Ryan Gosling has spent more than half his life in the entertainment industry, beginning in 1993 on The All New Mickey Mouse Club, and he has made some giant strides in his career in that time. His latest big step, however, has been to put acting on pause while he exercises his skills as a director. Originally titled How To Catch A Monster, Gosling's filmmaking debut Lost River has been in the works since late 2012, and today it made its global premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. So how are critics reacting? To call them "mixed" would be an understatement.
Entertainment Weekly has collected a large sampling of professional opinions of Lost River in Tweet form, and while comparisons to the works of great filmmakers like David Lynch and Nicolas Winding Refn are common, some are outright harsh while others seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. Easily the most negative reaction comes from Wesley Morris of Grantland, who wrote coming out of the screening:
Others have done a clearer job of explaining exactly what it is about Ryan Gosling's film that doesn't work. Kate Muir of The Times UK was one of many critics to spot the new director's clear inspirations, but noted that they didn't exactly work together well on screen (or at least weren't combined properly):
A big part of what's splitting critics is the difference between what some see to be pretentiousness and what others simply view as artful. One big supporter of the film seems to be Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood, who praised Gosling's vision as a filmmaker:
Likewise, Peter Howell of the Toronto Star had a positive reaction to Lost River, but was also very quick to notice how divisive it would be:
Based on an original screenplay that Ryan Gosling wrote himself, the film is a dark fantasy that centers on a single mother who discovers that her son has found access to a secret underwater town. The impressive cast included Christina Hendricks (who worked with Gosling on Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive), Saoirse Ronan, Eva Mendes, and Doctor Who's Matt Smith. While Lost River's earliest reactions are coming out now, we're not entirely sure when we'll be able to see it for ourselves. Warner Bros. is on-board the movie for theatrical distribution, but has not yet announced a release date.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.