The reviews for The Disaster Artist are as glowing as they were dreadful for The Room, and that’s saying something.
The Room, in case you aren’t familiar with it, is often called the worst movie ever made. The Disaster Artist, actor-filmmaker James Franco’s reenactment of the making of The Room, screened at the Toronto International Film Festival this week to near-unanimous rave reviews. It provoked a similarly rapturous response when it debuted at South by Southwest earlier this year. It will be released in the US on Dec. 1.
Franco himself stars as Tommy Wiseau, the brooding and mysterious figure who in 2003 self-financed and starred in The Room, a film that has now become a cult hit, infamous for its unfathomably bizarre and amateurish style. The plot of Wiseau’s film was incomprehensible, its characters ridiculous, and its acting hilariously stilted.
Based on the book of the same name by actor Greg Sestero, who befriended Wiseau and co-starred in The Room, The Disaster Artist follows the friendship of Sestero (played by Franco’s younger brother, Dave Franco) and Wiseau, as they set out to make the film.
Seth Rogen plays the script supervisor whose impossible task it is to keep Wiseau and The Room on track. The film also features a number of celebrity cameos, including JJ Abrams, Bryan Cranston, and Wiseau himself.
The Disaster Artist, according to most reviews, doesn’t mock of The Room or turn Wiseau into a caricature. Rather, critics say the film is an earnest portrait of a man trying to fulfill his lifelong dream—one that’s “subtle,” “poignant,” “sweet,” Oscar-worthy, and still “wildly funny.”
That makes The Disaster Artist just about the polar opposite of the film it’s about. Here’s how reviews for the two films stack up: