The Free World

The Free World


The Free World.  Rating:  3 (out of 5).  After spending time in jail for a crime he did not commit, Mo is having a hard time adapting to life on the outside. He meets Doris, a mysterious woman in an abusive marriage, and he finds himself risking his newfound freedom to protect her. Catch “The Free World” on VOD starting Friday, September 23.  The Hollywood Reporter says, “The uneven drama remains reasonably engrossing thanks to affecting performances from Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss.”

Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Elisabeth Moss, Sue-Lynn Ansari
Director: Jason Lew
Rating: R
Genre: Drama



Variety calls the film “[A] well-meaning, well-acted but otherwise clumsily executed parable about second chances.”

The Hollywood Reporter thinks, “The uneven drama remains reasonably engrossing thanks to affecting performances from Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss.”

Salt Lake City Weekly finds, “It’s the kind of movie where a tense confrontation is followed immediately by a cut to roiling storm clouds, and where the abrupt turn towards a lovers-on-the-run narrative results in a dark plot twist that’s more over-the-top absurd than genuinely harrowing.”

The Film Stage finds, “Despite actors who are clearly committed to the material, The Free World is an unfortunate misfire of banality.”

IndieWire (The Playlist) observes, “While there are some missteps in the story, there’s a lot to admire in The Free World, particularly in what is sure to be a breakout role for Holbrook.”

Consequence of Sound says, “Animal shelter/prison facility parallels become too heavy-handed, and performances packed with emotion give way to on-the-lam clichés.”

JoBlo’s Movie Emporium thinks, “While it’s a tough movie, THE FREE WORLD is good, challenging fare that should resonate with indie fans. It’s not an easy movie to watch, but it’s a very worthwhile, often affecting piece of work.”

FilmGordon gives the movie a C+ rating, and further notes, “Lew’s screenplay is anchored by strong lead performances by both Holbrook and Moss, who display winning chemistry as a couple thrown together by unfortunate circumstances.”

The Young Folks writes, “Stilted, contrived, forced, awkward, preposterous, implausible, dumb, false, inauthentic and every other adjective that points to the unrecognized stupidity, The Free World is a film that pretends to be a quiet mood piece, where the dialogue, storytelling, and characterization are shrieked through the smokescreen of quiet and whistful delivery.”

Film School Rejects gives the film a B rating, and further notes, “Lew offers up enough soft pleasures in this blend of existential drama and lovers-on-the-run thriller, letting us dwell on modest hopes and dreams, worthy of his seemingly minor story with a large emotional scope.”

Collider says, “A performance this good deserves a better film, and while Lew certainly has some talent behind the camera, the structure, pacing, and tone of the movie leave much to be desired.”

Flavorwire thinks, “Elisabeth Moss is at her bleary-eyed best and Boyd Holbrook marshals an impressively physical performance, but both go to waste in this hoary, predictable Southern melodrama.”

Way Too Indie finds, “The Free World manages to take simple material and elevate it through artful cinematography and terrific performances (Holbrook especially).”

Punch Drunk Critics says, “What does it mean to be free? This question of freedom and liberty is at the messy center of Jason Lew’s grim, low-watt crime noir, The Free World.  But it’s not the only question, and when veering away into more generic thriller territory the film loses much of its immediacy and impact, although powerful lead performances by Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss prove as redemptive as the journey embarked on by its lead characters.”

Movie Fiends writes, “In its way, though, The Free World is a crowd pleaser. It gives us what we, beneath our sophistication and cynicism, secretly want but what we never dare to hope for, especially in an indie drama: a pure, uncomplicated love; a physically strong but emotionally gentle man; a sweet woman in need of healing; a series of villains that are easy to hate; and an ending we can walk away from.”


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