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'Set Fire to the Stars': EW review

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Set Fire to the Stars

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
runtime:
93 minutes
Limited Release Date:
06/12/15
performer:
Elijah Wood, Celyn Jones
director:
Andy Goddard
genre:
Biography, Drama

We gave it a B-

Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, whose magnificent “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” meteored him to greatness before his death at age 39, had the soul of John Donne and the appetite of Chris Farley. This biopic, directed by Andy Goddard (Downton Abbey), focuses on Thomas’ first visit to America in 1950, after he was enticed into a speaking tour by Harvard academic John Malcolm Brinnin (Elijah Wood). Shot in melancholy black and white, the film wallows too much in its subject’s glumness, but it comes alive whenever TV actor and co-writer Celyn Jones, whose only previous film credit is 2005’s Lassie, plays Thomas as a big shaggy dog. When the embalmed higher-ups at Yale flee in disgust after he wishes they were hermaphrodites—so that they could all fornicate with themselves—the poet practically drools. B–

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