The Legend of Pale Male
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The Legend of Pale Male is the true account of one of the most surprising and remarkable love stories in the history of New York City. It begins in 1993, when a young man from Belgium looking to change his life has an unexpected encounter in Central Park. He meets a hawk. Not just any hawk, but a wild Redtail, a fierce predator that has not lived in the City for almost a hundred years. Affectionately known to New Yorkers as Pale Male, the hawk becomes a magnificent obsession -a metaphor for triumph against all odds. His nest, perched high on a posh Fifth Avenue co-op, starts out as a novel… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 58%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's notable for some astounding urban wildlife footage and for the way it unintentionally reflects the giddy narcissism of the primate known as homo sapiens."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"Lilien proves wholly uninterested in investigating his human subjects' habit of vigorously anthropomorphizing, and projecting their personal hopes, dreams, fears, and Daddy issues onto the striking hawk."
‑ Nick Schager, Village Voice
"This one's strictly for the birdwatchers."
‑ Gerald Peary, Boston Phoenix
"Belgian filmmaker Frederic Lilien's documentary about a red-tailed hawk that set up housekeeping on tony Fifth Avenue is equal parts nature documentary and group portrait of jaded urbanites enthralled by a glimpse of the wild"
‑ Maitland McDonagh, Film Journal International
"An entertaining documentary that is more heartfelt than polished."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"Docu offers family-friendly holiday fare."
‑ Ronnie Scheib, Variety
"...an uplifting documentary film, unique in its subject matter and locale, which grabs your attention and keeps it for the whole film. The photography is superior in its clarity and fluidity and is worth the price of admission alone."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"I'm a little skeptical about the film's second half, in which Lilien's shortcomings as a narrative filmmaker become apparent."
‑ Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine
"A sugary, aggressively anthropomorphized story of one avian interloper and a whole bunch of human obsessives."
‑ Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
"Amateurish storytelling threatens urban-naturalist doc, but doesn't quite kill it."
‑ John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
"...first time filmmaker Frederic Lilien would have us believe everything Red-tailed hawk Pale Male does is a personal message, but the real story gets told in spite of him and it's a wonder - beautiful, primitive, funny, tragic and ultimately hopeful."
‑ Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"A crowd-pleasing documentary about the adventures of a wild Red-tailed hawk in New York City where he enchanted hardcore urban-dwellers and stole their hearts."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
More reviews for The Legend of Pale Male on Rotten Tomatoes