HiTVRating: 3.   About Face: Supermodels Then And Now, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders documentary on ageing supermodels, airing on HBO, garners faint praise from critics, who view the film as a lightweight exploration of its subject, albeit one with stunning production values.

The N.Y. Times says, “Unfortunately Mr. Greenfield-Sanders seems content — eager, even — to keep his film only skin deep. Just when one of his subjects says something intriguing, he cuts away to another model or topic.” Adding, “It ends up being a summary of all possible opinions on the topic, rather than a serious exploration of it.”

The Washington Post notes “a certain antiseptic quality is always present, making it difficult for the narrative to arrive at a solid theme.” WaPo’s criticism extends to the film’s subjects: “On the subject of age, the women in “About Face” are somewhat circumspect.”

Newsday is more forgiving. “Impressionistic and just 72 minutes long, “About Face” doesn’t aim to be anything close to a definitive history of the modeling industry, its social impact or its financial reverberations.”

The Daily Mail sounds a more positive note, saying, “The film, while exposing the more regrettable elements the models faced daily, also gives insight into the vivacious personalities who have graced hundreds of covers over the past 40 years.

The Denver Post is likewise impressed, saying, “Ultimately Greenfield-Sanders pulls off a bicoastal portrait of the dozen models, merging images from New York and Los Angeles, that should go in a time capsule.”

The Wall Street Journal finds the film lightweight, observing, ”nobody here offers shattering insights into the meaning of life or even of modeling. They’re just among a large group of attractive women telling stories to the camera. Our challenge is to listen while we look.”

Variety calls About Face “A big box of eye candy as well as an indictment of genetics.”  But it praises the film’s technical achievements, saying, “Production values are topnotch, and the archival footage is fascinating.”


One Response to Review – About Face: Supermodels Then and Now

  1. [...] reveals the roles they played in defining – and redefining – beauty over time.  The reviews are reasonably positive about this documentary. [...]

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