasons which would become obvious later). So now Sidney goes back to his wife and asks if he would get a second chance. There he gets the news that Melody is expecting a child. Sidney doesn't tell Melody about his affair. However, he tells Melody that he has found their dream house and that he bought it for her.

    The movie is somewhat like Dunkirk as it happens to showcase three different timelines at the same time. You will get to know what I am talking about once you see it. So now back to where I was. All of this what I said till now had already happened. At present our character Sidney lives the life of a vagabond roaming around with a dog and with other's identity. All his ids are fake and he goes around libraries and book stalls burning his books as he thinks those were the reasons behind students committing suicide. Meanwhile a detective goes around searching for him. One fine day, while Sidney was resting on the road with his dog, a policeman caught him and sent him to jail separating him from his dog. However, he gets bailed out soon and coincidentally its that detective who came to his rescue. Later he would reveal that he wasn't a detective and that he was Francis, the author who would beat Sidney to win the Pulitzer. Francis was amazed and bewildered as to why Sidney was living such a reclusive life, to which Sidney would tell him how his books inspired students to commit suicide. To this, Francis would bring over the topic of how his book helped his own son to get back to normal life again and for that how much he was thankful to Sidney. He also proposed to write a biography on Sidney to which the later rejected, as he didn't want to reveal anything about himself.

    And then from deathbed at a hospital he would request Francis to come to him and give him his secrets. There he would reveal why his childhood friend Brett, committed suicide, what happened to his wife and how an injury in the past would damage his mental condition.

    I will not solve the mystery for you here. For that you would have to watch the movie. And I do promise that the mysteries about what was there in the box or Brett committing suicide or his wife isn't lackluster at all as it doesn't take anything out of the flavor of the movie. With that I end my review here!

    I don't care what critics have to say. If they could do it with The Shawshank Redemption they might as well do it with any other movie!
  • Salman Khan18 March 2018
    a little pretentious but still very strong
    The vanishing of sidney hall has a brilliant narrative. maybe it's because I don't watch alot such movies but I found the whole story of a lifetime thing very refreshing and original, or at least how it was made stood out. the idea of this movie has depth to it even though it's plagued by superficial dialogue at times.

    logan lerman is brilliant in his portrayal of a depressed broken man. I know that mostly acting is considered reacting, but for a role like sidney hall u have to have stagnancy. u have to have a hollow resting face and logan pulls that off brilliantly. which is very hard to do, unless u r kristen stewart in which case it is both a blessing and a curse.

    all in all it is a pretty good film. my only problem with it is the occasional hacky dialogue that don't do it's setting justice, and elle fanning. she may look the part but she can't act
  • cablempd18 March 2018
    First movie I've reviewed in a while.
    I can see why some people don't like this movie. There's no special effects, no artistic pretentiousness. This is a movie that benefits from not having any a-list stars in it to distract you. There's no super-villains, no sequel, no epic vistas.

    It's a simple movie just tells a good story. You like the characters, you understand them. It has funny parts, romantic parts, tragic parts, all very well meshed together. There's nothing to distract you from the story itself.

    A few of the negative reviews have commented on the three different timelines. I have a feeling they didn't watch it halfway through. As the movie nears the end and you start seeing how things mesh together is when you start to realize that you will not know how it ends until you watch the last minute. It's exceptionally well done.

    This movie is the reason most of us watch them. Not to write reviews, not to praise some director. Just to watch a story unfold. I've been using "story", not "plot" for a reason. It is a story. And a good one, well worth the time to watch it.
  • JustinDahl18 March 2018
    Great film.
    This is the best film I have seen in a long time.

    It has everything, but be prepared it is not for the light at heart.
  • talal-9835817 March 2018
    Rough around the edges but beautiful story
    Sydney hall is one of those movies where the critics will hate and the audience will love. The movie has a compelling story combined with amazing directing in which it will integrate the audience into (early, mid and late) life of sydney hall.