Paul Goodman Changed My Life
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Paul Goodman Changed My Life
Paul Goodman's 1960 best-seller, Growing Up Absurd, became a cornerstone of countercultural thinking, alongside books like The Medium Is The Message, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and The Feminine Mystique. Goodman was a polymath: a poet, essayist, playwright, and psychotherapist. He was candid about his bisexuality while maintaining a marriage and raising two children. Jonathan Lee weaves together old and new footage of those who extol Goodman's virtues, as well as his adamant detractors (often one and the same), including Grace Paley, Ned Rorem, Deborah Meier, William F. Buckley,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It is generally pungent and enlightening."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
""Paul Goodman Changed My Life" is a documentary about a man who changed mine."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Paul Goodman Changed My Life, a new documentary by Jonathan Lee, captures Goodman's ubiquitousness, as well as the fashionable intellectual bohemianism of the period..."
‑ Sarah Boslaugh, Playback:stl
"Paul Goodman Changed My Life offers memories of the poet and essayist, novelist and philosopher, practicing lay psychiatrist and a founder of Gestalt Therapy. As interviewees recall, he took these roles seriously."
‑ Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
"Jonathan Lee's talking-head interviewees successfully bear the burden of making the iconoclast's dogged and prickly personality nearly tangible."
‑ Bill Weber, Slant Magazine
"In this heady documentary, TV footage of left-wing social critic Paul Goodman being interviewed by conservative host William F. Buckley Jr. in 1966 makes one realize how low public discourse in America has sunk since then."
‑ Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader
"The movie effectively uses Goodman's poems to illustrate his life."
‑ Claude Peck, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"But more remarkable than the accolades of his admirers is the (sometimes grudging) respect shown by his opponents and antagonists."
‑ Jim Slotek, Jam! Movies
"Intensely watchable and informative documentary about visionary New York intellectual Paul Goodman."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"I sometimes feel like I like the idea of Paul Goodman more than the reality of most of his writing, but it is this cheering idea of him as utopian sexual and societal prophet that Lee's film brings back most seductively."
‑ Dan Callahan, House Next Door
"As documentaries go, it's an able introduction that doesn't make its subject nearly as relevant to our current discontents as it could."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"What makes him such an interesting biographic sketch for a film, however, is the way Goodman undercut his own successes."
‑ Guy Dixon, Globe and Mail
"Lee aims to revive Goodman's legacy, using archival footage and thoughtful interviews with surviving friends and relations to create a portrait of a man who was quite literally too complicated for his times."
‑ Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto
"Perhaps it's a tribute to the breadth of Goodman's life that even after 90 minutes, it feels as if we've just scratched the surface."
‑ Sam Adams, AV Club
More reviews for Paul Goodman Changed My Life on Rotten Tomatoes