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Information

Year
1991
Runtime
104 min.
Director
Gus Van Sant
Genres
Drama, Romance
Rating *
7.1
Votes *
31,269
Checks
8,342
Favs
574
Dislikes
92
Favs/checks
6.9% (1:15)
Favs/dislikes
6:1
* View IMDb information

Top comments

  1. dombrewer's avatar

    dombrewer

    Strange film, but very watchable. The Shakespeare link seems to have been tagged in later, perhaps when Van Sant realised there wasn't enough going on in the story with River passing out every two seconds. Keanu's very good, surprisingly, and any film with Phoenix is fascinating now, sadly. 10 years 5 months ago
  2. krisflushednemo's avatar

    krisflushednemo

    This movie breaks my heart. 11 years 8 months ago
  3. Siskoid's avatar

    Siskoid

    I've read that Gus Van Sant combined three unfinished scripts to create My Own Private Idaho, and it shows. There's the story of male prostitutes (River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves) on the road. There's the modern adaptation of Henry IV with only slightly modified Shakespearean verse focusing on the Hal/Falstaff relationship on the streets of Portland. And there's the trip to Italy. This creates some important tonal shifts, with real male prostitutes telling horror stories for the camera, mixed in with Elizabethan delivery, beautifully real emotions, love scenes shot as erotic paintings, a musical number, and flights of surreal fancy. What brings it all together is Phoenix's character. A narcoleptic poet, he dreams of a mother figure and of a farm house in Idaho. This longing for a place to belong (ideally, someone's arms) is what drives the picture, and he keeps waking up in strange situations, having slept his life away. Because he sees the world in poetic terms, it justifies even the Shakespeare stuff. I don't think we're meant to see those scenes as fact, so much as his interpretation of them. It's a world view, filled with contradictions, stories told but not always believed, and moments preserved or lost in memory. 1 year 11 months ago
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In 11 official lists

  1. This movie ranks #10 in BFI Flare's The Best LGBTQ+ Films of All Time
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    BFI Flare's The Best LGB…

    10
  2. This movie ranks #53 in BFI's 100 Road Movies
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    BFI's 100 Road Movies

    53
  3. This movie ranks #59 in Jennifer Eiss's 500 Essential Cult Movies
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    Jennifer Eiss's 500 Esse…

    59
  4. This movie ranks #161 in A.V. Club's The New Cult Canon
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    A.V. Club's The New Cult…

    161
  5. This movie ranks #302 in The Criterion Collection
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    The Criterion Collection

    302
  6. This movie ranks #429 in Mark Cousins's The Story of Film: An Odyssey
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    Mark Cousins's The Story…

    429
  7. This movie ranks #564 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
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    TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest F…

    564
  8. This movie ranks #590 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
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    The New York Times's Boo…

    590
  9. This movie ranks #713 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
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    Sight & Sound's The Grea…

    713
  10. This movie ranks #832 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
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    1001 Movies You Must See…

    832
  11. This movie ranks #873 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
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    Jonathan Rosenbaum's Ess…

    873
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