The Disaster Artist, directed by James Franco, is wonderfully funny and also wonderfully sincere. Putting the spotlight on an endearing friendship and letting it guide us through an unbelievably touching, challenging story, results in a film that had me smiling throughout. I think many people will be surprised at the heart-warming little story that James Franco and his usual collaborators have put together and how they, in the most genuine way, tell the story of some inspiring, fascinating individuals – it could possibly even be considered the best work of Franco’s career. So let’s explore if that is the case and also what it is about The Disaster Artist that makes it such a worthwhile watch. Onto the review we go.
Based upon the unbelievable true story, we learn of an unlikely friendship between Greg Sestero – portrayed by Dave Franco – and Tommy Wiseau – portrayed by James Franco – who after meeting in an acting class, travel to Los Angeles with the hope of fulfilling their dreams of becoming successful actors. After endless rejection, the two decide to forge their own path and set out to make their own film. That film was, ‘The Room’ and lovingly became known as the ‘best, worst film ever made.’
Before seeing The Disaster Artist, I was fully expecting a film that would have me laughing. The film it’s based upon (‘The Room’) is one that is impossible to not chuckle at. My expectations were right, and myself and the audience around me were laughing constantly. The oddball nature of Tommy Wiseau, creates moments that demand you laugh. It makes for a film that feels welcoming and enjoyable from the very beginning, and throughout.
But what I was not expecting was a film as sincere and as full of heart, as the Disaster Artist is. I slowly over the course of the film, found myself connecting and caring about the two lead characters – what started off as me laughing at their circumstances and way of life, soon turned into me laughing with them and how fearless they seemingly were.
It’s the friendship between Tommy and Greg that drives the film and fills it full of meaning. How much they care about one another and how unwavering their support and help is for one another’s struggles, really does form a good feeling, when watching the film. It elevates the film beyond just being a basic telling of how ‘The Room’ came about. Before that’s even a focus of the film, it spends the time allowing us to get to know Tommy and Greg, and it slowly endears us to them.
It’s the best thing they could have done, because when the harder moments in their lives begin to happen, it makes it all the more involving for the audience, because we’ve spent a significant amount of time getting to know Tommy and Greg and forming a connection with them. The Disaster Artist could have very easily relied on jokes and showing the making of some of the most popular scenes from ‘The Room,’ but instead it’s the heart-warming friendship between two passionate individuals, that fuels the film and had me invested and smiling throughout.
And certainly one of the most important aspects in getting the film to work, is James Franco’s performance as Tommy – making him feel believable and not just look like James Franco in a heaping amount of make-up. In my opinion, he is near enough faultless in the role. I found it so convincing, that I stopped seeing the actor and only saw the character. The particular mannerisms, the intonation in the way he speaks, that very unique laugh; James Franco nails pretty much every aspect of the performance and fully became the man he was imitating. I have to imagine he put a lot of time and work into achieving such a good performance, and it paid off, because I saw Tommy Wiseau on-screen and it wasn’t often that I didn’t.
Dave Franco on the other hand is… okay. He’s an actor who only seems to traverse three emotions; smiling and happy, distressed, and angry. A lot of the time, it was hard to not see Dave Franco – especially when he had the fake beard on. It was in no way a bad performance from him, as he did seem to be really trying (something that doesn’t always feel the case with his work), but it’s just that next to his brother, Dave Franco really seemed out of his depth.
When it came to the telling of the story of how Tommy and Greg got to the point of making ‘The Room,’ I was content with what I got, but probably would have liked a little more exploration. The film feels more like a highlight reel of the most crucial parts, while much of the smaller, more intimate moments are either overlooked or passed over altogether. You certainly get a big-picture sense of their story, and I never felt lost in what was happening, or what stage in life they were at. It’s just that, when the handling of the characters and their story is being done so well, I always wish for more of it. But ultimately, the film does a good job of showing you a decent chunk of Tommy and Greg’s story and I never felt I was being cheated out of some really engaging content.
What I could always tell when watching this film, was how much James Franco and the people around him, cared about the work they were doing. Beyond the film itself, James Franco has really shown how much of a passion project this was for him. It shows on-screen and it shows when he’s talking about it in interviews, which really does make the film more than what it could have simply been. I’m happy to say that this might be James Franco’s best work-to-date and if he’s able to continue to put out films like this, then he could really become someone to pay closer attention too. The next time a trailer says: ‘Directed by James Franco,’ I know I’ll be much more interested in checking out what he’s done. That wasn’t the case before seeing The Disaster Artist.
And what I think lovers of the original film will appreciate, is the attention to detail that went into recreating many of the scenes from ‘The Room.’ You even get example during the end credits. This at no point felt lazy in execution and at all times felt like people caring about the story they were telling and wanting to do it justice. That level of love and respect transferred over into my appreciation and enjoyment of the film and is certainly a massive contributor to why I enjoyed it so much.
I’m absolutely going to recommend, The Disaster Artist. Lovers of ‘The Room’ will really appreciate the care and attention that went into this film, and people looking for a film that leaves you with a good feeling, will love the journey this film offers. What a surprisingly touching and worthwhile film this is.
I’d love to know what you thought of the film, and my review of it, so please feel free to leave any feedback, opinions, etc. in the comments section down below. It would also be great if you were to give both my blog and Twitter – @GavinsRamblings – a wee follow. But I’ll bring my ramblings to a close by saying thank you for dedicating some time to reading my review, and I hope you have a wonderful day!