Helvetica (2007)

In 2005 a number of provocative, award-winning ads appeared that touted the Helvetica font; Gary Hustwit explores the subject protractedly with his feature-length essay film Helvetica. The documentary, produced in 2007 (and thus… More

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Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: May 8, 2007
DVD Release Date: November 20, 2007
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Critic Score: 88% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Jeff Shannon
Seattle Times

Helvetica is one of those rare films in which the exploration of a specific topic leads to expanding horizons of perception.

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Julia Wallace
Village Voice

Helvetica keenly distills the eternal aesthetic battle between the classical and the baroque and explores what happens when a revolution goes mainstream.

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Bill White
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Director Gary Hustwit opens our eyes to the visual culture of typography in much the same way as Andy Warhol once freed us from the tyranny of advertising, by inviting reflection upon that which is intended as a subliminal encounter.

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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly

Even viewers who've never given a serif a second thought are in for an exclamation point of joy from such a well-designed doc.

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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader

The computer revolution may have democratized graphic design, letting anyone decorate his own desktop or MySpace page, but a certain amount of conformity is necessary for society to function.

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Cath Clarke

The tweaky world of typography is not perhaps as much at the heart of how we live as these designers would have us believe, but it's enjoyable to watch them rhapsodise sans serifs and spacing.

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Matt Zoller Seitz
New York Times

Overlong but fascinating, Gary Hustwit's documentary posits Helvetica, a sans-serif typeface developed in 1957.

Bill Stamets
Chicago Sun-Times

A splendid documentary about one typeface, designed in 1957 in Switzerland.

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Michael W. Phillips, Jr.
Goatdog's Movies

A little like a study of the American Civil War that discusses the Confederacy without mentioning the Union.

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More reviews for Helvetica

Flixster Audience Score: 80% Flixster User Reviews
Christian C
Surprisingly interesting film. If thinking simply about simple things is the key to insight, this is the film for you.
Ken Stachnik
Interesting documentary, uninterestingly done.
Jay Hutchinson
Typeface designer Jonathan Hoefler, one of the many interviewees for this film, compares Helvetica, the font, in the film's introduction to off-white… More
Byron Brubaker
Some people really like fonts. I am not one who is interested in this much detail about typography. For a doc about graphic design and advertising, Art &… More
Alice Shen
My lukewarm reception of this documentary may be due to the fact that I abhor the eponymous font itself. I'm loath to use sans serifs anyway, but… More
Walter M.
[font=Century Gothic]"Helvetica" is an illuminating documentary about how even the things we take for granted may have a more complex story than we… More