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Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel yields mixed first reactions

Here’s what critics are saying from the New York Film Festival

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Movie critics emerged from the first screening of Wonder Wheel at the New York Film Festival on Friday with varying degrees of criticism. Kate Winslet‘s performance and Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography seem to be the standouts, but the general consensus on Woody Allen’s latest film teetered between “immaculately textured” and “clunky, miscast dinner theatre.”

Wonder Wheel is Allen’s 1950s Coney Island story that weaves between the lives of a carousel operator (Jim Belushi), his former-actress wife (Winslet), his mob-dodging daughter (Juno Temple), and a lifeguard dreaming of being a poet (Justin Timberlake).

The more positive-leaning side of the critics pool praised the film for its “gorgeous lighting and cinematography,” “career high” Winslet performance, “color palette unlike any [Allen’s] used,” and mirroring of “the theatrical masks of a Greek tragedy.” On the other hand, there were those who found it “empty beneath its surface” and perhaps better served as a “Tony-nominated play with the right cast.”

See more reactions below.

Wonder Wheel will have its world premiere as the closing night film at the New York Film Festival on Saturday before getting a release in select theaters on Dec. 1.