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Flash of Genius (2008)

Greg Kinnear , Lauren Graham , Marc Abraham  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney, Alan Alda, Bill Smitrovich
  • Directors: Marc Abraham
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001LM64S8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,653 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Flash of Genius" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Marc Abraham
  • Feature Commentary with Director Marc Abraham

  • Editorial Reviews

    Product Description

    Academy Award nominee Greg Kinnear stars in this inspiring true story about an ordinary man and his extraordinary fight against one of the most powerful corporations in the country. Dr. Robert Kearns (Kinnear) and his family are on their way to achieving the American Dream when he invents a device that can be used in every car in the world. But when an auto giant steals his idea, Robert does the unthinkable: He takes on the corporate titan in a battle nobody thinks he can win. Co-starring Alan Alda, Dermot Mulroney and Lauren Graham, it’s the remarkable, feel-good journey critics are calling “hugely entertaining!” (Pete Hammond,

    In the early-1990s, Greg Kinnear was just another amiable talk show host. After As Good As It Gets, however, Kinnear confirmed he could act. If Flash of Genius isn't as harrowing as the Bob Crane biopic Auto-Focus, Kinnear digs just as deep to play a man possessed, in this case taking on Bob Kearns, a Detroit physics professor who invented the intermittent windshield wiper. Supported by his wife (Lauren Graham) and best friend (Dermot Mulroney, making the most of an underwritten part), Kearns aims to align himself with a Motor City auto maker to manufacture his device. Ford expresses interest, so Kearns secures a warehouse, but it all falls apart when they abruptly pull the plug. Then he finds out that they've added automatic wipers to their latest line. Though he patented his invention, the company denies they're using his blueprint, so Kearns takes them to court, a process that drags on for three decades. Meanwhile, his support system starts to collapse as Kearns loses interest in everything except the credit he feels he deserves. If the film succumbs to some of the pitfalls of the genre, i.e. the win-lose-win structure, producer-turned-director Marc Abraham never paint Kearns as too much of a hero. Through the inventor's brilliance, the world's streets are safer, but his tenacity also drove away some of those he held most dear. Hence, Flash of Genius serves as an inspirational story, a cautionary tale, and the perfect opportunity for Kinnear to make a potentially off-putting character sympathetic. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

    Stills from Flash of Genius (Click for larger image)


    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration Comes to Those Who Blink October 8, 2008
    Format:Theatrical Release
    I don't know how accurately "Flash of Genius" portrays the real Robert Kearns. If he was anything like Greg Kinnear's representation, he may be one of the most relatable people I know of. In the film, Kearns is passionate, determined, stubborn, and cursed with a one-track mind. He was a college engineering professor and an independent inventor with an absolute sense of right and wrong, and because the Ford Motor Company wrongs him, he puts all his energy into making it right. We may not all be inventors, but I think it's safe to say that most of us understand why he does what he does, and that's because we've all been passionate about something. This isn't to say that we can completely side with him; as admirable as his intentions are, he ends up neglecting his wife, his children, and his job, and he unfairly drags his family through a twelve-year legal nightmare. One wonder whether or not the journey was worth it.

    The Kearns character is the lifeblood of "Flash of Genius." He holds everything together, and that's because the filmmakers develop him far more than any other character. This was done on purpose, I suspect. This is his dream, his effort, his obsession--everyone else is either along for the ride or left standing at the curb. The film's structure is just as narrow-minded as Kearns is, which will be problematic if you want a story that develops all of its characters. I wasn't bothered by it, and that's because I wanted to see things from his perspective. I wanted to understand why he believed so strongly when others didn't. I wanted to be convinced that he was doing the right thing by fighting a gigantic corporation that ripped off his windshield wiper design.
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    43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Theatrical Release
    This is absolutely the best movie I have seen, so far, this year! I sincerely hope Flash of Genius gets a few Academy Awards! But one thing is for certain! People will be watching this powerful film a 100 years from now! It's that good!

