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Flawless


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"One of the year's hottest surprises" (Rex Reed), this "feel-good drama" (San Francisco Chronicle) from writer-director Joel Schumacher (A Time to Kill) combines the acting talents of two-time Oscar(r) winner* Robert De Niro (Analyze This) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Talented Mr. Ripley)! Flawless lives up to its name with a story line that's full of compassion, tolerance and most of all "heart" (San Francisco Chronicle)! Walter Koontz (De Niro)once a hero cop, now a security guardlives in a rundown Hell's Kitchen tenement. One fateful night, after hearing the cries of a neighbor in trouble, his attempt to help turns into a nightmare when he suffers a stroke. Paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak clearly, Koontz, on the advice of his doctor, seeks voice lessons. But with winter holding him hostage to his apartment, he has no choice but to seek help from a musically inclined neighbor whom he vehemently dislikes an outspoken guy named Rusty (Hoffman)!

Amazon.com

Who could possibly be the target audience for Flawless? Walter (Robert De Niro) is a homophobic policeman who suffers a stroke while responding to gunshots in his own apartment building; for speech therapy, he starts taking singing lessons from his neighbor Rusty (Philip Seymour Hoffman of Magnolia, Boogie Nights, and Happiness), a gay drag queen who's saving up money for a sex-change operation. However, there's another story line that takes up at least as much time as that one, about a drug dealer and his goons trying to find money that was stolen from them, brutally beating up everyone in their path. Furthermore, the local gay community (in New York City) seems to consist entirely of drag queens and Log Cabin Republicans, and one of Walter's cop buddies goggles at drag queens as if he's just arrived from the middle of Iowa. All the characters--including various prostitutes, drug dealers, a hotel clerk who's a weaselly mama's boy, as well as the aforementioned drag queens and cops--are horrific stereotypes. De Niro and Hoffman, both extremely talented actors, do all they can to overcome their cliché-studded dialogue, but they never seem to be in the same movie. Written and directed by Joel Schumacher, whose eclectic career includes Batman & Robin, A Time to Kill, Flatliners, and St. Elmo's Fire. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Miller, Chris Bauer, Skipp Sudduth
  • Directors: Joel Schumacher
  • Writers: Joel Schumacher
  • Producers: Joel Schumacher, Amy Sayres, Caroline Baron, Eli Richbourg, Jane Rosenthal
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 25, 2000
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305781095
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,978 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Flawless" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By "flickjunkie" on May 15, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
`Flawless' is an offbeat story about Walter Koontz (Robert De Niro) an ex-cop who suffers a stroke and loses partial ability to speak. In an effort to regain some of his speech capabilities it is recommended to him that he take singing lessons. So he decides to ask his neighbor Rusty (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who is a female impersonator, to give him singing lessons. This is an unlikely pairing because Walter is a belligerent homophobe.
This film was written and directed by Joel Schumacher. His story, though peculiar, makes some powerful points. This is a story about hatred, bigotry and reconciliation. Walter learns through his disability who his friends really are, and who they are not. It seems that the people he hates treat him a lot better than the people he thought he loved. Ultimately, he is able to look past his prejudices to find the human elements that make him and Rusty not so different after all.
This was an excellent character study of both main characters, giving a lot of insight into the motivations and lives of each. Unfortunately, the story meanders too often to irrelevant characters and scenes that don't really contribute much (like the Gay Republicans). Schumacher would have been better to concentrate on the relationship between Walter and Rusty rather than digressing so frequently into Rusty's relationships with his friends.
De Niro was outstanding in this film. Not only was he excellent in the emotional portrayal of a man having to deal with a sudden debilitating stroke, but he was very realistic in his portrayal of the physical disability itself. The combination of his struggles to do the simplest of tasks and the obvious look of anguish and frustration on his face was poignant and affecting.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By "takintime" on August 11, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This film is a fine blend of superior acting and great humor about subject matter that could, in less capable hands, be tragic or worse yet, maudlin. Joel Schumacher, director of *St. Elmo's Fire* and *Batman and Robin*, among others, does a really excellent job here. Nothing needs to be said about the skills of veteran actor Robert DeNiro. Philip Seymour Hoffman, a young actor who has rightfully come into his own in the past decade, gives one of his best and most insightful performances.
DeNiro is Walter, a decorated hero of the NYPD, who suffers a stroke that affects him emotionally as well as physically. His doctor suggests singing lessons to help him improve his speech. Rather than be seen in public any more than necessary, Walter asks Rusty (Hoffman), another tenant in his apartment building who coordinates a drag queen stage show, to give him the lessons. The fun begins immediately, as these two have had a mutual dislike for each other from their earliest encounters.
Critics have said, among other things, that: (1) the dialogue between Rusty and Walter is cliche-ridden and (2) the film seems to say that all gay men in NYC are either drag queens or "log cabin Republicans." Rubbish! Walter's comments to Rusty at the beginning of their relationship are the usual things you would expect to hear from a homophobic male. Rusty's comebacks are as often as not laugh-out-loud funny, as well as very wise, and they definitely show his strength of character.
As for the alleged limited depiction of the NYC male homosexual population, it is really a matter of "birds of a feather flock together." The movie doesn't pretend to give an overall view of the gay/lesbian population in NY or anywhere else.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on March 26, 2004
Format: DVD
How on earth did this movie get made? It's so offbeat, such improbable fodder for the movie mill of Hollywood, so, so, so.... So over the top in every way. Two very special and talented actors hold down the story. DeNiro plays a homophobic cop who is trying to recover from a debilitating stroke; he starts by taking singing lessons from his neighbor, played by the incomparable Philip Seymour Hoffman, a pathetic drag queen who is trying to save up enough money for a sex change operation.
Well. You can imagine the looks DeNiro gives him, the comments, the eye-rolls, as Hoffman vamps or slumps around in a kimono or wig or feathered scarf. Really, really good stuff. You suspect DeNiro will emerge from this encounter as a more tolerant man, and you would be correct - but that's not the end of the tale.
There's another whole plot line about drug deals and stolen money that comes up against the gay community and the drag queens, prostitutes of all three sexes, the cops (both honest and dis) - and when the goons come to call, you fear that these people you've come to care about will come to a sad fate.
I won't say more. Just don't miss it.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 12, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I rented this video by mistake -- literally. I had chosen another film but when I got home the wrong film was inside the box. I had never heard of this 1999 movie but it was starring Robert DeNiro and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who I just seen play a wonderful character role as the writer in State and Main, and so I decided to watch it.
The theme is interesting. Robert DeNiro plays an aging former security guard who lives in a run-down apartment house peopled by some weird and interesting characters. Philip Seymour Hoffman is cast as the drag queen across the courtyard who taunts the homophobic DeNiro who amuses himself by paying for women he meets at a sleazy dance hall.
Then DeNiro has a stroke. When he is released from the hospital his helplessness makes him contemplate suicide. His physical therapist recommends singing lessons to help his slurred speech. "At least you'll be able to have phone sex" says the therapist. As Philip Seymour Hoffman is a singing teacher, these two fine actors are thrown together for some excellent scenes. Usually drag queen characters play comic roles but his is a very serious part, as is DeNiro's. I understand also that DeNiro visited rehabilitation centers and worked with a physical therapist in order to get the speech and physical problems of a stroke victim correct. This authenticity comes through in his outstanding acting. There's much to say in this film about courage and compassion. The chemistry between the two actors make it all very real.
It's too bad that the rest of the film is of the Grade B variety. There's some silly plot about a drug deal and hidden cash and some bad guy gangster scenes that are overacted and feel like the amateur hour. There's too many stereotype characters who live in the apartment house.
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