Six Degrees of Separation (1993) - Rotten Tomatoes

Six Degrees of Separation1993

Six Degrees of Separation (1993)



Critic Consensus: Though it betrays its theatrical roots, Six Degrees of Separation largely succeeds thanks to astute direction and fine performances -- particularly from an against-type Will Smith.

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Movie Info

Two socialites find their view of the world changed when a young man takes advantage of their preconceptions in this thoughtful comedy-drama. Flan and Ouisa Kittredge (Donald Sutherland and Stockard Channing) are a married couple who have built highly successful careers as art dealers catering to Manhattan's upper crust. The Kittredges are entertaining friends one evening when a young black man named Paul (Will Smith) appears at their door. Paul says that he's a close friend of their children, with whom he attended boarding school, and he's just been mugged and needs to get off the street for a moment. Flan and Ouisa invite him in, and they are immediately taken by Paul's intelligence and charm; he offers to prepare dinner, regales them with stories about his father, Sidney Poitier, and ends up spending the night at their apartment. However, the next morning Flan and Ouisa discover that they've been had; Paul is actually a con artist from the streets who has been pulling the wool over the eyes of many of their friends -- and his actions are beginning to have serious consequences. John Guare adapted the script from his own successful stage play; the supporting cast includes Ian McKellen, Mary Beth Hurt, Bruce Davison, and Heather Graham. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Stockard Channing
as Ouisa Kittredge
Donald Sutherland
as Flan Kittredge
Ian McKellen
as Geoffrey
Richard Masur
as Dr. Fine
Heather Graham
as Elizabeth
Joe Pentangelo
as Police Officer
Lou Milione
as Hustler
Vasek Simek
as Frank the Doorman
as Jeannie
Maggie Burke
as Loft Party Guest
Edmond Genest
as Loft Party Guest
Michael Stanley Kirby
as Loft Party Guest
David Callegati
as Art Dealer
John Rowe
as Usher
Jose Rabelo
as 2nd Elevator Man
Todd Alcott
as Concert Goer
JoAnna Noble
as Concert Goer
Annie Meisels
as Doug's Girl
Mitch Kolpan
as Policeman
Tony Zazaula
as Rainbow Room Captain
Arthur McGill
as Hansom Cab Driver
Susan Tabor
as Posh Couple
Paul Schmidt
as Posh Couple
Carolyn Groves
as Cocktail Party Guest
Jeannine Moore
as Cocktail Party Guest
Tim Saunders
as Cocktail Party Guest
David Tice
as Cocktail Party Guest
Margaret Thomson
as Grandmother at Baptism
Vince O'Brien
as Grandfather at Baptism
Anne Swift
as Guest at Baptism
Richmond Hoxie
as Guest at Baptism
Kitty Carlisle Hart
as Mrs. Bannister
Madhur Jaffrey
as Guest of Honor
Brooks Arthur
as Mrs. Bannister's Guest
Jacqueline Bertrand
as Mrs. Bannister's Guest
Lisa Crosby
as Mrs. Bannister's Guest
Nancy Duerr
as Mrs. Bannister's Guest
Brian McConnachie
as Mrs. Bannister's Guest
Angela Thornton
as Mrs. Bannister's Guest
Robert Trumbull
as Mrs. Bannister's Guest
Richard Whiting
as Mrs. Bannister's Guest
Cleo King
as Lieutenant Price
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Critic Reviews for Six Degrees of Separation

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (7)

It walks like a play and talks like a play, but thanks to the gentle direction and the performances from the crack cast -- particularly Channing and a never-better Smith -- it's satisfying as a movie.

September 8, 2005 | Rating: 4/5

Ultimately, Six Degrees of Separation will succeed or fail for the individual viewer based on their expectations and preferences.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The temporal experience of watching Six Degrees of Separation is one of absorption and intrigue.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

It's too clever by half, an inside joke aimed at the New York gentry.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

A mystery wrapped inside an enigmatic nation, flawlessly acted and difficult to predict. I'm always impressed when a movie informs about a foreign culture while it entertains, and this one is powerful art in that regard.

March 2, 2012 | Rating: A | Full Review…

A rare sight: a sharply observed Hollywood satire of poignant ideas, such as opportunities in life, achieving fame in American society, and how we all are in one way or another con men.

February 7, 2007 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Six Degrees of Separation

In an interesting dream scenario, rich, upper Eastside New Yorkers have their guilt about racial inequality expunged by a run-in with streetwise Will Smith (who incredibly learns to fake a Harvard-worthy education in 3, count'em, 3 weeks!). Sutherland and Channing do well for this off-to-see-the-wizard roadtrip, merely bouncing off one another as they relate to the wine and cheese set what it was like to bump against one of the (shiver!) great unwashed. You don't hear about this fantasy much because of the rarified clientele it kowtows to. Still, everyone does their job, even if the story never leaves the environs of 34 floors above Central Park. The dripping, well intentioned liberalism nearly drowns, however clever, however manipulative. Worth seeing though, if only for the brief treatise on Catcher In The Rye, engagingly delivered by Smith.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Transferring stage plays to the screen is very tricky. By their nature plays are more dialogue heavy and are set in a much smaller world, often limited rooms etc. This is one of the films that seems to have a lot of trouble in transforming one medium to another. Lengthy dialogue isn't the problem though, it's the continuous retelling at different social occasions. Of course this all becomes the point by the last scene but it still feels awkward. The film could have shown so much more and rather than criticised the high-class wealthy elite it could have gone deeper into Paul's psychosis. At least for the audience if not the main characters. The film also revels in the fact it swings around issues of gays/blacks and both as though it is proclaiming something brand new and fascinating. Will Smith's refusal to actually kiss Anthony Michael Hall at the time says more about being black and gay than this whole film. It's certainly acted well for the most part, though it is clear to see how Smith has improved over the years. The humour also goes some way to creating a more enjoyable experience.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer


Will's character is very interesting. Is there really 6 degrees of separation?

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

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