One Direction’s first foray into the world of film – This Is Us – hit UK cinemas yesterday. It’s certain to be a crowd pleaser, but what did the critics have to say about it? Radio Times reviewer Terry Staunton gave the film three stars and called it “a typical and standard biography… that reveals little about the quintet their adoring fans won’t already know.” But what did the rest of the world think?
The reaction of New York Times‘ Miriam Bale was lukewarm. “The film contains enough gratuitous naked torsos that it is sure to satisfy those fans. But is it of interest to anyone else?” she asks, before concluding that the boys should have hammed it up a bit more: “In the end credits – Richard Lester-style scenes of the boys in costumes doing pranks – we see how this film might have been more successful: as an obvious fiction starring these appealing personalities rather than a tame and somewhat fake documentary.”
The LA Times agrees, saying This Is Us is “not the raw confessional that title might imply but rather both a primer and new product presentation” concluding that: “One Direction: This Is Us leaves the larger questions it points toward teasingly unexplored, making the film little more than a harmless keepsake.”
The Washington Post‘s reviewer Stephanie Merry seemed to enjoy her 1D experience a little more, saying the film came “this close to convincing someone who routinely avoids the song What Makes You Beautiful at all costs that this quintet of skinny-jeaned heartthrobs has the coolest, cutest, nicest and most talented musicians in all the land.” But she also notes the film’s failure to actually reveal much about the real boys behind the band… “Some of the guys have made gossip rag headlines for their wild ways, including drunken behavior, but there’s no hint of that here. And the supposedly ‘all-acces’ movie conspicuously avoids any mention of love lives, including that of Malik, who announced last week he is engaged to singer Perrie Edwards.”
Giving it three out of five stars, The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw agrees that the film feels like a promotional video saying: “I suspect a previous, wackier version of this film was ditched in favour of this slick promo video.” Though he does conceed that it is “rather watchable”.
Chicago Sun Times think it’s more than just “watchable”, saying: “Spurlock has produced a charming, well-paced, very personal insight into how five once-unknown, talented young men dealt with the explosion of fame and where it seems to be propelling them in the world of pop music,” concluding that “the film is a successful witness to the great charm possessed by all five members of One Direction.”
What did you think of the film? Let us know in the comment box below…
Ellie is an entertainment, TV and film journalist writing news and (hopefully incredibly witty) comment for RadioTimes.com. She loves light-hearted dramas and glossy US series - and is more than a little bit obsessed with Downton Abbey. Foodie, sun-seeker and aspiring novelist in her own time. Likes the fact that her name rhymes with telly.