Critic Reviews



Based on 24 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Wakefield fights formula and creates its own unique cinematic language.
Wakefield is a sometimes funny, always smart movie that never quite finds the depth to be brilliant.
Screen International
Although Wakefield’s ending leaves open the possibility for multiple interpretations, the filmmaker removes the sting from her story’s tale, which keeps its insights from cutting as deep.
Swicord took on a daunting challenge in adapting this piece, and she’s met it more intelligently than convincingly. It would have been asking a lot from any actor to carry this film, and Cranston has done the heavy lifting and more.
Cranston humanizes his sociopathic character, which is essential, considering that Wakefield is essentially a one-man show whose star grows increasingly creepy as his beard fills in and his fingernails lengthen and turn back.
Swicord, perhaps a touch too reverent of Doctorow’s writing, can’t quite solve the limited emotional range of her protagonist.
It’s a tale of what happens when male inadequacy runs rampant, starring a committed Bryan Cranston, but it’s ultimately hamstrung by its overwrought sensibilities.
Cranston acts the hell out of the role, like he’s performing Macbeth in a room. Unfortunately his commitment isn’t enough to sell Wakefield as anything more than a hollow character study, with an unappealing tool at its core.
Slant Magazine
Writer-director Robin Swicord's film seems content to merely carry out its absurdist premise until the bitter end.
It goes without saying that Cranston has a lot to carry on his shoulders and he does an admirable job. It’s hard not to laugh every so often at one of Wakefield’s snide remarks and that’s effectively because of how Cranston sells it. But even this accomplished actor can’t make you feel any sympathy for a character whose actions defy convention in the most unimaginative ways.

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