Flawless (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes


Flawless (1999)



Critic Consensus: Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman's Flawless performances live up to this dramedy's title; unfortunately, they're outweighed by the misguided picture surrounding them.

Flawless Videos

Flawless Photos

Movie Info

Walt Koontz is a retired security guard, ultraconservative and proud of it, living in New York City's Lower East Side. Late one night, while trying to help neighbor in trouble, Walt suffers a stroke which leaves him with partial paralysis. Refusing to leave his apartment for therapy, Walt very reluctantly agrees to a rehabilitative program that includes singing lessons with a performer who lives upstairs -- a street-tough drag queen named Rusty.

Watch it now


Robert De Niro
as Walt Koontz
Philip Seymour Hoffman
as Rusty Zimmerman
Barry Miller
as Leonard Wilcox
Nashom Benjamin
as Amazing Grace
Vincent Laresca
as Raymond Camacho
Jude Ciccolella
as Det. Noonan
Mina Bern
as Mrs. Spivak
Madhur Jaffrey
as Dr. Nirmala
Kyle Rivers
as LeShaun
Sammy Rhee
as Mr. Pim
Hyunsoo Lee
as Mrs. Pin
Raven O
as Notorious F.A.G.
Joey Arias
as Stormy
John Doumanian
as Mr. Terzola
Hamilton De Oliveira
as Hotel Janitor
John Polce
as Walt Stand-In
Logan McCall
as EMS Technician
John E. Mack
as EMS Technician
John R. Corcoran
as Physical Therapist
Matt Merchant
as Man in Crowd
Al Marz
as Cristal's Boyfriend
Larry Marx
as Bar Patron
Mitchell Lichtenstein
as Gay Republican Spokesperson
John Fink
as Gay Republican Lawyer
Bret Kropp
as Drag Queen
as Cop
Al Thompson
as Paramedic
View All

Critic Reviews for Flawless

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (17)

Outdated and schematic, this two-character melodrama belongs to the 1970s, when transsexuals were "novel" dramatic persona; even the gifted Philip Seymour Hoffman is defeated by the writing and direction.

July 3, 2006 | Rating: D
Top Critic

For what it's worth, this could be Schumacher's best film.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Its weary clichés and flat comic bits are apparently supposed to be fresh and insightful.

February 21, 2004

The involvement of several real-life drag queens contributes to both the exhuberence, authenticity, and sheer panache to mark something of a return to form for the idiosyncratic director.

April 17, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Flawless is a fractured picture, which is its most winning aspect.

April 17, 2001 | Full Review…

Seedy, grimy and unsightly as hell, even as it aspires to find the inner diva in us all, "Flawless" is what happens when a filmmaker has no sense of naturalism, no sense of realism and no real natural sense.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Flawless

I cannot believe that this film is so underrated... I found the story of Walter Koontz (Robert De Niro) - highly decorated "local hero" police officer - amazing! Well developed and done with warmness - warmness missing from most of the movies today! The real story starts when one night, Walter hears gunshots upstairs, and while ascending to help he suffers a stroke. Awakening with the right side of his body paralysed is something he is not used to, and his poor speech and posture gives a massive blow to his ego... so much that Walter becomes ashamed to be seen in public. Rusty (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is one of Walter's drag queen neighbours and the two are at-odds constantly due to their differing lifestyles. Rusty has a desire to undergo a transsexual operation, but lacks the money to do so. When Walter comes to Rusty to use his musical talents for voice lessons to overcome his impediment, the pair while at first argumentative and uncomfortable with the other begin to become friends. Good acting from two real stars, but nothing spectacular. The screenplay is sometimes very rough around the edges... but it is real as it can be... Joel Schumacher did well in that part, but the directing was too formulaic, and that is the reason for the lower rating! This film could be so much better if he was a little bit braver!

Panta Oz
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

I enjoyed this movie far more than the rating implies. The problem I have with the movie is that it never really seems to stick to one form of storytelling. Sometimes it wants to be a comedy, sometimes it wants to be a drama, sometimes it wants to be a suspense (the Mr. Z part of the story, more specifically), but it never really manages to combine all three convincingly. There are plenty of movies that have gotten away with this because they know how to combine all the elements. It's an uneven movie in a lot of ways. It definitely could have been better, but I'm not complaining because I still really liked this movie. All of it has to do with the acting. Robert and Philip overcome the movie's unevenness and their performances are really good (though it's mostly Philip's performance). I liked the relationship between their characters and their interactions, however bare-bones they actually are. It doesn't go as deep (pun NOT intended...perverts) into the characters as I'd have liked, but they do just enough I guess. I also liked the characters of Rusty's friend. They were funny, especially at the end of the movie. Also, the movie near the end almost falls apart. It didn't, but it was not looking good at all. I could also tell, that if I was watching this movie alone I may not have liked it as much. Case in point, I watched Bad Company again (don't ask) and I enjoyed it more because I wasn't alone. Anyway, this is a good movie. If you have Starz On Demand then watching this movie isn't the worst thing you can do, especially with Did You hear about the Morgans? in there.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer


Philip Seymour Hoffman's master-class performance as troubled drag queen Rusty sadly goes to waste in this laughable film. "Rusty" stands as the lone well-written character in this pathetic "drama". FLAWLESS's terrible directing, editing and writing, as well as its inappropriate soundtrack (a peppy samba for chase scenes/gunfights, really?) and a forgettable turn by Robert De Niro are no match for Hoffman's insane talent as a character actor.

Fernando Rafael Quintero Castañeda
Fernando Rafael Quintero Castañeda

Super Reviewer

Flawless Quotes

News & Features