The Last Movie Stars: The Last Movie Stars
July 31, 2022 7:53 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The Last Movie Stars is a limited documentary series created and directed by Ethan Hawke. After discovering transcripts of interviews conducted at Paul Newman's request for an abandoned memoir project, a daughter of Newman and Joanne Woodward asked Hawke to tell their story, personally and as inspired artists. Hawke assembled actors to read pieces of the interviews, conducted and edited by writer Stewart Stern, including interviews with Newman and Woodward.

Matt Zoller Seitz in his **** review at
"The Last Movie Stars" is actor/director Ethan Hawke's nonfiction series on acting, creativity, Hollywood, marriage, and a lot of other subjects. It will be catnip to anyone who's interested in Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and 20th century American acting, cinema, theater, and politics. Newman, of course, was a sought-after leading man in the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s, and eventually won the respect he craved as an actor. His wife Woodward had critical acclaim from the start (Newman, to his credit, was her number one fan) but suffered from inverse feelings of inferiority: Newman became one of the biggest stars in the world, drew what a wife would consider to be the wrong sort of attention from women, and continued to be a star well into his seventies, while Woodward increasingly had trouble getting lead roles in projects that Newman wasn't attached to.
Linda Holmes at NPR:
This is a terrific history; it is an absolute feast of film clips, full of things I didn't know, full of things a lot of people probably don't know. It is rich and thorough when it is operating as a biography. But there is something especially welcome in the moments in which it steps back and becomes a study of generations of artists and of legend itself, legend as a thing so big it can block out the sun and obscure the messy lessons of other people's lives that are, after all, the best reasons to study them.
The Guardian:
Considered as a whole, this tribute to the pair ’00s tabloid media would’ve dubbed Jaul (Poanne?) doubles as a case study in fandom practiced properly. The profile of the typical fan has been significantly warped over the past internet-besotted decade, now more closely associated with lockstep devotees of pop music or superhero movies, hordes prone to cyber-swarming anyone who challenges their absolute allegiance. Hawke trades this unquestioning fealty for an appreciation with a more critical bent, willing to acknowledge Newman’s sizable flaws alongside his virtues. For all his open admiration, Hawke constructs an even-keeled assessment of an essential artist and troubled man. In doing so, he demonstrates how to account for the problematic aspects of a personal favorite, a challenge for all of us that grows more pressing with every breaking scandal.
posted by octothorpe (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I loved this and tore through it in two days. Hawke's decision to cast famous actors to read the interview transcripts in character sounds like a terrible idea but it really works well and it's certainly a better idea than doing some deep fake bullshit. I also appreciated how they worked hard to show them as very flawed people who were still very loved and loved each other.
posted by octothorpe at 7:49 PM on July 31, 2022

Great movie! I didn't know Paul Newman was so lush, he never got that bloated Orson Welles look. I also would have never guessed having current Hollywood A-listers read the transcripts would have worked, so hats off to Ethan Hawke for having the foresight on that.
posted by geoff. at 1:03 AM on August 1, 2022

I didn't know Paul Newman was so lush, he never got that bloated Orson Welles look.

Welles never had to fit himself into a race car.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:11 AM on August 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

He was also a pretty heavy smoker during that period too; that'll keep the weight off. It's finally what killed him though.
posted by octothorpe at 5:58 AM on August 1, 2022

« Older Paper Girls: Growing Pains...   |  Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marsha... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments