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Actors Who Responded to Negative Film Reviews

Which actors couldn’t hold back after reading negative reviews of their films and decided to confront the film critics?

Martyna Janasik

29 May 2024

It’s well known that being an actor is a tough job. Not only because few actors achieve a breakthrough in their careers, but also because they are constantly subjected to public judgment. It’s no wonder, then, that actors sometimes crack under pressure and confront their critics. Here are some examples of justified confrontations in our opinion. Here’s a list of actors who responded to negative film reviews.

Melissa McCarthy

In 2013, Melissa McCarthy starred alongside Jason Bateman in the comedy “Identity Thief.” McCarthy plays a woman who impersonates Bateman’s character, and he decides to track her down and bring her to justice. This, of course, won’t be easy, and they end up becoming reluctant partners, as McCarthy’s character might have more on her conscience. “Identity Thief” didn’t sit well with Rex Reed. The film critic referred to McCarthy, calling her a “female hippo” and sarcastically saying she sacrificed her comedic talent to be “obnoxious and obese.” The actress decided to respond when asked about it in an interview with “The New York Times.” She said, “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. I just thought, that person is in a really bad spot, and I’m in such a happy spot. I feel sorry for him.”

Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan is an Irish actor who drew global media attention with his role in “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its two sequels. Although this erotic trilogy was never highly regarded by critics, one critic particularly annoyed Dornan, prompting the actor to react. In one review, it was stated that Dornan was as stiff as “a bowl of oatmeal,” implying he was bland and lacking charisma. In a 2020 interview with “Variety,” discussing the moment he read bad reviews, Dornan addressed the oatmeal comparison, saying, “Some people like oatmeal, so I thought it was a bit mean. I remember it sticking with me, and I don’t entirely disagree.” He found such harsh reviews amusing.

John Krasinski

“**A Quiet Place**,” directed by John Krasinski, achieved great success and was praised by the film industry and critics alike. I myself am impressed by this project, even though I don’t usually watch such films. The concept of maintaining utter silence allows actors to showcase their skills through body language, facial expressions, and eye contact. However, the film didn’t entirely escape criticism. “The New Yorker” labeled it as regressive and accused it of having a political tone. A few years later, Krasinski commented on the review in an interview with “Esquire,” stating that he never intended for his film to have a political message. He emphasized that the film is a metaphor for parenting.

Carey Mulligan

“Promising Young Woman” is a story about a wounded woman leading a double life who unexpectedly gets a second chance. She plays god with life and death, delivering justice and seeking revenge for past wrongs. Carey Mulligan stars in the lead role, recently seen in “Maestro.” “Promising Young Woman” received mostly positive reviews and was nominated for five Oscars, winning the award for Best Original Screenplay. However, Dennis Harvey didn’t like the film, particularly criticizing Mulligan’s appearance, saying everything about her was contrived and forced, even her blonde hair. In a 2020 interview with “The New York Times,” Mulligan addressed the negative review, saying, “It felt like he was basically saying that I wasn’t hot enough to pull off this kind of ruse,” referring to her character’s mission of revenge. She found it particularly offensive that a review of a film dealing with toxic masculinity included criticism of her appearance. “Variety” kept the review on its site but added an editor’s note at the beginning, apologizing for undermining Mulligan’s “brave performance.”

Johnny Depp

“**The Lone Ranger**” stirred controversy even before its release. Firstly, it significantly exceeded its budget. Secondly, the main character, a Native American, was played by Johnny Depp, who doesn’t have Native American heritage. This fact angered some viewers who believed the role should have gone to someone with indigenous roots. In an interview with “Postmedia News,” Depp defended his casting, saying, “I was told I was Cherokee as a kid. I was told I was Creek as a kid. I was told I was Chickasaw as a kid. It’s always fascinated me. This film can be a great opportunity to reject stereotypes a bit.” Critics remained unconvinced, and Ryan Syrek from “The Reader” began his review by addressing the Washington NFL team, saying, “In one glorious weekend in the summer of 2013, your unapologetically racist franchise wasn’t the most grotesque pop culture representation of Native Americans!” Other cast members also defended Depp’s casting as Tonto.

Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen has several critically acclaimed films to his name, such as “The Fabelmans.” Unfortunately, his resume also includes some missteps. One of Rogen’s projects that garnered the most negative reviews was “The Green Hornet.” This proves that having a stellar cast doesn’t guarantee a hit. The actor addressed this in a podcast, “Diary of a CEO”: “I think if most critics knew how much it hurts the people who made the things they are writing about, they would rethink the way they write these things. It’s devastating. I know people who never recovered from it, honestly, years, decades of being hurt by this. It’s very personal. It’s devastating when your institution tells you that your way of expressing yourself is bad. It’s something people carry with them literally their entire lives, and I get why. It’s really lousy. With ‘The Green Hornet,’ there were reviews, and people just hated it. It seemed like people were really enjoying tearing it apart. But on the opening weekend, the film made $35 million, the biggest opening weekend I’ve ever been associated with. It did pretty well. Sometimes it’s nice to hold onto that sense of success.”

Martyna Janasik

Martyna Janasik

Cultural studies scholar and writer. Enthusiast of food, cinema, and sports. Probably that's why some of her favorite movies are "Rocky" and "Julie and Julia". She always wanted to write, so she will always write. In her free time, she loves watching movies and playing tennis.

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