‘Megalopolis’: What The Critics Are Saying

‘Megalopolis’: What The Critics Are Saying

After months of speculation, the critical book has finally been opened on Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis. The early word? Predominantly positive, with some very high highs and inevitably a few low lows.

Below, we run through some of the first reactions.

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Deadline’s Damon Wise praised the movie, calling it a “mad modern masterwork that reinvents the possibilities of cinema”. He said the film is “something of a mess; unruly, exaggerated and drawn to pretension like a moth to a flame. It is also, however, a pretty stunning achievement, the work of a master artist who has taken to Imax like Caravaggio to canvas. It is a true modern masterwork of the kind that outrages with its sheer audacity.”

He continued: “Halfway through, there’s a very audacious gimmick that tears down the fourth wall in ways younger filmmakers can only dream of. Coppola breaks many of the cardinal rules of filmmaking in the film’s 138 minutes but it upholds the most important one: it is never, ever boring, and it will inspire just as many artists as the audiences it will alienate.”

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In a positive notice, Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri dissected the film’s “absolute madness” and called it the “craziest movie I have ever seen”: “There is nothing in Megalopolis that feels like something out of a “normal” movie. It has its own logic and cadence and vernacular. The characters speak in archaic phrases and words, mixing shards of Shakespeare, Ovid, and at one point straight-up Latin. Some characters speak in rhyme, others just in high-minded prose that feels like maybe it should be in verse.”

Indiewire’s David Ehrlich said on X: “The silliness is a feature, not a bug! a garish, epic, & utterly singular $120 million self-portrait that’s also a fable about the fall of ancient Rome & a plea to save our civilization (and its cinema) from itself. big fan.”

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Joshua Rothkopf of the Los Angeles Times also was warm in his reaction: “I thrilled to Megalopolis in all its overstuffed, crazy ambition. Only an uncharitable viewer would call it a catastrophe. It’s definitely not boring.”


Rolling Stone‘s David Fear called the film “truly epic”: “So long as there are people who love movies that are actually about things, and think about the past 6,000 years of human civilization, there is an audience for this.”

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David Jenkins of Little White Lies was also in the pro camp, posting to X: “Desole haters… Megalopolis rules.”

The UK’s Daily Telegraph gave the movie four stars, saying, “Coppola’s latest is like Succession crossed with Batman Forever and a lava lamp…Aubrey Plaza is fantastic in this full-body sensory bath movie which follows a struggle for power among the elites of New Rome.”

Not everyone was as glowing. The Guardian gave the film only two stars, saying: “Coppola’s passion project is megabloated and megaboring.”

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Vanity Fair‘s Richard Lawson echoed that theme, with the brand noting in its headline: “Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis Is a Passion Project Gone Horribly Wrong”, before continuing, “Maybe some cinephiles will see value in the Godfather director’s long-gestating epic. Many more, though, will be left scratching their heads.”

Tim Grierson of Screen Daily went further, saying on X: “It pains me to say that Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis is a disaster.”

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The official logline for the film reads: “Megalopolis is a Roman Epic fable set in an imagined Modern America. The City of New Rome must change, causing conflict between Cesar Catilina (Adam Driver), a genius artist who seeks to leap into a utopian, idealistic future, and his opposition, Mayor Franklyn Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito), who remains committed to a regressive status quo, perpetuating greed, special interests, and partisan warfare. Torn between them is socialite Julia Cicero (Nathalie Emmanuel), the mayor’s daughter, whose love for Cesar has divided her loyalties, forcing her to discover what she truly believes humanity deserves.”

As we revealed earlier this week, the movie recently scored distribution deals in key European territories. Speculation is rife about what will happen to the film in the U.S. Interestingly, the international deals are for theatrical rights only and TV and VOD rights have been held back by Coppola’s team, potentially paving the way for a global streamer-type deal down the line.

After tonight, what’s clear is the movie has a number of prominent critical supporters, perhaps more so than anticipated. Could Coppola make history by becoming the first director ever to win three Palme d’Ors? That doesn’t seem such a remote possibility right now.

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