Big Sur
Want to See
Not Interested
Rate it ½ star
Rate it 1 star
Rate it 1½ stars
Rate it 2 stars
Rate it 2½ stars
Rate it 3 stars
Rate it 3½ stars
Rate it 4 stars
Rate it 4½ stars
Rate it 5 stars
An adaptation of American literary icon Jack Kerouac's novel of the same name, BIG SUR focuses on a moment in Kerouac's life when, overwhelmed by the success of his opus On the Road and struggling to battle inner demons, he seeks respite in three brief sojourns to a cabin in the small, coastal California town of Big Sur. Michael Polish's film is at once a poetic meditation and a love-letter to the work of an author who defined the Beat Generation. (c) Ketchup

Available Online

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"There's a strange heft to its hollowness."
‑ Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
"With Kerouac declaring that "the only thing that matters is the conceptions in my own mind," we're still left waiting for the filmmaker who can take us there."
‑ Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
" as a kind of tone poem, drenching the senses in beautifully sad imagery, as Kerouac's poetry and prose sound over images of the sparkling Pacific."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Competent adaptation of Jack Kerouac's swan song. Those expecting a groovy good time should look elsewhere since this is a movie about a nervous breakdown."
‑ Louis Proyect,
"Polish's agonizingly dull adaptation of Jack Kerouac's Big Sur unwittingly illustrates why movies continue to be the Beats' Kryptonite."
‑ Nathan Rabin, The Dissolve
""Big Sur" cracks the code of how to adapt Jack Kerouac for the screen."
‑ Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Nobody's given the opportunity to do much more than brood prettily and occasionally shout carpe diembromides into the pounding surf."
‑ Mike D'Angelo, AV Club
"Clearly edited to evoke a feeling of slipstream, stream-of-consciousness connection, but little more than a rolling delivery service of smugness, self-destruction, hedonism and pretentiousness."
‑ Brent Simon,
"A strangely tepid experience for such searing psychological material."
‑ Sheila O'Malley,
"Some of the performances -- Mitchell, Fischler and especially Lucas -- are lively, but Barr never gets under Kerouac's skin to show the pain of an artist who can't hold his life together."
‑ Jeff Baker, Oregonian
"Sometimes feels like a beautiful illustration, rather than an adaptation, of Kerouac's prose."
‑ John DeFore, Washington Post
"Don't worry if you don't connect. There's nothing to connect to. The characters are never developed, and nothing ever happens."
‑ Rex Reed, New York Observer
"Big Sur rises and fades, shifts and moves, through movements and melodies, singing a beautifully sad song for an era and a man who lost his way."
‑ Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
"It feels like we get closer to the real Kerouac here, the man behind the book, unable to escape its shadow."
‑ Rob Thomas, Madison Movie
"The viewer is informed of a world of chaos, obsession, and irresolution, but has no cinematic means of accessing or understanding it."
‑ David Lee Dallas, Slant Magazine
More reviews for Big Sur on Rotten Tomatoes