The People vs. Larry Flynt Review

by Walter Frith (WFrith1680 AT aol DOT com)
December 31st, 1996

    A film review by Walter Frith
    Copyright 1996 Walter Frith

'The People vs. Larry Flynt' is a flagrant and courageous success in tackling the subject matter it set out to conquer. Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt took a civil case against him all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States claiming his right under the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution to publish his material anyway he saw fit. You may not like Larry Flynt or what he stands for but the amazing thing about this film is that despite the repellent nature of the characters and ideas shown to the public at large, sympathy and tolerance is created for Flynt's situation symbolizing the fact that if his rights can be protected then so can anyone el se's. Two time Academy Award winning director Milos Forman ('One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,' 'Ragtime,' 'Amadeus') is a master of making intellectual artistry alive and vibrant and he is helped by head producer of this movie, Oliver Stone (himself a two time Oscar winning director) who is no stranger at being socially aware. Together along with the antics and reality of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski's screenplay, this team has fashioned a story of society's ethics (or lack of them) against the backdrop of freedom which so many of us take for granted. Woody Harrelson portrays Larry Flynt with an eccentric quality of flamboyance and unintended humour along with intelligence and a daring dose of questioning authority at any cost to himself or his business. The real scene stealer in this movie is Courtney Love who portrays his wife and unquestionably his best friend who stands by him during and despite an assassination attempt and court battle. Her characterization of Flynt's wife is savagely loyal and we see her life played out on the screen eventually contracting AIDS from her morally decaying lifestyle. A breath of fresh air for this movie is delivered by the straight laced performance of Edward Norton ('Primal Fear') who plays Flynt's attorney. He is dedicated to his client's cause even though he dislikes Flynt's tactics and publication business. His character is both interesting and tips the scales as the centre of the movie's legal interpretation. Look for this one to score big at Oscar time. Updating my pick of the best film of 1996, 'The People vs. Larry Flynt,' is probably going to remain intact.
OUT OF 5> * * * * *

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