Kees Chalmers’s review published on Letterboxd:
As someone who had watched The Room before watching The Disaster Artist I was very hesitant and cautious with my excitement. This film could’ve easily gone very wrong, but thankfully it delivered in every way it could’ve. I absolutely love this movie and it all comes down to James Franco.
He embodies Tommy Wiseau with all of his mannerisms and quirkiness. You didn’t see the actor you only saw the character he’s playing and that’s a very high compliment for an actor. You can tell he put so much commitment into this performance. My biggest praise I can give him is he didn’t go over the top. He was extremely funny but only in the times where he was supposed to be. He still managed to play a serious and heartfelt role when he had to. With playing a role like this it’s very easy to lose yourself and play the comedic role in every situation but James Franco understood the character that is Tommy Wiseau and perfectly nailed the balance between comedy and serious tones. Dave Franco is also very good in this film. He plays the grounded tone very well and had very good chemistry with Tommy (which you’d expect considering they’re brothers).
This film is filled to the brim with hilarity. Every single comedic moment landed for me and that comes down to the writing. The script for this film is so good, despite at times I felt like it was a little on the nose but I suppose it had to be if it is to cater for people who are unfamiliar with The Room. But other than that the script is written flawlessly and combine that with the exquisite line delivery from the whole cast you have a truly hilarious film. James Franco’s direction is also extremely good. He balances the tones of comedy and heartfelt moments so well throughout. He doesn’t try and incorporate unnecessary cheap gags in place of a serious moment that progresses the story which again is a very easy trap to fall into when making a film like this. The odd shot selection and cinematography matched the obscurity and weirdness of The Room and the character of Tommy Wiseau. I loved the style in which James Franco directed this film.
What this film also did do well is it immersed you into the film making process of The Room. It was truly enthralling to see some of these infamous scenes of cinema being made. It didn’t glamorize the process and at times depicted it as a bit of a hell hole and showed Tommy Wiseau in a very negative light which I really liked. It made it feel real and authentic. It took me into that world and made me just want to be a fly on the wall and watch this disaster take place.
Underneath the hilarity there is a very touching story about friendship which I wasn’t expecting. And it’s done in such a way where it doesn’t feel sappy or overdone, it feels raw and visceral and that story of friendship is my favorite aspect of The Disaster Artist.
This film could’ve easily been a disaster. At every single decision they made in this film there always seemed to be a second option that would’ve made it so much worse. But a fantastic performance and direction from James Franco carries this film and gave the fans exactly what we wanted. One of the best of 2017.