The Public (2019) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Public2019

The Public (2019)



Critic Consensus: Its intentions are sometimes easier to appreciate than its execution, but The Public remains an earnest and reasonably engaging social advocacy drama.

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In "The Public" an unusually bitter Arctic blast has made its way to downtown Cincinnati and the front doors of the public library where the action of the film takes place. At odds with library officials over how to handle the extreme weather event, some homeless patrons turn the building into a shelter for the night by staging an "Occupy" sit in. What begins as an act of civil disobedience becomes a stand-off with police and a rush-to-judgment media constantly speculating about what's really happening. This David versus Goliath story tackles some of our nation's most challenging issues, homelessness and mental illness and sets the drama inside one of the last bastions of democracy-in-action: your public library.

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Alec Baldwin
as Detective Bill Ramstead
Emilio Estevez
as Stuart Goodson
Christian Slater
as Josh Davis
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Critic Reviews for The Public

All Critics (98) | Top Critics (25)

It's heart is in the right place in many ways, but it just outlines everything so clearly in red marker that it doesn't let you discovers things for yourself. Still, it's an estimable effort in some ways.

September 14, 2020 | Full Review…

That everything ends on a weird happy-clappy high is indicative of a scattershot project that could have done with less ambition, more focus.

February 24, 2020 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

The Public presents a heartening story of triumph of good over evil, but sadly lacks the gravitas one would usually expect from these types of stories.

February 21, 2020 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

It's all a bit old-fashioned and earnest but with US civil liberties under attack, it's a timely celebration of humanity.

February 19, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

It is a film with its heart in the right place, but the dialogue and characterisation are both plonkingly unconvincing.

February 19, 2020 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Making a feature that pleads the cause of the homeless is a laudable achievement, so it's all the more unfortunate that Estevez is unable to eliminate some of the obvious flaws in an otherwise compelling, and timely, drama.

August 2, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

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