The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

Milos Forman’s dramatization of Larry Flynt’s eventful life is blessed with charismatic central performances as well as Forman’s own strengths as a storyteller, and in the process manages to overcome a simplistic, formulaic screenplay. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski’s script is overly formulaic, but in the hands of Woody Harrelson, Flynt’s colorful life is injected with considerable onscreen charisma and it’s enough to keep the viewer engaged. In particular, Harrelson has strong chemistry with Edward Furlong as his long-suffering lawyer, and Courtney Love as his doomed wife, Althea. In particular, the Hole frontwoman has the role of a lifetime here and makes the most out of every minute of it, injecting all her scenes with an inimitable livewire energy. The middle portion of the movie has a tendency to simply address the timeline of events in Flynn’s life without adding much nuance or letting any development breathe, but the acting is so strong that the finished result is a compelling-albeit-formulaic biopic that humanizes its central subject without making any excuses for his occasionally questionable behavior.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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