22 Hilarious Excerpts From Scathing Reviews of “Stonewall”

Much to nobody’s surprise (especially that of the activists who were actually there), Stonewall has not fared well after its debut at the Toronto Film Festival. Here are just some of the many metaphors, comparisons and other delightful bits of wordsmithery that we can enjoy together instead of enjoying the movie.

1. “[Stonewall] slaps you in the face like a sodden cloth, over and over again.” (the daily beast)

2. “It’s so clumsy in its execution that it feels like someone set up an ornate chess set and then just smashed a watermelon on it.” (uproxx)

3.Stonewall couldn’t be more whitewashed than if it was doused in Clorox Bleach and thrown into the laundry three times over.” (the heights)

4. “Stonewall has the opportunity to tell the story of a profound, pivotal moment in the history of gay rights in this country, and it not only fumbles it, it trips over it, then falls off a cliff, then sets itself on fire. ” (deadspin)

5. “[The] production design makes late 1960s Christopher Street look like Sesame Street.” (vanity fair)

6. “…often looks as if it was shot on the set of an old Janet Jackson music video.” (santa cruz sentinel)

7. “Ray leads a ragtag gang of street hustlers that look like a scruffy chorus line from an off-Broadway production.” (citybeat)

8. “When the group is sitting outside on a stoop, it all looks too staged, as if they are waiting to break into a song from Rent.” (nola)

9. “… it should be called “Independence Gay.” (vanity fair)

10. “…a gay Forrest Gump.” (uproxx)

11. “You get more of a sense of what it’s like to visit SeaWorld in the notoriously abysmal Jaws 3D than you do what it was like to patronize Stonewall in StonewallStonewall teaches you about as much about being gay as the Aristocats taught you about being an aristocrat.” (defamer)

12. “Having Danny throw the first brick at the Stonewall riots is a bit like when Marty McFly goes back in time and steals rock ‘n’ roll from Chuck Berry, taking history away from the real participants.” (uproxx)

13. “[Danny screams] ‘Gay power!’ as though he’d just been stabbed with a high-dosage EpiPen.” (the a.v. club)

14. “You seriously watch Danny get off the bus and gape up at all those tall buildings while clutching his suitcase—acting less like an authentic representation of late-’60s gay culture, and more like a Newsies extra.” (deadspin)

15. “As if Selma had focused a fictional white liberal character instead of Martin Luther King, Jr.” (the wrap)

16. “Like saying that Rosa Parks was a tired lady who decided she’d rather rest her feet.” (salon)

17. “…the actually-gay Jonny Beauchamp lisps and screeches his way through his role like a straight high-schooler trying on homosexuality for a school play.” (indiewire)

18. Stonewall plays like a William Inge knockoff, right down to the bookish, progressive little sister straight out of “Picnic.” (chicago tribune)

19. “Danny’s unflaggingly tolerant kid sister is an absolute nightmare… her every cloying message of total support like a rusty nail driven directly into the frontal lobe.” (indiewire)

20. “[The film] ends on a falsely contemporary note, as though it were a PSA for the It Gets Better campaign.” (vulture)

21. “Somehow, director Roland Emmerich has made a movie even less historically accurate than 10,000 BC, the one depicting Egyptian-style pyramids being constructed with the help of woolly mammoths.” (news-observer)

22. “…about as realistic as Godzilla’s radioactive flame breath.” (star tribune)

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2844 articles for us.


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  2. As someone who hung out on Christopher Street in the late sixties, I have to say some of these reviewers need to talk to people who were actually there! Except for a few weird scenes, ( the old cross dresser ) I felt this movie pretty much gave a good idea of what it was like. I was on Christopher and Greenwich ave every weekend and sometimes during the week. We hung out on stoops just as in the movie. People cruised up and down the street looking for tricks. That is exactly as it was. Everyone who was there, at one time went into the Stonewall. It was the only bar that had dancing, although it was pretty much a cha cha palace. When those queens fought back, everyone joined them! Yes they started it, because they were fed up with the raids and the mafia, who ran those bars with little concern for the patrons. I remember a bartender who had his hands crushed, because he chose to find work somewhere else. I was that kid from Kansas, only I was from Staten Island. I didn’t live on the street, but I sure as hell knew everyone. If you wanted to get laid, back then, that’s where you went. It was the only place for us young kids to hang out. I got many a BJ up on a roof, and usually by older men. That’s just how it was back then. The director of Stonewall got it right, and even some of the characters were right on. Sorry your reviewer wasn’t there. I was!

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