    When I left the theater and reached the safety of my car, I sobbed uncontrollably! Why? The reason is simple! I can identify with what Dr. Kearns went through, having had a somewhat similar gut-wrenching experience as a whistleblower.

    I really don't think most people can begin to understand what it is like to stand up for one's honor and to confront a powerful institution, such as a huge transnational corporation, (or in my case a government agency) - no matter what the personal cost.

    Making matters even more difficult is that many politicians with a conservative bent love to turn the issue of litigation awards into a political football! Oh, how rich and powerful institutions are the "victims" of shady lawyers and questionable plaintiffs, they cry! But what these unethical politicians don't tell you is the mind-boggling amount of work that goes into preparing your case before you can even find a lawyer willing to take it! Or, that no matter how serious the injury, there's no guarantee your case will ever see the light of day!

    This true story is also about love & family! Dr. Kearns is so fortunate to have such wonderful children. It's amazing how much can be accomplished when a human being gets emotional and logistical support from those he loves! Ultimately, I think that's the bottom line, here!

    See: Patent Law Essentials: A Concise Guide Second Edition, and A Civil Action/The Insider
    Was this review helpful to you?
    16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Greg Kinnear Finally Brings It March 7, 2009
    Greg Kinnear's performance of his life. Well known as a B actor in mostly B films, or deep in the supporting role in A films. Greg comes out swinging in this film. He is simply remarkable as the possessed engineer Bob Kearns that invented the intermittent windshield wiper. Lauren Graham is his gorgeous wife, Phyllis. Where Kinnear ages during this many years film, Graham does not age much. She does come off a bit young for the mother of the seven children.

    This is a long film, almost 2 hours. The director played with the timeline in a needlessly confusing way, through subtitles. The film opens with a scene that is then rewound to three years earlier. And the time increments just get stranger and stranger. About 1/4 of the way through the film the viewer is now back at the same time as the opening of the film. In fact it gets very hard to figure out, what will the rest of the film be about. By about the first half hour, he's already invented, tried to build and sell the device, been shot down, had the idea stolen by Ford, and goes crazy. Never fear the rest of the film is interesting, but it does feel spent after that first half hour. Although the viewer is treated to strange time jumps, a month here, a few months there, a year here, another few years here, and four years there....

    The topic of the film is that age old, an individual stands up for what they beleive is right, to heck with money and any other damage that fight might bring. That theme is well played, well told in this film.

    This is not the best edited film. There are some pacing issues, mostly taking too long to get to the point. The moved around timeline really gets in the way of telling this story, it was almost an artificial effect to create interest.
    Read more ›
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Absolutely loved this movie
    Published 22 days ago by Aubrey
    1.0 out of 5 stars wouldn't know if I could have liked it the dvd didn't play no matter...
    wouldn't know if I could have liked it the dvd didn't play no matter what I did, wasted my dime!
    Published 27 days ago by jon anderson
    5.0 out of 5 stars Good flick
    Great movie! Has some sad parts, but well worth watching!
    Published 1 month ago by Ernesto Quiroz
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    great movie on patents.
    Published 1 month ago by Landon Babbitt
    5.0 out of 5 stars He was right, he fought, and he won!
    We first borrowed this from the library and enjoyed it so much we borrowed it again to show to others. It is a fantastic movie because it is a true story about a Ph. D. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by B. L. Swoverland
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Published 2 months ago by Grattano1
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Great story for engineers
    Published 2 months ago by paul jennerjohn
    4.0 out of 5 stars Didn't know that some car companies take advantage of people ...
    Didn't know that some car companies take advantage of people by stealing their ideas knowing that these people don't have the money or power to fight back. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Stanley H. Eisenman
    4.0 out of 5 stars Flash of Genius is a movie well worth watching just to see Ford and...
    Flash of Genius is base on a true life story of Dr. Robert Kerns who invented (of all things)
    the intermittent windshield wiper! Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Devils.Advocate666
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    True Story
    Published 3 months ago by Harold K.
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